Age 3 in 1873
Age 13 in 1883
Mohegan Lake School
With his son, Billy
With his three children
Early Life and Education
Honorary Degrees, etc.
William Seaman Bainbridge was the son of William Folwell Bainbridge, a clergyman and scholar, and Lucy Seaman Bainbridge, a missionary and author.
This hand-tinted photograph was taken when "Willie" was three years old. Lucy had made an elaborate blue overcoat for him, studded everywhere with brass buttons and sporting an elegant half cape, then took him to the photographers to have his portrait taken in this imposing get-up. "Before my life was at the noon, there came from God to my heart and home a treasure untold, more precious than gold, my Little Boy Blue!"
Lucy's father, John Seaman, occasionally visited Providence, and one time he walked down to the river with little Willie. They stood on a pier, watching the boats, when suddenly Willie fell into the deep water and began to drown. Despite his advanced age of more than seventy years, John Seaman jumped in and rescued the boy. That night, after saying his customary prayers, Willie added a few words about his ordeal: "Now, dear good Jesus, I thank you for making grandpa so lively - please dry up all the water and make the people go in wagons."
When Willie's grandfather died, the inheritance allowed William and Lucy to carry out a two-year round-the-world tour of Christian missions, taking Willie with them. They departed San Francisco for Japan the day after Willie's ninth birthday, and he celebrated his tenth in Calcutta, India.
||This photograph was taken on Willie's thirteenth birthday, while his family lived in a cottage at Warwick Neck, a tiny sea-side village just south of Providence. There William and Lucy wrote books and sallied forth on lecture tours. Surrounded by nature on Warwick Neck, Willie developed an interest in animals. He invested his savings in a rooster and some hens, and as chicks began to appear the family named them after missionaries they had met in their world tour. A strange form of aquatic life that washed up on the beaches called "horse-feet" proved to be rich in nutrients, so Willie fed them to his chickens. He sold eggs and excess chickens to his father, and acquired a calf and pig that he fed from a rich neighbor's garbage. The birth of a chick with two heads, three legs and six toes, simulated his curiosity about biology.|
|This photograph, probably taken in 1888, shows Willie leading the other boys at Mohegan Lake Military School. Mohegan was proud of its healthy location on a mile-long lake, certified free of malaria and enjoying "a salubrious and bracing mountain atmosphere." In warm weather, the boys could swim or row around the lake in three boats, and in winter they could ice skate. In this rural setting "free from the distracting and pernicious influences of large towns and railroad centres," the school intended "to give a thorough, Christian, preparatory education to boys from ten to eighteen years of age."||
Willie became the protege of Dr. Eliza Mosher, a forceful, towering woman who had overcome her parents' strenuous objections against a medical career to become the physician of the Massachusetts State Reformatory for Women, then of Vassar College, before establishing her private practice in Brooklyn. Under her influence, Willie's interest in biology matured into a desire to become a surgeon. Among his happiest moments were spent dissecting with Dr. Mosher, and he dissected seven cats collected from the city streets. Dr. Mosher took Willie to Chautauqua, the summer religious center in upstate New York, where he soon became inspired by Dr. Jay W. Seaver, who was a pioneer of anthropometry, the science of measuring the human body.
|Early Life and Education|
William Seaman Bainbridge was partially prepared for Brown University at the University Grammar School in Providence, Rhode Island, but when his parents moved to Brooklyn, he went to a public school there for a short time. He enlisted in the Cadet Corps of the 13th Regiment of the National Guard, becoming a corporal. After a year, he entered the Mohegan Lake Military Academy, from which he was graduated as Senior Officer of Cadets. While there he created and edited a paper called The Moheganite which was most successful.
He spent five and a half years (interrupted by typhoid fever) at Columbia University, studying science and medicine and took the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in i893. He took a year of postgraduate work at P. & S. in pathology and bacteriology. In a competitive examination of eighty-nine candidates from some eight colleges for hospital internship he tied for first place. One summer he took a course in physical diagnosis at Roosevelt Hospital under Prof. James Jackson. He was on the resident medical and surgical staff of the Presbyterian Hospital in New York for two and one-half years. Then he was a resident at Sloane Maternity Hospital in New York. He was ready for private practice in 1896, but went abroad for two years, taking some patients of Dr. M. Allen Starr, and finding time away from them for postgraduate work in European clinics and hospitals.
