Monday, January 11, 2016

Dr. Mastin of Mobile Tours the World in 1901

Reading old newspapers often turns up fascinating material. I was recently wandering around in the Library of Congress digital collection Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers for another project unrelated to Alabama history and found the long article below. The piece appeared in the St. Paul Globe in Minnesota on July 21, 1901. Given the nature of the article, it probably appeared in other papers around the country. 

Wondering who these surgeons were, I skimmed the first paragraph and found "Dr. Mastin of Mobile, Ala." as one of the four. The travelers intended to visit and conduct clinics in Berlin, Moscow, Siberia, Korea and Japan. Some hunting and fishing would be included en route to Siberia. Interestingly, Mastin is mentioned in the article only that one time.

At first I thought this Dr. Mastin might be Claudius Henry Mastin, Sr. [1826-1898], with whom I am somewhat familiar. However, a check of my file on him quickly alerted me that although he had practiced in Mobile, he had also died three years earlier.

The Dr. Mastin mentioned in this article must be his son, Claudius Henry Mastin, Jr., who died in August 1925. Like his father he practiced in Mobile as well. Both men are buried in Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville. The elder Mastin received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1849; his son from the same institution in 1884.

I wonder if young Dr. Mastin received his invitation to this trip based on his father's renown. After Confederate service in the Civil War, the older man spent decades participating in various medical organizations, publishing numerous articles and even invented several surgical instruments in addition to his clinical practice. I really need to do a blog post about him one day.

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