Iowa History Project


History of Medicine in Iowa
by D.S. Fairchild, M.D., F.A.C.S.
reprinted from The Journal of the Iowa State Medical Society, 1927
transcribed from the original book for the Iowa History Project by S. Ferrall

-Dr. Edward Hamlin Hazen biography-

Dr. Edward Hamlin Hazen
(by Lewis Schooler, M.D., Des Moines)

Dr. Edward Hamlin Hazen
Dr. Edward Hamlin Hazen

Dr. Edward Hamlin Hazen, ophthalmologist and otologist, whose professional training was received under men eminent in this specialty, while his own professional service won him high rank in practice, was born April 12, 1834 at Elyria, Ohio, his parents being Edward and Minerva C. (Hamlin) Hazen. The grandfather, Benjamin Hazen, was a Revolutionary soldier who participated in the battle of Bennington. He married Elizabeth Gates. The ancestry of both the Hazen and Hamlin families can be traced back to 1635, Dr. Hazen being of the seventh generation in America. His father was well known as an author of school books and also of a volume entitled Technology of Profession and Trades (Harper Library). He died April 24, 1877, in his eightieth year, and his wife passed away April 10, 1895, in her eighty-ninth year.

Dr. Hazen spent his youthful days in the East and there attended the common schools. Subsequently he engaged in clerking in a general mercantile store in Ohio and also followed farming in that state. In the winter of 1856-57 he taught school in Winneshiek county, Iowa. In 1858 and 1859 he attended Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio preparatory to the study of medicine. In the fall of 1860 he entered the medical department of Michigan University, there continuing his studies until he joined Company K of the Second Michigan Infantry. He enlisted as the regiment was leaving Detroit for Washington, D.C. and participated in the battles of Bull Run on the 18th and 21st of July, 1861. At the end of a year he was discharged from the volunteer service and enlisted as hospital steward in the United States Army, serving in that capacity in the General Hospital at Alexandria, Virginia, for for three years. After the war, in 1865-66, Dr. Hazen matriculated in what is now the Western Reserve Medical College and graduated in in 1866. For a year in 1866-67, he engaged in the general practice of medicine in Buffalo, New York, and on the 8th of April of the latter year removed to Davenport, Iowa. In 1869 he went to New York and spent four successive winters in the clinics under Professors Agnew, Roosa, Pomeroy, Knapp, Leffers and other eminent specialists in the disease of the eye and ear, and also took optical instructions of Doctors Noyes and Pulley, afterward returning to Davenport, where he practiced until 1891. At that time he came to Des MOines and has since been a representative of the profession in this city, specializing throughout the entire period in the treatment of diseases of the eye, ear, nose and throat, in which connection his superior ability was widely recognized. For four years, from 1870-1874, he was lecturer on the eye and ear at the University of Iowa and was professor of ophthalmology and otology in the medical department of Drake University (College of Physicians and Surgeons) for sixteen years, ending in 1900.

Establishing the Eye and Ear Infirmary of Davenport, Iowa, he advertised it by placing a cut of the building in the paper without encomiums, and this, being pronounced non-professional he was turned out of the University. On its organization he was invited by Dr. Blanchard to join the faculty of the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Des Moines. His contributions to the profession aside from private practice established his position as one of its valuable members. As an author he became well known as the writer of a small book called 'New Findings in Ophthalmology and Otology', which was published in an enlarged second edition in 1911. He was the inventor of a system for treating the eye muscles in eye strain and invented the Kratometer in this connection. Not being able to get opticians to manufacture this instrument, he and his son undertook the work of manufacture and have sold one hundred and fifty in this country and abroad. He was a regular member in good standing of the American Medical Association, The Iowa State Medical Society and The Polk County Medical Society. At the time he resigned his professorship in the Drake University in 1900 he was made emeritus professor of ophthalmology.

Dr. Hazen was united in marriage in 1874 to Miss Sally Feeman of Lancster, Ohio, one of the two daughters of Mrs. Elizabeth Feeman, a widow. Their living children are: Edward B., who is married and lives at Bridal Veil, Oregon; Roy Alfred of San Francisco, California; Arthur Waldo, who wedded Miss Edythe Appleby of Denver, Colorado and now makes his home in Omaha, Nebraska; Benjamin Hamlin, of Bridal Veil, Oregon; and Laura, wife of W.E. Pitcher of Berkely, California.

Dr. Hazen was never an ofice seeker or holder, but beofre the Civil War became a stalwart advocate of republican principles, which he has continued to support to the time of his death. He was a member of August Wentz Post, No. 1, G.A.R., of which he became commander and for two years he was medical director in the state encampment. Fraternally he was a thirty-second degree Mason, United States Jurisdiction, Registrar of the Sons of the American Revolution (state). He joined the Iowa Sons of the Revolution on its organization in Davenport. When twelve years of age he became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church of New York City and for twelve years he was non-affiliated. During the succeeding period of twelve years he was a Congregationalist and for a similar period was a member of the Unitarian church. He was a man of broad and liberal views, not only upon religious but upon all questions, and his position upon any vital question was always taken from a progressive standpoint. (pgs 259-262)

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