Before he was ready for private practice the Spanish-American war broke and Dr. Bainbridge volunteered in Rhode Island, New York and Washington. He was accepted and assigned to the Seventh Army Corps under General Fitzhugh Lee but urged to continue his studies for the summer, at the end of which season the war was over.
While still a student he began to spend summers at Chautauqua, New York. He graduated from a course in Physical Education; at the same time he did some instruction in subjects he had already had in his college work. After returning from abroad he started to lecture and practice at Chautauqua in the summers. He formed one of the early group medical practices with Dr. Jay W. Seaver of Yale, Dr. Joseph E. Raycroft of Chicago University, Dr. Eliza M. Mosher, Woman's Dean of the University of Michigan, and Dr. James A. Babbitt of Philadelphia. At that time this was pioneer work and many looked at group practice disapprovingly. Dr. Bainbridge, however, with these outstanding physicians, built a summer cottage hospital within the Assembly Grounds with a twenty-five bed capacity. Miss Alston, of the Alston Private Hospital, New York, was the Superintendent, and twenty nurses were brought to the Lake each summer season. It was most successful and needed, transit facilities to hospitals in Jamestown and Dunkirk being inadequate. Fifty thousand different people came to Chautauqua in July and twice that number in August. Nearby places took advantage of this up-to-date center and its staff for local needs causing it to overflow its capacity.
Dr. Bainbridge's lectures and writings on public health attracted much attention and he was subsequently offered, by the Lyceum Lecture Bureau, a contract for five years, to give five lectures a week for four months a year, at $1,000 a week and expenses. This was not accepted, for then lectures by doctors on health were frowned upon as advertising if in practice at the same time. For eighteen summers he practiced at Chautauqua and held the Chair of Physiology and Anatomy at the School of Physical Education.
When Dr. Bainbridge was to commence practice his mother was carrying on her work as Superintendent of the Woman's Branch of the New York City Mission Society. He therefore opened his office at 34 Gramercy Park to be near her center of activity. He maintained his office and home at that address until his death.
When he began his practice, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., had a Bible Class for Men at the Fifth Avenue Baptist Church; and Dr. Bainbridge had one for women which he built up to 135 in the six years he was its leader.
At that time the subject of the 'common cup' was being discussed. Dr. Bainbridge debated the question with the Rev. J. M. Bulkley, D.D., taking the side against it. This was one of the pioneer efforts against the 'common cup' and created a good deal of interest and was the beginning of the adoption of the individual communion cup in many churches.
When the Boys' Brigade was formed under General H. P. Bope, of Pittsburgh, Dr. Bainbridge was made its Surgeon General with the rank of Major General. This ante-dated the Boy Scout movement of today. The Boys' Brigade was very popular for a time but was later absorbed by the Boy Scouts.
Dr. Bainbridge had several times been offered appointments important enough to be noted here.
He was offered a professorship in Beirut, Syria, and urged to follow Dr. George Post as Dean of the Medical Department of the American University.
He was invited to be physician to the Shah of Persia, in Teheran, and take charge of the large mission hospital there.
He was offered a professorship in the hospital of Canton Christian College, China.
Soon after the First World War he was urged by some leading Englishmen and Americans to take charge of a hospital in London.
He was also offered appointment as Dean of Surgery of the Medical School of Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tenn.)
Dr. Bainbridge had worked with Kocher in Berne; observed and studied the work of Kuemmell and Koenig in Germany; Tuffier, Carrel, Vincent, Gossett and Riviere in France; Bland Sutton, Arbuthnot Lane and Moynihan in England. He was instrumental in bringing Sir William Arbuthnot Lane, Bart., to the United States and they toured together and operated in some centers. In the large dinner which he gave in Lane's honor at the St. Regis Hotel in New York in 1913, Dr. Bainbridge who never served alcoholic beverages at any of his functions, had before each plate a bottle encased in the usual straw wrapping, decorated with the colors of Britain and the United States, called the 'Lane Cocktail,' which was nothing but paraffin oil which Lane believed in for the relief of intestinal stasis. In fact, Lane himself took it daily, he gave it to his family, his servants, his parrot and his monkey.
He also brought to America to lecture and demonstrate, Dr. Alfred Jordan, the outstanding X-ray authority of England, and Dr. Edred Corner, the distinguished orthopedic surgeon. He had de Keating Hart come over and demonstrate his me7hod, importing Ms special apparatus for the purpose.
