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A biographical Sketch

Edward Swift Dunster
The Michigan Alumnus 417-425



An address delivered before the Faculty and
 students of the medical department of the Univer
sity of Michigan on "Founders' Day," February
 22, 1905. 

I remember as a boy how bored and
 tired I used to be on Washington's
 Birthday. We were made to sit on
 rather hard benches and listen to 
eulogies on the Father of our Country, 
 interspersed with the reading of exciting passages from his farewell address. I often wondered if the man
 had never done anything wrong and 
if he were really interesting. I believe 
I should have honored him much more 
if he had only acted as do most boys 
in the cherry tree incident. I know 
now that I did Washington an in-
justice, thanks to the way the subject-
matter was presented; for he was a
 man like other men, with the same 
passions and weaknesses. It was just 
as hard for him to do the right, and 
avoid the wrong as for thousands of 
others who preceded and have followed him. What made him stand 
out preeminently amongst his fellows 
were certain traits of character which 
were needed by this nation just at that 
particular time. He was a superb
 soldier, honest, and possessed of that
 sublime courage, which buoys up its 
possessor, no matter what reverses he
 may suffer. He was a pioneer and 
leader. He showed the way and the
 others followed. Thus, it seems to me 
peculiarly appropriate that "Founders' 
Day" should be celebrated on his birth
day: for the founders of the Depart
ment of Medicine and Surgery of the
 University of Michigan were also 
pioneers and leaders.

At the time the 
medical department was established
 there was the same need of men of 
stern resolve, and of high ideals, with 
the courage of their convictions, if 
the movement was to be a success. 
 That they, and those who succeeded 
them, did not labor in vain, is, I am 
sure, the belief of those assembled here 
this evening. We meet to do them
 reverence, not because they were men
 more God like than their fellows, but 
because, although perhaps better endowed than the majority of men, they 
were, after all, but part and parcel of 
that medical profession which has ever
 striven upwards. We honor them for 
the good they have accomplished with 
the means at their command. The 
study of their lives and characters 
cannot help being of benefit to us who
 are confronted with the present problems, and who must strive to look into 
and plan for the future. If we labor 
as wisely and as well as those who 
have gone before us, we need have no 
fears for the future of the school, 
 whose welfare we have so much at 

To me has been assigned the task 
of depicting the life and character of 
Edward Swift Dunster, who succeeded
 to the Chair held by Abram Sager, 
the first Professor of Obstetrics and 
Diseases of Women and Children in 
the University of Michigan. In some
 respects he was the direct antithesis
 to Doctor Sager, for it is generally
 conceded that he was the most logical, 
 eloquent, and interesting lecturer the
 school has ever had. On the other 
hand we are given to understand that 
Doctor Sager, while scientific to a degree, presented his facts rather dis
connectedly, and was far from being
 an eloquent speaker. In other respects, 
however, we shall find that the two
 men were considerably alike. They 
were both scholarly, passionately fond
 of reading, and naturally of quiet, retiring dispositions. While their nat
ural talents pushed them to the front, 
 and made them at times the most con
spicuous men on the Faculty, you
 feel that, in reality, publicity did not 
appeal to them. Their real enjoyment
 came from the hours spent in their 
libraries among their beloved books. 

Edward Swift Dunster was the third 
child of Samuel and Susan Dow Dun
ster, and was born in the village of
 Springvale, Me., Sept. 2, 1834. He
 came of good old New England and
 English stock, being directly de
scended from Henry Dunster, the first
 President of Harvard College. Doctor 
Dunster's father, Samuel, compiled a 
small book entitled "Henry Dunster 
and His Descendants," in which may 
be found a very interesting sketch of 
their early ancestor's life. Henry 
Dunster was distinguished, not be-
cause of his learning and scholarship, 
 that were considerable, nor because
 he was the first president of a college
, which has since become so famous. He 
publicly announced his opposition to 
infant baptism, which so shocked the
 orthodox spirit of the colony that he 
was forced to hand in his resignation. 
 He conducted his defense with dignity and ability, but would not recede from
 his position, although the loss of the 
Presidency meant much to him. Thus
 did the narrow spirit of the community 
distinguish him above all others, and, 
 by making of him a martyr to his
 honest convictions, left to his descend
ants a glorious heritage.

