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Dr. Percy H. Swahlen, a representative of the medical profession in St. Louis, well known as an obstetrician and gynecologist, was born in Lebanon, Illinois, June 4, 1877. His father, the late William F. Swahlen, was a native of Wheeling, West Virginia, and was descended from one of the old Pennsylvania families. His grandfather, John Swahlen, who was born in the land of the Alps, came to America in 1820. He married Ann Gibbons, a descendant of the Cope family, early residents of Pennsylvania and members of the Society of Friends or Quakers. William F. Swahlen was well known in educational circles, becoming one of the professors of McKendree College, Lebanon, Illinois, and later in De Pauw University at Greencastle, Indiana, where he remained until his death. He was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, April 19, 1839, and had therefore reached the age of seventy-seven years when he passed away in Greencastle, February 19, 1916. He was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and first entered upon educational work at McKendree College of Lebanon, Illinois. As the years passed he won an enviable reputation by reason of the ability, clearness and forcefulness with which he imparted to others the knowledge that he had acquired. He married Caroline Virginia Hypes, who was born in Lebanon, Illinois, January 30, 1848, a daughter of Benjamin and Caroline (Murray) Hypes, representatives in the paternal line of an old Virginia family, while the Murrays were one of the old families of Maryland. The Hypes family was represented in the Revolutionary war by Henry Hypes, the great-grandfather of Dr. Swahlen, his ancestors having come from Germany during the early colonization of the new world. Mrs. Swahlen, the Doctor’s mother, is still living in Greencastle, Indiana. By her marriage she had six children, four sons and two daughters, of whom two of the sons and one daughter are living.
Dr. Swahlen, the third child of the family, was educated in the public schools of Lebanon, Illinois, and of Greencastle, Indiana, and in De Pauw University, from which he won his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1899. He then took up the study of medicine in the Marion Sims Beaumont College of Medicine at St. Louis, and won his M. D. degree upon graduation in 1903. Following the completion of his course he served for two years as interne in the St. Louis City Hospital, from June, 1903 until June, 1905, and then resumed his medical studies in Europe, spending some time in Strassburg, in Berlin, in Tuebingen and Vienna. There he remained from the summer of 1905 until the fall of 1907, gaining much valuable knowledge in the clinics and through college instruction in those cities.
Upon his return on the 2d of January, 1908, Dr. Swahlen entered upon the active practice of medicine in St. Louis, and while continuing in general practice he has more largely concentrated on obstetrics and gynecology. His studies and experience along these lines have made for marked skill and efficiency. He is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the St. Louis University, is resident obstetrician in St. Ann’s Maternity Hospital, gynecologist in St. John’s Hospital and a member of the visiting staff of the St. Louis City Hospital. He is also obstetrician and gynecologist to the Mount St. Rose Hospital.
During the World war Dr. Swahlen was a captain in the Medical Corps of the United States army, stationed in the Base Hospital at Camp Pike, Arkansas. He entered the service September 30, 1918, and was discharged on the 29th of May, 1919.
Dr. Swahlen belongs to the University Club and is identified with the Beta Theta Phi and the Phi Beta Phi. Along strictly professional lines his connection is with the St. Louis, Missouri State and American Medical Associations, and he is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He finds his chief interest in study and research along medical lines, his progressiveness in professional work bringing him to a place of distinction in the field of his specialty.