From France he brought Dr. A. Joseph Riviere, famous for his work in physical medicine, and from Belgium, Dr. Eugene Hertoghe, noted for his work on internal secretions. The work of Dr. Hertoghe was so novel in America that Dr. Bainbridge had to induce many of his first listeners to attend a dinner at Dr. Bainbridge's expense, although later the Belgian's lectures and clinics brought about the founding of the American Association of Endocrinology and the birth of the Journal of Endocrinology.
Among the professional advances in which Dr. Bainbridge had been associated are the following:
(1) He was one of the first to place emphasis on somatic factors in mental disease. He proved in many cases that the relief of the somatic pathology either cured or ameliorated the mental state.
(2) He gave some of the first public health lectures. These were given at Chautauqua and elsewhere. Such talks to lay audiences on health maintenance and the danger signals in health were severely criticized by the profession. They are common to-day but then were an innovation.
(3) He gave the first public lectures and clinics on malignant disease -the prevention of cancer - to the lay public and nurses. These lectures at the Skin and Cancer Hospital in New York City ante-dated a similar series at Harvard. The Society for the Control of Cancer was largely a product of this pioneer work and blazed the trail against great opposition.
(4) He led in bringing the work of Lane in the field of intestinal toxemia and intestinal stasis to this country. He engaged a medical artist for hundreds of his important operations so there could be no dispute as to the conditions found. One year, Sir Wm. Arbuthnot Lane was prevented from filling engagements to speak in many places before leading medical and surgical societies and Dr. Bainbridge was asked by Lane to fill in, which he did, going to a number of States keeping the schedule. To-day what was then doubted is accepted fully.
(5) He early used spinal analgesia and was the first in this country to do so especially with young children. He did it on five hundred cases under nine years of age, and on about three thousand cases in all, while the method was still widely challenged.
(6) Though recognizing the value of the employment of electrical currents and heat in the treatment of malignant disease, Dr. Bainbridge urged through the years that in serious cases the best surgery be employed with a technique based on a knowledge of the pathology of extension of the disease. He held that surgery with proper technique is the safest method and that X-ray treatment might merely scatter the malignant cells to another part of the body while making a superficial local cure.
(7) He advised certain new operative techniques in cancer and other conditions which are now widely followed.
(8) He originated the method of administering oxygen in body cavities and sewing up the cavity with the oxygen in situ. Following the report in medical journals of his results, this method was adopted here and abroad in certain centers. During the time of this experimental work Dr. Bainbridge was invited to give a demonstration before the King's County Medical Society in Brooklyn. He secured three cats of the same size and weight for the occasion. In the presence of the gathering they were anesthetized by a leading anesthetist. Dr. Bainbridge tied off some of the vessels of the neck of the first cat, opened the abdomen, rawed the intestine for four feet, sutured the abdomen and laid the animal in a corner of the room. She promptly died of shock. The second cat received the same treatment except that before the abdomen was closed it was filled with air. In about an hour she, too, succumbed. For the third cat, the only difference in procedure was that oxygen was introduced into the abdomen before closure. This completed the surgical demonstration, and Dr. Bainbridge turned to address the audience. In about five minutes, the effect of the anesthetic having worn off, the cat opened her eyes, stretched herself, scanned the assembled group, and promptly ran out of the hall. The meeting adjourned in the rush to catch the cat!
(9) He introduced the method of starvation ligature and lymphatic block for abdominal and pelvic malignancy in order to slow down the growth of cancer and make it amenable to removal. This operation he demonstrated in some European medical centers.
(10) He was also one of the first to use a method, still under trial, of using the opposite hormone - male for female and female for male -in treatment of cancer and certain nervous and psychiatric conditions.
(11) He was one of the first to experiment in the transplanting of glands from animals to man and from man to man. He with Tuffier and Dartigue demonstrated the reasons for failure of many surgeons to have transplants take.
(12) He was one of the first to transplant healthy tissue from the recently dead to the living.
(13) He was one of the first to transplant living tissue from the living according to blood grouping.
(14) He developed plastic intro-abdominal repair.
(15) Following Lane, he early plated bones in the United States.
(16) His special technique of complete mastectomy for cancer of the breast, which he demonstrated in many centers of Europe, is now widely used.
(17) He was one of the first to employ intravenous saline solution.
(18) He performed over 3,000 goiter operations with Only 2 deaths - one a case of cancer, and the other having advanced kidney disease.