Nearly two hundred years later, in
1879, his descendant, Edward Dunster, 
made an able argument before the 
American Medical Association at At
lanta. Briefly, for I shall refer later 
to this address, Doctor Dunster was 
defending his colleagues and himself 
for teaching in a medical school whose 
faculty taught certain branches to 
homeopathic medical students. The 
same narrow spirit, which had forced 
the resignation of his ancestor, Henry
 Dunster, was now at work in opposi
tion to him and his colleagues. Listen
 to his closing sentences and see if they 
do not ring true. "Do the opposite
 and adopt this amendment, and it is
 a stride centuries backward in the his
toric march of medicine, for it places 
us right" along side of those old 
worthies, the Asclepiadae, where laws 
forbade the revealing of 'sacred things
 except to the elect,' and who exacted from students and strangers the tests
 of initiation before admitting them to
 share in their knowledge. Finally in 
all your discussions and in your de
cisions forget me and forget the great
 University which I have the honor to 
represent, for if you can stand the
 disaster and discredit that must come
 with the adoption of this amendment
 we can certainly stand your censure."
 May our department and our Univer
sity ever have at our command such 

Doctor Dunster was educated in the 
public schools of Providence, R. I., 
 and entered the academic department
 of Harvard University in 1852. That 
he made the most of his college course 
is demonstrated by the thorough 
knowledge of the classics displayed in
 his subsequent papers and addresses. 
He must have been popular with his
 fellows for he was a member of the 
Psi Upsilon Fraternity, and the Hasty
 Pudding Club. He was also elected 
a member of the Phi Beta Kappa 
Society, this honor being conferred on
 eight of the members of the class hav
ing the highest rank. He graduated
 from Harvard in 1856 with high 
honors. In 1859 he received the degree of Master of Arts from the same 
University. For two years subsequent
to his graduation he resided in New-
burgh, N. Y. Here he tutored a
 young man for college, and according 
to the custom of the time began the 
study of medicine as a pupil of Doctor
 M. Stevenson of Newburgh. 

In 1858 he removed to New York, 
and became a student in medicine with
 a man whose influence on his future 
life was most marked. This was Pro
fessor E. R. Peaslee, one of the pio
neer gynecologists and abdominal
 surgeons of this country. Peaslee
 in this year had been appointed Pro
fessor of Obstetrics and Diseases of 
Women in the New York College of 
Medicine and Surgery, and was fully 
launched upon his career as an ovari
otomist, which was to make him 
widely known both in this country and 
abroad. He was an enthusiast in his 
work, and inspired his followers with 
the highest degree of confidence and
 emulation. It is not strange, there-
fore, that Doctor Dunster, then a
 young man of twenty-four, falling
 under such influences, should have 
imbibed a love for the subjects of 
obstetrics and diseases of women. 
 During the remaining thirty years of 
his life there were times when circum
stances compelled him to turn his 
talents and energies in other direc
tions, but after these demands were 
satisfied we see him returning to the 
specialties which were so dear to him. 

Doctor Dunster attended medical 
lectures at Dartmouth College in the 
summer of 1858, and graduated from 
the New York College of Medicine 
and Surgery in the following year. He was the recipient of the highest 
prize for general proficiency in his
 studies. The day following his graduation in March 1859, he was ap
pointed interne at Saint Luke's Hos
pital. He resigned from this position 
in the following August in order to
 accept the Demonstratorship of Anatomy at Dartmouth College. In the 
same year he started in practice in
 New York City. 

