Edward Mulberry Hodder, M.D. 1810 - 1878
The Father of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Ontario and Dean of the Trinity Medical School
Plaque located at: 41 Spruce Street, Toronto, ON, Canada
Dr. Edward Mulberry Hodder was born December 30, 1810 in Sangate, Kent, England. He was educated on the Isle of Gurnsey and in France. He became a midshipman in the Royal Navy, but after a year, he left the Navy to study medicine in London, Paris and Edinburgh.
He married Frances Tench in 1834, and they left for Canada in 1838. First, he practiced in Queenston, and then moved to Toronto in 1843.
In 1850, he and James Bovell founded the Upper Canada School of Medicine which subsequently became the Trinity Medical College but only for a few years.
He was also the medical school representative on the board of the Toronto General Hospital which stood in Cabbagetown facing Gerrard Street between Sumach and Sackville streets, from 1856 to 1913 (the building was demolished in the early 1920s).
He taught at the Toronto School of Medicine which, at the time, was at the southwest corner of Gerrard and Sackville streets (now Regent Park). The Trinity Medical College was re-established in 1871 and Hodder was elected its dean, a position he held until his death in 1878. The College was on Cabbagetown’s Spruce Street and the building is still standing (see picture below).
Dr. Hodder was president and chair of many medical associations.
He was a respected medical practitioner. But let’s remember that medicine still had to develop further and Hodder did took part in sometimes weird and dangerous experiments. For example, during the cholera epidemic of 1854, he made transfusions of milk into the veins of some patients!…
But he was also on the right side of medicine. How diseases are transmitted was only better understood late in the 19th century. But Hodder was an innovator, being one of the first to use carbolic acid as an antiseptic in surgery. However, he was known mainly as an obstetrician and gynaecologist and has been called the “Father” of these two branches of medicine in Ontario.
Together with a fellow sailing enthusiast, he also founded the Royal Canadian Yacht Club.