(19) He developed an operating table with a number of improvements. He was the first one to employ Monell metal (stainless steel) for this.
(20) He invented a number of surgical instruments.
(21) He brought to this country, secured from Crede of Dresden, itral, actol and unguentum Crede - a forerunner of the milder silver salts such as argyrol and protargal.
The New York City Children's Hospitals and Schools on Randall's Island, during the early days when Dr. Bainbridge was on the Surgical Staff, were in a deplorable condition. Here were gathered about two thousand mental misfits. The only means of getting there from the mainland of Manhattan was a rowboat. Occasionally a freighter stopped there. A committee was formed of which Dr. Bainbridge was chairman, and there was an investigation. The committee individually, in twos and threes, and collectively, made innumerable, unannounced trips to the Island, any time during the day or night. It was found that many of the attendants were drunkards, there were degenerate practices, cruelty, incompetence, neglect, and the food for the inmates was rotten. Children were permitted to die daily without any care whatever. Illegitimate children and defectives were placed there to get them out of the way. The Superintendent of the institution was a relative of a family high in Tammany politics, and in close relationship with the Cathedral in New York. For years the committee carried on a campaign but was hamstrung at every turn. Finally, John A. Kingsbury became Commissioner of Charities of New York, and John Purroy Mitchell became Mayor of the City of New York. Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Kingsbury, and some others met at Dr. Bainbridge's office and Mr. Mitchell ordered that at whatever cost to his political future, Randall's Island must be cleaned up and made a decent institution. There was tapping of Dr. Bainbridge's telephone and he received threatening letters but the work continued. The culprits were brought to trial and numbers were convicted and sent to the penitentiary for years. The Superintendent, because of her strong connections, was permitted to resign and was not brought up on charges. A great deal of effort was then put into the institution which became a model one of its kind. But Mitchell was not reelected Mayor.
In 1921, with Colonel Jules Voncken of the Belgian Army Medical Corps, Commander Bainbridge organized and developed the International Congress of Military Medicine and Pharmacy - including medicine, surgery and sanitation in all their branches - under the sponsorship of King Albert and Queen Elizabeth of the Belgians. Gradually the countries of the world, realizing the tremendous scope and importance of the work of the Congress, have adhered to it, and at some of the Congresses as many as forty-eight nations sent representatives. The meetings have been held every other year, thus far in Brussels (1921), Rome (1923), Paris (1925), Warsaw (1927), London (1929), The Hague (1931), Madrid (1933), Brussels (1935), Bucharest (1937), Washington and New York (1939) and Berne (1947).
Dr. Bainbridge was appointed an original member of the Permanent Committee by King Albert and the appointment was confirmed by President Roosevelt. The Permanent Committee had one member from each of eight nations. Dr. Bainbridge also became a Life Member of the enlarged International Committee. He represented the United States Government at each of the eleven Congresses, and compiled and published reports of nine of them. It was frequently necessary for him to go abroad during the years between the Congresses to attend important meetings connected with the work of the organization. In the beginning the Congress had as its main objective the correlation and standardization of all the lessons of the war in medicine, surgery and sanitation from all participants for use in peacetime warfare, which we always have with us in accidents, etc. and if war ever returned, these lessons would be a preparation for saving suffering. The scope, however, was enlarged, and the International Office of Medico-Military Documentation was created, where books, pamphlets, magazines, manuscripts, and nonconfidential data are collected, international inquiries are answered and meetings are organized.
Another development of the Congress was the Pact of Monaco, drawn up after a week's conference at the Palace of the Prince of Monaco by international jurists and the members of the Permanent Committee. This pact provided for the organization of medical towns and zones, medical assistance by non-belligerents, treatment of prisoners of war, and the protection of the civil population. At a meeting of the Office of Documentation at Luxembourg in 1938, at which heads of the Medical Services of thirty-five nations, with three hundred delegates, were present, and over which Dr. Bainbridge as President presided, representing the Surgeons General of the Army, Navy and Public Health Service of the United States, this pact was merged into the Luxembourg Convention. The International Red Cross has accepted many of the points of the Luxembourg Convention.