The first two years of a physician's
 practice in a large city are trying to 
say the least. I presume Doctor Dun
ster, in spite of his good record, native
 ability, and influential friends, prob
ably was no exception. Be this as it
 may, he was among the first to tender 
his services to his state at the out-
break of the war in 1861. In the same
 year he secured the position of Assist
ant Surgeon in the Regular Army 
after a competitive examination. Al
though a young man of only twenty-
seven, his superior officers soon be
came cognizant of his marked execu
tive ability. During the first year of 
his service he was made Medical In
spector under General Rosencrans. 
 Later he held the same position under 
General McClellan in Eastern Virginia. He supervised the erection of 
the army hospitals, and had general
 charge of the same. At one time he
 had command of the hospital trans-
ports, and attended to the shipping of 
the wounded to the northern hospitals. 
Later he was ordered to Philadelphia
 where he became Superintendent of
 Turner's Lane Hospital. At the same 
time he served on the Board of Ex
aminers of candidates for admission to 
the army medical service. For a time 
he was assistant to Doctor William A. 
Hammond, then Surgeon General of 
the army. From Washington he was
 transferred to the West Point Military
 Academy, where he remained until his 
resignation from the army in 1866.

Doctor Dunster's army career may 
be said to be typical of the man. His 
taste led him towards the more intel
lectual side of the army surgeon's life, 
just as other men delighted in the long 
hours during which they were com
pelled to wield the scalpel. He was dis
tinctly an organizer, and his executive
 ability was of the highest. This latter 
talent does not always coexist with the
 scholarly mind. 

After his resignation from the army, 
 he resumed his practice in New York. 
 In July 1866, he was made editor of 
the New York Medical Journal, a po
sition that he held for five years. 
Here again it was not chance but merit 
and scholarship which led to his being 
chosen for this important position. As
 an editor he was a marked success. 
 His alert mind grasped the needs of 
the general practitioner as well as the 
specialist and both were provided for
 in the pages of his journal. 

He inaugurated and developed the
 plan of giving the readers of his journal short abstracts of the best current 
medical literature. This is a common 
enough custom now in medical journalism, but it was quite an innovation 
in those days.

The "little doctor," as he was nick-
named in the army, must indeed have
 led a strenuous life during the seven 
years from 1866 to 1873, at which time 
he removed to Michigan. During the
 first five of these years he was editor 
of a great medical journal. At the
 same time he held an active service
 as attending physician to the Children's Out Patient Department of
 Bellevue Hospital. From 1868 to
1870, as Professor of Obstetrics and
 Diseases of Women and Children, he
 lectured in the University of Vermont. From 1869 to 1874 he held the same
 chair in the Long Island College Hos

In 1871 he was appointed Pro
fessor of Obstetrics in Dartmouth Col
lege, a position he held until his death. 
In 1869 he became resident physician 
to the Infant Hospitals on Randall's 
Island, New York. The management
 of these institutions had been exceed
ingly lax until Doctor Dunster as
sumed charge. The mortality among
 the one thousand children on the Is
land had been very high, so much so
 as to lead to severe criticism. Doctor
 Dunster, with his characteristic vigor, 
 quickly instituted a new regime. 
 Through hygienic and sanitary re
forms the mortality was greatly reduced, a fact, which was favorably
, commented upon by his superiors and 
the medical profession. This in itself, 
 was eminently gratifying, but probably 
Doctor Dunster took as great if not 
greater satisfaction in utilizing to the 
utmost the opportunities for observa
tion and study provided by the large
 collection of children directly under 
his charge. His lectures show that the 
scientific side of his profession was 
not lost sight of in the midst of the
 details of hospital management.

In spite of the demands of his official 
and professional work Doctor Dunster 
found time for social life. His pleasing 
address and facile tongue caused him 
to be in great demand as an after din
ner speaker. From conversation with
 one of his old friends I learn that his 
strength at this time was taxed to the 
utmost. Probably this fact had much
 to do with his acceptance of the posi
tion of lecturer in Obstetrics, and 
Diseases of Women and Children, ten
dered to him by this University in October 1873. He doubtless hoped
 by relinquishing his New York posi
tions and leading a quiet life in a uni
versity town, to regain his health, 
 which had been considerably impaired 
by overwork. 

