Anonymous American Photographer, ‘Dr. Charles Linnaeus Allen Studying Anatomy with Student’, circa 1855, Sotheby's

Important Daguerreotypes from the Stanley B. Burns, MD, Collection


From the Catalogue:
A rare daguerreian record of a physician teaching session, the exceptionally rich quarter-plate offered here is overflowing with memento mori symbolism, from the anatomical diagrams and opened medical volumes to the bleached leg bones and dissected skull. The finely dressed sitter at right is believed to be the noted physician Dr. Charles Linnaeus Allen of Vermont. He is pictured holding a churchwarden, the popular pipe whose long stem kept smoke away from the user’s eyes.

Charles Allen graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont in 1842 and received his medical degree from Castleton Medical College in 1846. Founded in 1818, the Castleton Medical Academy was the first medical college in Vermont and the first private medical school in the United States. It was renamed the Castleton Medical College in 1848, and the school ultimately ceased operation in 1862 during the Civil War. Prior to the War, Allen practiced in both Middlebury and Rutland and he lectured at Middlebury College, Castleton Medical College, and the University of Vermont. In 1855, Allen was appointed professor of chemistry at Castleton Medical College and professor of the practice of medicine in 1860, at which time he also served as President of the Faculty. During the War, Allen held many important appointments including Purveyor of the Department of the South in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Aside from an illustrious career in academia and the military, Allen was well regarded for his treatment of those afflicted by Bright's disease (a historical term for inflammation of the kidney), which included putting patients on a skim milk diet, and for his progressive lectures on civil and military hygiene.
—Courtesy of Sotheby's

Stanley B. Burns, Mirror Mirror: The Burns Collection Daguerreotypes (New York: The Burns Archive Press, 2012), pl. 118
Stanley B. Burns and Elizabeth Burns, Stiffs, Skulls & Skeletons: Medical Photography & Symbolism (Atglen, 2015), back cover
Stanley B. Burns, A Morning's Work: Medical Photographs from The Burns Archive & Collection, 1843-1939 (Santa Fe, 1998), pl. 4
Jacques Gasser and Stanley B. Burns, Photographie et Médecine, 1840-1880 (Lausanne: Institut universitaire d'histoire de la me´decine et de la sante´ publique, 1991), pl. 15