Historic, but not famous

Samuel Latham Mitchill, doctor, naturalist, politician

Samuel Latham Mitchill (1764 – 1831) was a physician, naturalist, and politician. He attended medical school at the University of Edinburgh. He returned to the United States after medical school and completed law school. As a lawyer he oversaw the purchase of lands in western New York from the Iroquois Indians in 1788. He taught chemistry, botany, and natural history at Columbia College from 1792 until 1801 and was a founding editor of The Medical Repository, the first medical journal in the United States.

Besides teaching, practicing medicine and research, he also became involved in politics. He served in the New York Assembly, the US House of Representatives, and became a Senator. He supported the Erie Canal project with DeWitt Clinton. He promoted theories of sanitation as well. Though an egotistical man, he was generally admired for his “encyclopedic breadth of understanding than for much originality of thought.”

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