Let us for a moment consider in
 retrospect this medical school at the 
time he was called to it. Although 
only twenty-three years old, the
 Medical Department of the Univer
sity of Michigan had established an 
enviable reputation throughout the
 country. It should be remembered that the school was in one way an
 experiment, for it was the first medical
 school in the country to be founded as
 a distinct department of a State Uni
versity. Would the people of the state
 support such a school, which at the 
best must be an expensive affair? Private medical schools and those con
nected with the richly endowed univer
sities came more nearly to paying ex
penses from their tuition fees. One
 of the fundamental principles, how-
ever, of the State University was small
 fees, so that the poorest student might 
avail himself of the advantages of a 
higher education. Situated in a small
 inland town, our school had, from the
 outset, to compete with schools more 
favorably situated, as far as clinical
 advantages were concerned. Could a 
school so located build up an adequate 
clinic by attracting patients from a far? 
 These and other problems had to be 
met and solved as the years rolled on.

Fortunately, for the welfare of the 
school, in the fifties and sixties, med
ical teaching was largely didactic; 
hence the lack of clinical material was
 not felt as keenly then as would have
 been the case had the school been
 started later. The Faculty early ap
preciated the importance to the med
ical student of thorough laboratory instruction. This was inaugurated at
 an early date, and in 1873 had made
 the school famous. Again, at the very
 beginning it took an advanced stand 
as regards the qualifications for med
ical education. It was the first medical
 school in the country to reject candi
dates for admission for lack of preliminary education. Although among
 the first to establish a graded three-
year course, in 1873 only two lecture
 terms of six months each, together 
with a year spent as a pupil of some
 reputable practitioner was required. 

At the time of Doctor Dunster's appointment, the lecture system in med
ical instruction was in full sway. There were four lectures each day, while clinics were only given on one 
day in the week. As a matter of fact 
it was not until 1869 that the Regents
 at the earnest request of the medical 
faculty could see their way clear to
 the establishment of a University Hos
pital. In that year was set aside a
 dwelling house on the north boundary 
of the Campus for hospital purposes. This building now forms the northern
 end of the present dental building.

Not much of a hospital, you will
 say, but at least it was a beginning. 
 And, best of all, it was begun in the
 right way, for it was from the first 
under the direct management of the 
clinical professors, and every patient
 was there primarily for clinical instruction. Possibly lack of room pre
vented the caring for private, as well 
as purely clinical patients, in this initial
 hospital. Possibly the medical faculty, 
 or the Board of Regents, recognized 
the incompatibility of mixing these
 two classes of patients. Be that as it
 may, the fundamental plan upon which
 this small hospital was established
 thirty-six years ago, was the correct
 one, and this general plan remains the
 same today. And, that it is the right
 one is shown by the growth of the in
stitution from a few up to two hundred seven beds when the new psycho
pathic ward is opened. 

In 1876 the legislature, generously 
aided by the city of Ann Arbor, added 
two pavilions to the hospital. Doctor
 Dunster had had a great experience 
in the erection of army hospitals, and 
the Faculty naturally turned to him 
for suggestions. The pavilions were 
erected on the general plans submitted
 by him. I am given to understand 
that they were intended to be merely 
temporary structures, the idea being
 that after a few years of use a hos
pital became so thoroughly infected as 
to necessitate its destruction. Yet this
 was six years after the inauguration
 of antisepsis by Lister and the true 
recognition of the causes of wound 

