Keen, William W. (William Williams), 1837-1932Alternative names
Surgeon of Philadelphia.
From the description of Letter, 1864, Jan. 27 : Philadelphia, to Dr. Brinton. (Duke University). WorldCat record id: 34847965
William Williams Keen (1837-1932) was a prominent neurological pathologist from Philadelphia, and the first brain surgeon in the United States. Keen gained national attention for his then-secret surgery performed on President Grover Cleveland in 1893.
From the description of William Williams Keen's material related to the operation of President Cleveland, 1893-1918. (College of Physicians of Philadelphia). WorldCat record id: 776159038
From the description of For a book on artistic anatomy or better anatomy for artists : holograph, [ca. 1900] / William Williams Keen. (College of Physicians of Philadelphia). WorldCat record id: 777848153
William W. Keen was a surgeon and was president of the American Philosophical Society, 1908-1918.
From the description of Reminiscences for his children, 1912, 1915. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 122608697
Surgeon and professor of surgery. Brown class of 1859.
From the description of Papers, [ca. 1861-1930]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122348846
William Keen was a Philadelphia physician.
From the description of Autographs album, 1838-1863. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania). WorldCat record id: 122316676
Distinguished Philadelphia surgeon and neurologist; surgeon for the 5th Massachusetts, performed the 1st successful removal of a brain tumor in the U.S. in 1887; president of the International Society of Surgery.
From the description of W.W. Keen letters, 1923-1926. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 77133435
William W. Keen was a surgeon and served as president of the American Philosophical Society, 1908-1918.
From the guide to the Reminiscences for his children, 1912, 1915, 1912-1915, (American Philosophical Society)
William Williams Keen, surgeon and neurologist, was born on 19 January 1837 in Philadelphia. He was the third son of merchant William W. Keen and Susan (Budd) Keen. Keen married Emma Corinna Borden in 1867; they had four daughters, Corinne, Florence, Dora, and Margaret. William W. Keen died on 7 June 1932.Keen graduated from Brown University in 1859. He entered Jefferson Medical College in 1860, left in 1861 to become Surgeon to the 5th Massachusetts Regiment, then returned to Jefferson and received his M.D. in 1862. He then became Acting Assistant Surgeon in the U.S. Army and worked in a succession of military hospitals, including the Turner's Lane Hospital in Philadelphia, where he studied gunshot wounds and other neurological problems with S. Weir Mitchell and George R. Morehouse.From 1864-1865, Keen studied medicine in Europe. From 1866 to 1875, he taught pathology at Jefferson Medical College and was the head of the Philadelphia School of Anatomy. He was also Professor of Artistic Anatomy at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1876-1889). From 1884 to 1889, Keen was Professor of Surgery at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. From 1889 to his retirement in 1907, he was Professor of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College.In 1887, at St. Mary's Hospital in Philadelphia, Keen performed the first successful removal of a brain tumor in th.
e United States. He was the first physician to perform a decompression ofthe skull and also the first physician in Philadelphia to use Lister's antiseptic surgical practices. Keen was interested infocal epilepsy and microcephaly as well.William W. Keen edited Gray's Anatomy in 1883 and wrote numerous articles and monographs, including, in conjunction with J. William White, the American Text Book of Surgery (1892). Keenwas the author of A System of Surgery (1906-1921) also.He was elected to fellowship in the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1867 and was its president (1900-1901). Keen was also a member and president of many other professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, American Philosophical Society, American Surgical Association, and the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery. In 1920, he was president of the International Society of Surgery and presided over the society's 1923 meeting in Paris.
