Beaumont, William, 1785-1853

Alternative names
Birth 1785-11-21
Death 1853-04-25

Biographical notes:

Physician and physiologist.

From the description of William Beaumont collection, 1834-[ca. 1879]. (University of Chicago Library). WorldCat record id: 52247530

A native of Lebanon, Connecticut, Beaumont was certified to practice medicine by the Third Medical Society of Vermont in 1812. He served in the army during the War of 1812 and from 1819 to 1839 was an army medical officer. During that time he served at posts in the midwest including Fort Mackinac, Michigan; Fort Niagara; Fort Howard in Green Bay; Fort Crawford, Wisconsin; and Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis. On several occasions from 1825 to 1833, Beaumont studied the digestive process through a gunshot-wound patient he had treated in 1822 and whose wound had never fully healed, leaving Dr. Beaumont with unique access to the patient's stomach. Beaumont is known as the father of gastric physiology. He wrote Experiments and observations on the gastric juice and the physiology of digestion (1833).

From the description of William Beaumont papers, 1812-1879. (National Library of Medicine). WorldCat record id: 14315422

From the guide to the William Beaumont Papers, 1812-1959, (History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine)

U. S. Army surgeon.

From the description of William Beaumont papers, 1816-1944. (Duke University). WorldCat record id: 34838558

William Beaumont was born in Lebanon, Connecticut in 1785. He obtained a primary education and remained on his family's farm until he reached the age of 21. During the winter of 1806-1807, he traveled to Champlain, New York, to live with his brother Samuel, and teach school. During this period he borrowed medical books from Dr. Seth Pomeroy of Burlington, Vermont. In 1810 Beaumont informed his parents that he would begin studying "physic" as an apprentice to Dr. Benjamin Chandler of St. Albans, Vermont, while supporting himself by store keeping. After receiving his license to practice in Vermont in 1812, Beaumont enlisted in the U.S. Army as a military surgeon for three years. Following five years in private practice in Plattsburgh, he was commissioned as a post surgeon at Fort Mackinac, Michigan. There he saved the life of wounded fur trapper Alexis St. Martin. St. Martin was left with a fistula to his stomach. Beaumont became celebrated as a scientist through publication in 1833 of his long series of experiments on digestion that he performed on St. Martin. In 1834 Beaumont was sent to St. Louis, where resigned from the military five years later and spent the remainder of his life in private practice.

From the description of William Beaumont papers, 1763-1891. (Yale University). WorldCat record id: 703652815

From the description of William Beaumont papers, 1763-1891. (Yale University). WorldCat record id: 702172160

Physician and United States Army surgeon. Pioneer in study of and experimentation in functions in the human stomach.

From the description of William Beaumont papers, 1807-1879. 1807-1879. (Washington University in St. Louis). WorldCat record id: 29541458

Army surgeon noted for his scientific research on the human digestive process.

From the description of Papers, 1807-1889. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 83235175


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Ark ID:


  • Military Medicine
  • Digestive system
  • Surgery, Military--History
  • Medicine, Military
  • Families
  • Land speculation
  • Digestion
  • Military Medicine--History
  • Military Medicine--history--19th century
  • Digestive organs
  • Physicians
  • Physiology
  • Stomach--Surgery


  • Physicians


  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • Lebanon (Conn.) (as recorded)
  • Lebanon (Conn.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)