Doctor Dunster came to this Univer
sity at a glorious period in the history 
of obstetrics. Up to about 1870 the 
idea of the infectious nature of puerperal fever, although pointed out in
1845 by Oliver Wendell Holmes, had
 not gained much ground. A few en
lightened physicians convinced by the
 arguments and experiences of Semmelweiss took the proper precautions
 against the infection of the lying-in
 woman. The great mass of the pro
fession, however, remained uncon
vinced. In 1870 Lister's applications 
to surgery of Pasteur's discovery of 
the true nature of wound infection 
had a great influence upon obstetrics. 
 The period from 1870 to 1880 may be 
called the antiseptic decade of obstetrics. Lying-in women were treated
 antiseptically before, during, and after
 confinement, with the result of greatly 
reducing the terrible ravages of puerperal fever in maternity hospitals. The prophylactic era in obstetrics may 
be said to date from 1880. From that 
time to the present great advances 
have been made in the treatment of the
 lying-in woman. It has been proved 
that vigorous antiseptic measures are 
unnecessary and even injurious. 
 Asepsis in surgery and obstetrics have
 become synonymous. The puerperal
 mortality has been reduced to almost 
nothing, until it is as safe, if not safer, 
 for the woman to be confined in a 
properly equipped maternity hospital, 
 as in the most luxurious home.

Even mightier were the strides of 
the great men who were devoting their 
energies to the alleviation of the dis
eases of women and children. Sims, 
 Emmet, and Thomas were revolution
izing plastic gynecological surgery, 
while such men as Peaslee and the
 Atlees were establishing ovariotomy 
upon a firm foundation. The decade
 from 1880 to 1890 saw the greatest 
advance in pelvic and abdominal sur
gery. The onward and upward march 
of the gynecological surgeon claimed 
the attention of the world. 

In order to fully appreciate Doctor 
Dunster's relation to these changes 
that were taking place in the special
ties he was called upon to teach in this
 school, it is necessary once again to 
refer to the clinical material at his 
disposal from 1873 to 1888. We can 
afford to look at the question dispas
sionately now, for the school has put
 behind it those trying days. In spite 
of assertions to the contrary, our clinical teaching material compares favor
ably with other medical schools, ex
cept in certain directions. That time 
and energetic endeavor will round out
 our material is as certain as that our 
school will go on and maintain the 
high position it has acquired. But, 
 as I have attempted to show, in Doctor
 Dunster's time, clinical material and 
hospital facilities were sadly lacking; 
 practically there was no such thing as 
clinical obstetrics. Students were
 graduated in those days without ever 
having seen a confinement. In the
 eighties I find by the proceedings of 
the Board of Regents that certain
 sums of money were devoted to the 
support of obstetrical patients, but it 
was merely a desultory movement, and
 must have been without much effect.

It was somewhat the same in gyne
cology. I have had access to Doctor
 Dunster's records for the year 1881
and 1882, and I find that he saw dur
ing that time at the hospital only some 
seventy gynecological patients. Of 
these only thirty-one remained in the
 hospital. There were only thirteen 
minor operations performed in his
 clinic during that year. To be sure
 the Professor of Surgery performed the major operations in those days
; but they were not many, 
 and they were done under the most
 unfavorable surroundings.

Those of
 you who would become disheartened
 at conditions today will find encouragement by turning back to major surgery as it was performed in this med
ical school in the old days. Then the
 operating room was situated in the 
upper lecture room of the old medical
 building. Perhaps at a previous hour
 in the same room had occurred a dem
onstration in anatomy. After the 
operation had been performed the
 patient had to be carried down stairs
 and transported across the Campus to 
the hospital. Their ideas of antisepsis
 and asepsis naturally were of the
 crudest, even when they tried to de
velop a technique. For instance, they
 used to boil the gauze used for dress
ings, and then hang it across the amphitheater seats to dry. The mortality
 under these conditions was high, and 
the healing of a wound by the first 
intention was a rare occurrence. 