From the description of Personal correspondence, 1885-1929 (span), 1885-1897 (bulk). (College of Physicians of Philadelphia). WorldCat record id: 122465029
William Williams Keen (1837-1932) was a prominent neurological pathologist from Philadelphia, and the first brain surgeon in the United States. A graduate of Philadelphia Central High School and Brown University (1859), Keen received his MD from Jefferson Medical College (now Thomas Jefferson University) in 1862. Throughout his accomplished career, Keen worked as the Acting Assistant Surgeon in the Union Army during the Civil War from 1862 to 1864; lectured on pathology and surgery at Jefferson Medical College from 1866 to 1875 and 1889 to 1907; formed the Philadelphia School of Anatomy in 1875; and published on a variety of surgical topics. Some of Keen’s works include Reflexive Paralysis: The Result of Gunshot Wounds (1864) and Gunshot Wounds and Other injuries to Nerves (1864), both co-authored with S. Weir Mitchell and George R. Morehouse relating their observations of surgeries conducted during the Civil War. Keen also wrote or edited numerous anatomical works published in Gray’s Anatomy in 1887 and 1938, as well as co-authored the book Surgery its Principles and Practices with James White, considered a seminal text on the subject upon its publication in 1892.
Keen also gained national attention for his then-secret surgery performed on President Grover Cleveland in 1893. In mid-June 1893, White House physician Dr. Robert Maitland O’Reilly diagnosed a large growth along the roof of President Cleveland’s as a malignant tumor. An alarmed Frances Folsom Cleveland (President Cleveland’s wife) subsequently requested family friend Dr. Joseph Decatur Bryant to inspect President Cleveland. Concluding that the growth needed to be removed, Dr. Bryant summoned a team of prominent surgeons, including William Williams Keen. On July 1st, 1893, surgery on the President’s mouth took place aboard the yacht Oneida, and the growth was removed through the partial removal of the President’s jaw. According to Keen’s notes recounting the events of the day, “Dr. Janeway had watched [President Cleveland’s] pulse and his general condition. Dr. [Ferdinand] Hasbrouck administered the gas and Dr. [Robert Maitland] O’Reilly the ether and Dr. [Joseph Decatur] Bryant performed the operation assisted by Doctor [William Williams] Keen and Dr. [John F.] Erdmann.”
Given the tumultuous financial situation facing the United States at the time, the President’s surgery was kept secret so as not to further destabilize the already fragile markets. The President’s trip on the Oneida was billed as a “fishing trip” by the White House, and all efforts were made to disguise the intent of the President’s absence from Washington. Some journalists, most notably E. J. Edwards, caught wind of the true reason for President Cleveland’s Oneida trip, and on August 29th, 1893, The Philadelphia Press ran Edwards’ article recounting the event, titled, “The President A Very Sick Man.” Edwards’ claims were summarily dismissed by the White House, and his journalistic integrity was attacked by both the Cleveland administration and his contemporaries in the Democrat-supporting newspapers of the day. As a result, the truth on the details of the surgery remained murky for nearly twenty five years.
That was until William Williams Keen, with the permission of President Cleveland’s former wife, published his account of President Cleveland’s surgery in a Saturday Evening Post article on September 22nd, 1917. Keen had refreshed himself with the details of the surgery by corresponding with Frances Folsom Cleveland Preston (having remarried in 1913), Annette Bryant (wife of Joseph Decatur Bryant), Kasson C. Gibson (the doctor overseeing President Cleveland’s dental cast), Elias Cornelius Benedict (owner of the Oneida), and even E. J. Edwards regarding Edwards’ sources of information. The resulting article was widely disseminated, and many of Keen’s friends and colleagues sent him enthusiastic letters thanking him for the clarification. The article also confirmed many of E. J. Edward’s initial reports, vindicating the journalist’s work, for which Edwards was very grateful to Keen. Keen subsequently wrote a longer account of the surgery, which became a monograph and sent to friends, colleagues, and interested parties.
-Algeo, Matthew. The President is a Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea and Vilifies the Courageous Newspaperman Who Dared Expose the Truth . Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2011.
-Stone, James L. "W. W. Keen: America's Pioneer Neurological Surgeon." Neurosurgery 17 (6) (1985): 997-1010.
-Thomas Jefferson University, "10 Notable Jefferson Alumni from the Past: William Williams Keen." Accessed August 15th, 2011. http://jeffline.tju.edu/SML/archives/exhibits/notable_alumni/william_keen.html
From the guide to the William Williams Keen's Material Related to the Operation of President Cleveland, 1893, 1905, 1915-1918, (College of Physicians Historical Medical Library)
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908--Health|
|Exchanges Of Publications|
|Medical education--United States|
|Physicians--Correspondence, reminiscences, etc|