[Typed transcript of "MS of Egerton Yorrick Davis, MD, late U.S. Army of Caughnawauga, P.Q."]
Osler's humorous biography of Egerton Y. Davis [Osler's pseudonym] and his publishing exploits. Includes manuscript
notes, possibly written by Osler.
[Description courtesy of McGill University.]
About this transcript: Soon after Osler's death in 1919, Lady Osler asked their good friend Dr. Harvey Cushing to write
a biography. For this project, Cushing gathered a wide variety of material, including a substantial amount of Osler correspondence
and other memorabilia borrowed from Osler's family, friends, and colleagues. He employed three secretaries to transcribe
these documents, and later donated the transcripts (along with his other working materials) to the Osler Library. Because
many of the original documents were returned to the owners, the Cushing transcripts constitute the largest and most accessible
collection of Osler's correspondence.
Harvey Cushing's "Life of Sir William Osler" was published by Oxford University Press in 1925, and was awarded
a Pulitzer Prize in 1926.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (1,099,396 Bytes)
Transcriber: [Cushing, Harvey]
Original Repository: Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University. Osler Library Archive Collections, P417: Harvey Cushing Fonds
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Sir William: Regius Professor at Oxford, 1905-1919
MS of Egerton Yorrick Davis, MD, late U.S. Army of Caughnawauga, P.Q. [ca. 1917]
MS of Egerton Yorrick Davis, M.D., late U.S. Army of Caughnawauga, P. Q.
I never could understand about Egerton Y. Davis. He is reputed to have practiced at Caughnawauga, nearly opposite to Montreal,
where his collections were stored in the Guildhall. Some have said that he was a drunken old reprobate, but, the only occasion
on which I met him he seemed a peaceful old rascal. One thing is certain he was drowned in the Lachine rapids in 1884, and
the body was never recovered. He had a very varied life - in the U.S. Army, in the North West, among the Indians, and as a
general practitioner in the North of London. I knew his son well - a nice, mild-mannered fellow, devoted to his father.
These notes of customs among the Indian Tribes of the Great Slave Lake were sent to Dr. Molson just after he had taken over
the Montreal Medical Journal with Dr. Ross. One day I was in the job-room of the Gazette office where the Jr was printed,
and Conolly said "Oh there is an awful article for the Journal this month - Peter is in despair about it (P. was the compositor)
says Dr. Ross will never print it. I went over and found these sheets - all set up. I told Conolly that Davis had not a very
good reputation and to hold the printing until Dr. Ross saw the article. Of course he saw once that it was not fit to print.
I heard nothing more of Davis until I went to Philadelphia. I was on the staff of the Medical News, and Parvin, in 1884 and
1885, was very interested in the action of the perinaeal muscles, and in an editorial article discussed the question of the
constrictor cunni, and the possibility of the old idea of a penis captivus. One day I met Minis Hays, the editor, who said
"By the way, do you know Egerton Y. Davis, who lives somewhere near Montreal. Parvin is delighted as he has sent the report
of a case of penis captivus, just such a thought possible". I said "Hays, for heaven's sake! Do not print anything
from that man Davis. I know he is not a reputable character. Ross and Roddick know him well". "Too late now,"
Hays said "the journal is printed off". So the letter appeared in the number - 1885. It is dated from -- . The case
has gone into literature, and is often quoted. Minis Hays was disgusted, as Ross insisted that Davis was a joke, and he and
Roddick handed that I, of all people! Was the only one who knew anything about him. Some went so far as to say that I was
Davis, and the rumor got about a Philadelphia. I never but once met the man. Afterwards I often use his name when I did not
wish to be known. I would sign my name in the Hotel Registers as capital E.Y.D., Caughnawauga. Once, in Atlantic City, after
I had had bronchopneumonia, I registered under that name, immediately after Mrs. Osler and Revere. I had been there a week
when a man came up and said "Are you Dr. Osler? I have been looking for you for a week; your secretary said you were away
and not to be got at. My son is ill here and I wished you to see him". He had said to Cadwallader Biddle "Who was
that fellow, Davis, all the time with Mrs. Osler?" and was furious when he found that I had registered under that name.
They tell in Montreal many jokes about Davis, and father many of them on me. I am always sorry that I did not see more of
him, and that I never visited his collections at the Guildhall, Caughnawauga.