These statements are not made in the 
spirit of criticism. They were doing
 their best, and those of us who are 
working today would not have done 
any better. I am simply calling at
tention to the condition of affairs 
at the time that Doctor Dunster en
tered this University. Is it then at all
 strange that under these trying condi
tions Doctor Dunster, who by temperament was not intended for a sur
geon, should have turned his attention 
in other directions? Naturally a 
scholar, with a clear, logical mind, 
 and with an extraordinary gift of 
forceful expression, he became the
 expounder of other men's achievements. Happy, indeed, is the man, 
 who with a natural gift pursues his
 bent, and rises head and shoulders
 above his contemporaries. Such was 
Doctor Dunster. I know it from the
 testimony of every pupil of his with
 whom I have talked. As a lecturer he 
had few equals and no superior.

In this connection, I will quote from 
a letter I have just received from
 Doctor J. N. Martin, pupil, assistant, 
 and successor to Doctor Dunster. 
 After regretting that continued illness 
prevents him from being with us and 
after referring to Ford, Palmer, Mac
lean and Frothingham, he says: "Last 
but facile princeps in the lecture
 room or editor's chair, was our schol
arly Dunster. It is no disparagement 
to the others of that faculty to say 
that he was the most brilliant lecturer 
and writer among them all. Every
one enjoys a logical presentation of 
the subject, and no one left Doctor
 Dunster's classroom or read his arti
cles, without a clear conception of the
 subject under discussion. Listening 
to him gave pleasure like that derived 
from the study of a fine painting. His 
language was almost perfect, his dic
tion polished, and his argument clear 
and convincing. His stu
dents love to remember him in the lec
ture room."

Doctor Dunster was not a man of 
particularly commanding presence. 
On the contrary he was rather below 
the average height, with a large head, 
 and a high, intellectual forehead. He 
spoke with few or no notes, and he 
usually lectured sitting in a chair. He 
became intensely interested in his sub
jects, speaking slowly, distinctly, and 
without hesitation. He held the un
divided attention of his class; no mat
ter how abstruse might be the subject
 of his discourse. An old graduate 
told me that on one occasion Doctor
 Dunster had some trouble with his 
feet, and came into the lecture room
 on crutches. He seated himself in
 his chair, and began to speak. The 
pain in his legs becoming unendurable, 
 after an apology to his class, he placed
 both feet high up on the desk, and
 continued his lecture, holding the at
tention of his audience to the end of 
the hour. A man who could do that 
had not missed his calling. 

Doctor Dunster was not a prolific 
writer. The list of his conributions, 
 does not comprise more than fifteen 
articles at the most. It seems a pity he 
did not publish more, for what he did
 write was exceedingly well executed. 
 On paper, as in the lecture room, he 
expressed himself easily, elegantly and 

His early and deep interest in med
ical education is well illustrated by his
 address delivered at the commence
ment of the Medical Department of 
the University of Vermont in 1869. 
 This address is a plea for the higher 
culture of the physician. This he believed should be brought about by the 
substitution of a scientific for a classi
cal education, as preliminary to the 
study of medicine. He urges the
 lengthening of the medical course, and
 claims that the separate branches 
should be taken up in their natural
 and progressive order. He asserts
 "That the present system of medical 
teaching is more senseless than super
ficial; but we may confidently expect, 
 in view of the progressive spirit of the
 age, that we shall establish a more 
reasonable and adequate curriculum 
for medical studies." This shows that
 Doctor Dunster was in advance of his
 time on the question of medical edu
cation, for it was some years before 
these changes were brought about. 
He retained his deep interest and
 broad views on medical education dur
ing the remaining twenty years of his 
life. His ideas and counsel must have
 been of great assistance to his col
leagues on the Faculty during the
 transition period of the medical curriculum.

Doctor Dunster's address entitled
 "The Logic of Medicine," delivered
 on the twenty-fifty anniversary of the
 New York Academy of Medicine, is 
a model of good English and clear 
thought. It is a plea for the inductive 
method of reasoning as applied to 
medicine. He warns against slavish 
deference to authority, and upholds 
the value of independent investigation. 
Perhaps its chief charm, aside from its 
own clear logic, is the optimism which
 breathes from every line. Here is a
 specimen: "The future, then, is full
 of promise, and we may well content
 ourselves with the reflection that as 
centuries upon centuries have been
 spent in bringing about our present 
advanced position, so, hereafter, each 
successive decade will give a steadily 
increasing development."