In 1944 the International Office of Medico-Military Documentation was bombed out of existence by the Germans. Eight Belgians and sixteen Americans were killed. A few documents were recovered from the rubble. Fortunately, Dr. Bainbridge had duplicates of the original reports of the International Congress of Military Medicine and Pharmacy and of the convocations of the International Office of Medico-Military Documentation, published by the country in which each meeting was held; also photographs of events and personalities of these meetings; his own reports of the Congresses brochures published by the International Congress and International Office, etc., etc. These, with a large supply of medical and surgical books and periodicals Dr. Bainbridge donated to the reconstructed International Office of Medico-Military Documentation in January, 1947.
Dr. Bainbridge was one of the group which formed the Medical Corps of the United States Navy Reserve and was the first officer to be commissioned in that Corps: The Medical Reserve of the Navy. He was originally commissioned on January 25, 1913, as Lieutenant (j.g.). On July 16,1917, he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. On July 22, 1919, he became Commander, Medical Corps, United States Naval Reserve Force, Class 2. On March 2, 1934, he was made Captain, Medical Director, Medical Corps - Fleet, United States Naval Reserve. Later the name was changed, eliminating the term Fleet.
During 1913 and 1914 he acted as consultant to Naval Hospitals in the Third Naval District, operated on special cases, and gave lectures in the Naval Medical School in Washington. In 1915 he made a semi-official Red Cross, hospital and sanitary survey in Europe, visiting both the Allied Forces and the troops of the Central Powers. He was with the English, the French and the Germans. It was on this trip that, when at the Adlon Hotel in Berlin, he spent an evening with German officers, and heard one of them, a member of the General Staff, discuss confidentially, believing that Dr. Bainbridge was representing German America, the German intentions if Germany lost the war. This famous conversation was included in Captain Bainbridge's report of his trip which was made a special Senate Document and of which ten thousand copies were printed. The French Government printed twenty thousand copies of the report in French, and it appeared in the Petit Parisien and the Journal Belgique also - as much as was made available in the Senate Document. It has also been continually reprinted in the American press, as late as September 20, 1943, being given a full page in the New York Times, and in some books extensive references appear.
On April 6, 1917, the United States entered the war against the Central Powers and Lieutenant Bainbridge was ordered on active duty that night, joining the surgical staff of the Brooklyn Naval Hospital. He was then asked to organize and conduct an extensive training course for medical men entering the service - a group of fifty-seven young physicians and surgeons. They had no hospital training except that incidental to their medical course. Dr. Bainbridge secured the cooperation of a number of outstanding surgeons in New York and gave the men an intensive course of training from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. They assisted at operations, learned something of the care of psychiatric patients and their forced feeding, had training in clinical laboratory work. On the request of Dr. Bainbridge outstanding civilian physicians in and around New York came lectured to the men. After three months these men were sent to sea, largely on their own. Other groups of men were sent to several centers throughout the United States for similar courses.
He also planned and inaugurated the training of hospital corpsmen of the Navy in civilian hospitals in New York City, which courses were eventually taken by over eighteen hundred men. When the United States entered the first World War in 1917 there was a dearth of trained hospital corpsmen of the Navy to assist the surgeons on the transport and hospital ships and in the naval hospitals. Dr. Bainbridge (then on active duty as Lt. Commander in the Naval Reserve) was requested by the Commander of the Cruiser and Transport Fleet, Admiral Gleaves, and the Surgeon General of the Navy, Admiral Braisted, to organize a course of training in the New York District. Dr. Bainbridge arranged with city, state and private hospitals and laboratories to cooperate in this effort. When the ships entered New York Harbor, the hospital corpsmen reported to Dr. Bainbridge's office from whence they were sent to the different institutions and had intensive training for as many days as their ships were in port, which they continued when their ships again returned, learning rudiments of operating room technique, genito-urinary work, general nursing, laboratory work, Carel-Dakin treatment dispensary, pharmacy, anesthesia, contagious diseases, and embalming. During Dr. Bainbridge's absence at sea and in the European theatre, his office staff with Lt. J. G. Young, U.S.N.R., carried on the work. About 1,800 men were trained in the New York area. At the termination of the war, many of the men who took these courses were encouraged to study medicine. Some others became professional embalmers. Naval schools for hospital corpsmen were later established.
Assigned as Operating Surgeon on the U.S.S. George Washington in 1917, Commander Bainbridge helped fit out the medical and surgical department of the ship by securing donations of instruments, an X-ray plant and a Carel-Dakin outfit - a War Demonstration Hospital at sea, as called by Carel who inspected the completed equipment. Lectures and clinics were given to the Surgeons in transit to and from the war zone, who had not had experience at the Rockefeller War Demonstration Hospital and had not had such experience in the field.
