When a Historian Meets a Travel Diary

She naturally wants to know who, what, when, where, why.  The who was the difficult one: I had her name on the flyleaf, and what I thought was a timeless commentary (State Insane Asylum) by a teenager about her condition in life.  I should have known that a well-brought-up young lady in late-19th century America would not make that sort of comment.  Mary Campbell Andrews (1875-1962) was the daughter of Judson B. Andrews, M. D. (1834-1894) and Agnes Sinclair Campbell (1840-1931).  Dr. Andrews was the medical superintendent of Buffalo State Hospital from 1880 until his death, so Mary was not being snide, she really did live at the State Insane Asylum in Buffalo (although the official name for the institution was the Buffalo State Hospital).

Dr. J. B. Andrews

Dr. J. B. Andrews, photograph from “North Haven in the Nineteenth Century: A Memorial,” published by the Twentieth Century Committee, 1901.

J. B. Andrews was born in North Haven, Connecticut, in 1834, and graduated from Yale in 1855.  During the Civil War he was a captain of the 77th Regiment, New York Volunteers, and later assistant-surgeon of the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery.  In 1867 he was the 3rd assistant physician at Utica State Hospital, later becoming the 1st assistant.  Dr. Andrews became the superintendent of Buffalo State Hospital, remaining so until his death at the hospital in August 1894.  He was a prominent “alienist,” and was President of the Medico-Psychological Association (now called the American Psychiatric Association) from 1892-93.  He produced monographs such as “Exophthalmic goitre with insanity” (c. 1870) and “Case of excessive hypodermic use of morphia: three hundred needles removed from the body of an insane woman” (c. 1872).  Dr. Andrews married Agnes Sinclair Campbell, and daughter Mary was born in January 1875.

Mary seems to have lived her entire life in upstate New York; she was born in Utica, and died in Utica in 1962.  In between she married Dr. Herman Gustavus Matzinger and had four children.  Dr. Matzinger (1860 – 1931) came to prominence in 1901 as one of the doctors who performed the autopsy on President William McKinley.  McKinely was visiting the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 in Buffalo when he was shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz.  Unfortunately, he lingered on for another nine days, finally dying of what modern scientists think was pancreatic necrosis (secondary to the abdominal trauma).  Pancreatic necrosis remains a high-mortality condition today.  Dr. Matzinger was variously designated as a bacteriologist (of the Buffalo State Pathological Laboratory) at the time of the McKinley assassination, and later as a Professor of Psychiatry at University of Buffalo.   I love the days of undifferentiated medical practice . . . .


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