A group of 3 items:
1. HAYWARD, GEORGE. 1791-1863. Receipt to William Whitwell Greenough, 1 p, Boston: January 16, 1852. Hayward writes: "Received of W. W. Greenough Esqr. Thirty Five Dollars in full for medical attendance on his family to Jan. 1st 1852." Tipped to card with item 2 below, offsetting from adhesive on verso.
2. A printed receipt completed by Lemuel Shaw, administrator of Hayward's estate. The receipt prepared for William W. Greenough after Hayward's death on October 7, 1863, notes that five dollars had been received for Hayward's medical attendance on his child on April 19, 1863. Tipped to card with item 1 above, offsetting from adhesive on verso.
3. BIGELOW, HENRY J. 1818-1890. Autograph Letter Signed, to William Whitwell Greenough, 2 pp, Boston: December 19, 1887. Bigelow writes: "Dear Greenough, My gascocks, about 2/3 of them, are obstructed. I remember our having some conversation with you on this subject. If you have a man that attends to this function & who also possesses the especial recommendation that he does not put in his pocket what he may see & want of too many trapes lying round my house, which has only servants in it, I being out of town, - pray send him at your convenience to attend to all the gascocks. I much oblige. Yours very truly, H. J. Bigelow." Fold creases, toning.
These letters link two surgeons at the Massachusetts General Hospital who played key roles in the introduction of ether anesthesia. Liquid ether emits vapors and anesthesia resulted when a patient inhaled this gas. It is rather ironic that Hayward and Bigelow corresponded with their friend William W. Greenough, who had been in charge of the Boston Gas-Light Company since 1852. George Hayward performed the first major operation under ether anesthesia on November 7, 1846. "Henry J. Bigelow witnessed the earliest operations where ether was administered. He published the first paper describing 'Insensibility during Surgical Operations, Produced by Inhalation,' in Boston Medical and Surgical Journal (35 : 309-17" (ANB 751-752). In his history of surgery, John Shaw Billings wrote, "It is to Warren, Hayward, and Bigelow that the surgical world is indebted mainly for a sufficient, general and safe method of anaesthesia. (Billings, The History and Literature of Surgery, p 126). William Whitwell Greenough (1818-1899) was an 1837 graduate of Harvard University. He was a very successful Boston businessman, taking charge of the Boston Gas Light Company in 1841. From 1856 to 1866, Greenough served as a trustee of the Massachusetts General Hospital, where Hayward and Bigelow practiced.