While on this duty he originated and edited a ship daily newspaper, The Hatchet, known then as a valuable aid to morale, and later published as a book.
By orders from Naval Headquarters in Paris on December 26, 1917, Commander Bainbridge was put on detached duty as an observer with the Allied Expeditionary Forces operating in France. In February, 1918, he was again detached from the George Washington and sent as an observer with the American, French, Belgian and British forces. He inspected medical installations in England, and covered all the territory from No Man's Land back to the discharge centers. The last month was spent escorting representatives of the American Red Cross on inspection trips, and he rejoined his ship on June 29, 1918. His report on this duty was published by the Government in 1919.
After the armistice in November, 1918, Dr. Bainbridge (as Commander, M.C., U.S.N.R.) was made Chief Surgeon and Chief of the Physiotherapy Division of the U.S. Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, New York. He had seen the advances made in physical therapy abroad and had been interested in the subject for years, ever since his early days in Chautauqua. At the hospital in Brooklyn, there was practically no apparatus. Dr. Bainbridge with the cooperation of leaders in the field of physical medicine markedly enlarged the plant and installed excellent apparatus. There were no trained nurses and technicians for this work, and so a course of training had to be inaugurated. Within a year about 25,000 treatments were given. Every type of new apparatus and new method was utilized. 'the hospital became a model for other such departments in army, naval, and civilian hospitals throughout the country. Dr. Bainbridge had moving picture reels made of the physiotherapy department in action; these were exhibited in many centers and then presented to the Medical Department of the U.S. Navy.
Until 1934 Dr. Bainbridge continued drills and made summer training cruises, as well as acting as a consulting surgeon, but in that year he gave up active training duties, although he continued to represent the Medical Services of the United States at International Congresses and as a consultant. He was under orders when he represented the United States at the ten International Congresses of Military Medicine and Pharmacy. In August, 1941, he began a six-months' mission to the Central and South American Republics for the Department of State and the Navy Department.
When the Second World War struck the United States Dr. Bainbridge was again called to the service of his country. His first confidential assignment of six months' duration took him to all of the Republics south of our border and to the islands in the Caribbean Sea where United States military personnel were located. He was in personal touch with the Presidents of nearly all the Republics, with the Ministers of State, the Chiefs of Staff and all the Surgeon Generals and the Directors of Public Health. He inspected bases and the important hospitals. His complete report is in the files of the U.S. Government. Upon his return he continued in his capacity as Consulting Surgeon to the Navy and did certain special duty along confidential lines. Between the first and second World Wars, Dr. Bainbridge was active in building up the Reserve of the U.S. Navy. As a member of the Sixth Battalion, U.S. Naval Reserve, he attended drills each week and took the two weeks' yearly cruises. He gave lectures and stimulated recruiting.
At one time Dr. Bainbridge was under official consideration for appointment as Surgeon General of the Navy, as reported in the American press, but without his consent.
|Honorary Degrees, Memberships and Decorations|
He was an Honorary Professor of Surgery of the Military-Medical School of Poland, and an Honorary Professor of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Santo Domingo.
A few of Dr. Bainbridge's associations to which he gave particular attention and much time should be mentioned in some detail.
He was a member of the board of directors of the Equitable Life Assurance Society from 1924; the only physician on the Board until his death; he was also a member of the Insurance Committee.
He was a member of the Rotary Club of New York, was its President in 1933-34, and did great service to the Rotary movement by his visits to scores of the foreign clubs. When on official missions, as opportunity afforded, he took time to attend meetings and often addressed Clubs in Europe and South America.
His connection with the Intercollegiate Young Men's Christian Association began when he was a medical student. He held many offices, including that of President of the Student Branches of the city.
He was one of a group of physicians who recognized that one out of three medical men in New York City was of foreign birth and, for that reason in part, organized the International Medical Club of America in 1925. He became President of the Club for three terms, 1934-1938.
He was President of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States for 1934-35 and was a very active member for many years. During his term as President he increased the membership by almost a thousand new men, was the first to organize local chapters, and took the Association out of debt.
The International College of Surgeons was founded in Geneva in 1935 and Dr. Bainbridge was one of the original Fellows. In 1938 he accepted the onerous office of International Treasurer and continued to hold it until 1946. He was also Surgical Regent for New York State. He was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the United States Chapter in 1941. In 1946 he was made Honorary Fellow of the International College of Surgeons.
