Biography of Theophilus Mack, M.D.

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Doctor Mac is a native of Dublin, Ireland, dating his birth April 22, 1820, his parents being Frederick and Frances (Lendrum) Mack. His father was of Prussian descent, and a minister of the Church of England, he migrated to Upper Canada when our subject was twelve years old, and served at Osnabruck and Wellington Square, and finally as chaplain of the garrison at Amherstburg, and rector of the same place. The old gentleman is still living, being in his eighty-first year, and making his home with his son in St. Catharines.

Dr. Mack was educated at Upper Canada College, being one of the first pupils in that institution. During the rebellion of 1837-38 he was in the service, being appointed Lieutenant in the Provincial Navy, and served two years. Subsequently he studied medicine in the military hospital at Amherstburg; graduated at Geneva College, New York, in 1843; obtained his Provincial license the same year; settled in St. Catharines, and has been in practice here from that date, being eminently successful in his profession.

Dr. Mack claims to be the first man in America that treated the diseases of women locally, and we understand that one reason for his making this claim is that, when he commenced such treatment, he could not find a speculum in the cities of New York, Philadelphia and Boston, and was obliged to employ a tinsmith to manufacture a temporary one for his use.

Dr. Mack occupied the chair of Materia Medica in the Buffalo Medical College for three consecutive sessions, and was invited to accept that Chair permanently; but he found such an arrangement incompatible with his residing in St. Catharines, and he gave it up. In 1856, with a solemn guarantee that there should be no interference of a non professional character, and that all charlatanry should be rigidly excluded, the Doctor commenced the development of the mineral waters of St. Catharines, assisting Col. E. W. Stephenson in writing them up and drawing the attention of the profession to them; and he claims that it was wholly due to his influence that the waters became so celebrated, that for several years accommodation could not be had for all persons desirous of visiting the place. Finding that a system of false representation and interference was gradually being practiced, in 1864 he erected “Springbank,” one of the finest thermal establishments in America.

In 1865 the Doctor established, at his own expense and by subscriptions from his friends, an hospital for the poor, which has since received Government aid, and become a permanent and successful institution, with about fifty beds. In connection with this hospital he started, in 1873, a training school for nurses, the first establishment of the kind in the Dominion, and the second, probably, on this continent, the first being connected with Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York.

Dr. Mack is devoting most of his time to “Springbank,” the hospital and to surgery, especially that branch of it connected with the diseases of women.

The wife of Dr. Mack is Jane, eldest daughter of Elias S. Adams, first Mayor of St. Catharines, married July, 1845. They have no children.

During 1859 and 1860, Dr. Mack spent eight months in Europe, making the acquaintance of Sir James Simpson, of Edinburgh, Dr. Paget, of London, and Dr. Nelaton, of Paris, whose friendship he enjoyed during their lives. He deservedly ranks with Dr’s. Sims and Barker, of New York, White, of Buffalo, and Horatio Storer, of Boston, as being one of the most advanced gynaecologists of the day.

MLA Source Citation:

The Canadian Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self Made Men, Ontario, Volume 1. Toronto: Toronto American Biographical Pub. Co. 1880. Web. 26 January 2015. - Last updated on Aug 6th, 2012


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