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Boston Medical and Surgical Journal Memorial of Dr. Page

By 1844, the year Dr. Page died, the Massachusetts Medical Society published a journal for its members. Still in their infancy, medical societies sought to establish a male medical profession with well-defined standards. This tribute to Dr. Page lauded what the society considered professional and personal excellence.



Questions to Ask these Pages:

1. What biographical data can be found in this document?

2. Compare the values praised in this memoir to those of Martha Ballard.

3. Why was there no similar tribute to Martha Ballard?

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  Memoir of Benjamin Page, MD 171

more amiable virtues of the mind. All who know her appreciate her amiability of character. Her watchful devotion to her invalid husband during his protracted illness was the admiration of every one. "Here the spirit of the wife and mother rose superior to an ordinary nature. Night after night, without closing her eyes, did she watch 'with patient, vigilant, never-wearied love,' at the bedside of the object of her long-cherished affections. Week after week and month after month, did she patiently devote to the languishing sufferer. With noiseless step would she pace the chamber, fearful lest the slightest foot-fall should disturb the hoped-for slumber of her idol-one. No toil, no privation, was shunned by her. Untiring and self-sacrificing in her disposition, her world was narrowed to the limits of the sick one's wants, hopes, and changes. The angels of heaven must contemplate such conduct with looks of love and admiration. It is in such moments we appreciated the mother, the wife, the woman."

From the day of marriage to the death of her beloved husband--the "beloved physician"--they were never separated ; and it is worthy of especial remark, that this is the first and only death in the family that has ever occurred ; while there is not a house nor a family in the town and those adjoining, numbering some fifteen or twenty thousand inhabitants--save, perhaps, the more recent settlers--where there has not been some change by death or removal, except this ; which has remained the same, "unchanged and unharmed," till this visitation, for upwards of forty years. Here had they happily lived together, surrounded by their children's children, fully realizing the truth of the wise man's saying, "The just walketh in his integrity ; his children are blessed after him."

A trifling incident of a domestic nature, but not too trivial, perhaps, to he noticed here, will serve to show how accidental and arbitrary often are the names of children. Each of the fond parents had a favorite family name to bestow upon the first-born, and it was decided to place them with others among some blanks and draw for a choice. Fortune decided in favor of both, and the names were then united, and impressed, at the baptismal font, upon the future man.

Dr. Page was a man of large stature and good form, and of mild and benignant countenance. It beamed with a lively intelligence, and a good natural expression of mirth and cheerfulness lay over all. His head was small, his eye reflective, but clear and benignant, and his whole features expressivel of the livelier affections of charity and love. He was regularly handsome in youth, and even in the decline of life and under afflicted health, was a person of prepossessing and commanding appearance. He possessed the qualities of a true gentleman, suavity and benevolence of disposition, a nice perception of the properties of social life, and a spirit of deference to the feelings and rights of others.

In youth he was gifted with sound health and strength. While a pupil at Exeter, his father's dwelling, which was directly opposite the Academy, caught fire and was consumed. During the progress of the flames he entered one of the rooms and removed a large book-case with all its contents, and safely deposited it in the street. The next morning he in vain attempted to raise it, and could never afterwards move it from

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