Dr. Bainbridge was elected Senior Vice Commander of the New York Commandery of the Military Order of Foreign Wars in 1921 and a few months later took over as Commander on the death of General Weld. He was elected Commander in 1922 and served three terms, making four terms in all. In l926 he was elected Commander General of the National Commandery and held that office until 1932.
Dr. Bainbridge was awarded many military medals and other decorations by a total of seventeen foreign nations:
At the close of the First World War, Dr. Bainbridge was recommended for the Navy Cross with the approval of Admirals Sims and Gleaves and all officers under whom he served, but he joined the group headed by Admiral Sims who refused the Cross because of disapproval of some of the awards and the way they were made by Secretary of the Navy Daniels. Dr. Bainbridge has the Victory Medal of the United States.
From New York State he has the World War Medal and the Conspicuous Service Cross, with more than a dozen stars.
The Salvation Army has given him the rare Gold Medal for Distinguished Auxiliary Service.
He received the Cross of Commander of the ancient Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus twice, from both the King and from Premier Mussolini.
At the termination of the Fourth International Congress of Military Medicine and Pharmacy, held at Warsaw in 1927, Dr. Bainbridge was asked to go to Rome. At the Celio Military Hospital there, in the presence of over three hundred medico-military officers, he was presented with a special medal in the name of Military Medical Services of Italy all officers having contributed.
At the Tenth International Congress of Military Medicine and Pharmacy, held at Washington and New York in 1939, in the presence of hundreds of delegates from thirty-five nations, Dr. Bainbridge was presented with a bronze medal on which his likeness appeared in relief, as an expression of appreciation from his colleagues.
Dr. Bainbridge published several hundred articles in medical journals, as well as numerous speeches, lectures and articles on general subjects which have appeared in magazines or in the proceedings of societies.
He was also the author of several books. His first, A Compend of Operative Gynecology (1906) was intended as a textbook for the classes he was then conducting at the New York Post Graduate Medical School and Hospital, where he was Adjunct Professor of Operative Gynecology. The next, published in 1909, was Life's Day, Guide Posts and Danger Signals in Health. Consisting of summaries of his lectures at Chautauqua, it was intended for general reading and went into four editions.
His most important book was The Cancer Problem, first published in 1914. It had taken him ten years of study and seven trips to Europe. There were four reprintings in English. After the First World War, when the press of the University of Louvain was restored in 1922, the first book published was an edition in French of The Cancer Problem. In l924 there was an edition for France. Later editions were in Spanish (1924), Italian (1927), Polish (1930) and Arabic (1935). These were all brought up to date and contained a special chapter on cancer in the country of the language.
There were many honors and distinctions paid to the author of this book; among them was the order by the King of Sud Arabia to one of his secretaries to set aside some hours each day for the following ten years to pray to Allah for Dr. Bainbridge.
Seventy-five copies of the Arabic Edition are in colleges and libraries of Sud Arabia, and this volume can be found in all Arabic lands. While Arabic for centuries was the classic language and many books were translated into it, this is believed to be the first English book of a medical nature to be translated into Arabic.
As mentioned elsewhere, Dr. Bainbridge was an observer with the German Army in 1915, and in 1917 and 1918 (a period of seven months) he visited England and the western front on the instructions of the Surgeon General of the United States Navy. His findings were submitted to the Navy and were published (1919) by the Government under the title Report on Medical and Surgical Developments of the War.
The Doctor had also published a report of each of the International Congresses of Military Medicine and Pharmacy between 1921 and 1937. These volumes have contained full reports of the proceedings.
Dr. Bainbridge also wrote chapters in several medical books, such as Dr. James T. Gwathmey's important volume, Anaesthesia; also in The Reference Handbook of Medical Sciences, and The New International Encyclopaedia.
On September 9, 1911, William Seaman Bainbridge married June Ellen Wheeler at her parents' home in Yonkers, New York.
Their first child, Elizabeth Bainbridge, was born in New York City on December 5, 1912, and died there four days later.
Here, Will is shown with his first son, William Wheeler Bainbridge, who was born in New York City on January 11, 1914. His second son, John Seaman Bainbridge, was born on November 1, 1915, and his second daughter, Barbara Bainbridge, on April 1, 1917.
|Dr. Bainbridge with William, Barbara and John.|
|Return to Bainbridge Family Memorials|