Perhaps one of the best, if not the 
best, of Doctor Dunster's contribu
tions, was one to which I have already
 alluded. I refer to the "Argument
 made before the American Medical
 Association at Atlanta, Ga., May 7, 
1879, against the proposed amendment 
to the Code of Ethics, restricting the 
teaching of students of irregular or 
exclusive systems of medicine." The 
main question at issue has been settled 
long ago, and does not particularly 
interest the present generation, but a
re view of the history of that question, 
which caused so much hostile criticism
 to be hurled at the University and its
 medical Faculty, shows that, when the
 attacks became too bitter to be longer
 endured, Doctor Dunster, by unani
mous consent, was chosen to answer
 them, and answer them he did in such 
a logical manner that the bigots who
 made the attack were glad enough to 
escape by never allowing the amendment to come to a vote.

The chief characteristic of Doctor 
Dunster's more strictly scientific com
munications consisted in the thoroughness with which the literature of the 
subject under discussion was brought 
up to date. In this way he avoided 
the not uncommon failing of some
 medical writers of announcing dis
coveries, which a little more careful 
reading would have shown had been
 made before. Belonging to the local, 
county, state and national medical so
cieties, and being a frequent attendant
 at their meetings, he was often called
 upon to engage in the discussion. 
 Here, naturally, he was at his best. 
 His retentive memory gave him the
 advantage of having the subject mat
ter at his tongue's end. He defended 
his opinions vigorously, but was always courteous in his bearing towards
 those who differed with him. In fact, 
this unfailing courtesy was one of his striking characteristics. I have been 
impressed with the repetition of the
 word "gentleman" as used by those
 with whom I have conversed about 

Doctor Dunster's family life was 
ideal. Mrs. Dunster was the daughter
 of the Reverend Doctor Sprole of
 Newburgh, New York, formerly 
Chaplain and Professor of Ethics in
 the United States West Point Mili
tary Academy. The Dunsters were 
married in 1863, and the union was a
 singularly happy one. There were 
four children—three daughters, and a 
son who died in infancy. Mrs. Dun
ster was a woman of education, of
 great intellectuality, and a most hos
pitable person. She was a prominent 
figure in the social life of Ann Arbor, 
 and her kindly influence extended in
 many directions. 

Doctor Dunster died at Ann Arbor, 
 May 3, 1888, at the age of fifty-four. 
 The immediate cause of death was
 pneumonia, although his health had 
been failing for a year or more. For
 a few months prior to his death, he
 practically was obliged to give up his
 University work, and was confined
 most of the time to his house. Two 
days after his death, at a special meet
ing of the University Senate, resolu
tions were passed from which I ex
tract the following: 

"As a physician he was most sym-
pathetic with the afflicted, kindly frank
 in his announcements, true and un-
swerving in his deductions, a benefactor in numberless households. In
 educational affairs as a counselor, and
 an advocate for the interests of the
 University, he was clear in his propo
sitions, broad in the range of his ex
perience, and vigorous in his plead
ings, ever urging the best aims of pro
fessional culture—to us the members 
of this Senate he has endeared himself 
by the consistent integrity of his per
sonal relations, and a most genial bear
ing in the occasions of daily inter-

Thus lived and died Edward Swift 
Dunster. Who can say how far-reach
ing has been his influence? Thoughts
 which he promulgated may have been
 the life inspiration of numbers who
 have failed to give public testi
mony, but keep the secret in their 
hearts, and give him his just due. 
 This is merely conjecture. What we 
have learned from the study of his 
life, is that he was an able, honest, 
upright man and physician; that he 
loved this University, and especially 
its medical department, and that he 
served it, and everything connected
 with it, faithfully. In other words, 
he put forth the best there was in 
him. Can we ask more of any man?