Skip to main content

Fowler, Edson Brady, 1865-1942



  • Existence: 1865-1942


Edson B. Fowler (1865 – 1942)

Edson Brady Fowler was born on February 14, 1865, near Buda, Illinois, (midway between Aurora and Galesburg) son of George Fowler and Lucyette Faitbrother Fowler who had been married on February 10, 1864. Edson received a Bachelor of Arts degree (1893) and a Doctor of Medicine degree (1896) from Northwestern. He took graduate work in electro-therapeutics (1894-1895) and in pathology (1895-1896), also at Northwestern. His internship was at Mercy Hospital (1896-1897).

Fowler then practiced medicine and surgery in Chicago (loop and south side) and became a Clinical Instructor in Medicine at the Northwestern University Medical School and a Lecturer at the Mercy Hospital Training School for Nurses. In 1905-1906 he studied surgery at Vienna, Berlin, Dresden, and London. When he returned to Chicago he limited his practice to surgery. In 1915 Fowler moved to Evanston. He volunteered for service and spent two years in the Medical Corps. First he organized the department of orthopedic surgery at Camp Shelby in Mississippi and then became head of the same department at Fort Sheridan. He left military service with the rank of major.

Fowler was chief of the department of fractures and orthopedic surgery at St. Francis Hospital, Evanston, from 1922 to 1940 when he was made emeritus. He died at his home, 1823 Hinman Avenue, in Evanston on June 22, 1942.

Edson B. Fowler received many honors. Perhaps the most unusual of these was the gold medal presented by William Windom, Secretary of the Treasury, to Fowler and seven other members of the Evanston Life Saving Crew for their rescue of the 18 crewmen of the steamer, Calumet, which foundered during a blinding blizzard on November 28, 1889. Fowler was president of his junior class in college and won the Gage Prize for debate. During his medical and surgical career Fowler served as President of the Staff, St. Francis Hospital, Evanston, and twice as Councillor for the Evanston Medical Society. He was a member of several medical, surgical, and lay societies, and became a 32nd degree Mason.

On October 6, 1899, Fowler married Hannah Isabelle Drew. Mrs. Fowler preferred not to use her first name and usually was known as Isabelle Drew Fowler. Two children were born of this marriage: Elizabeth Drew, August 11, 1906, and Edson Fairbrother, December 5, 1915. Elizabeth married Robert M. Jones and had three children, Elizabeth, Robert, and Peter. Edson B. Fowler was a respected surgeon who did much to maintain the integrity of the medical profession.

Forrest Stephen Fowler (d. 1948)

Forrest Stephen Fowler was probably born on his parents' farm near Buda, Illinois, as was his older brother, Edson Brady. Forrest married his wife, Augusta, on March 13, 1894. He devoted most of his time to running the family farm although he was active in citizens' organizations. Augusta died in November, 1945, and Forrest passed away in 1948. The marriage was probably childless.

Edson Fairbrother Fowler (1915-1964)

Edson F. Fowler was born on December 5, 1915, probably in Evanston. He graduated from the Northwestern University Medical School in 1942. Fowler was certified by the American Board of Surgery in 1948 and was admitted to the American College of Surgeons as a Fellow in 1949. He was Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, on the surgical staff at St. Francis Hospital, Evanston, and a past president of the North Suburban Branch of the Chicago Medical Society. In 1948 Thomas published "The Present Status of the Surgical Treatment of Hyperthyroidism" by Warren H. Cole and Fowler. In the 1950s and early 1960s Fowler maintained offices in Evanston and Glenview. He died in Evanston of a pulmonary embolism on December 7, 1964.

The correspondence (1927-1929) between Edson B. Fowler and his brother, F. S. Fowler, joint owners of the family farm, gives a good picture of some of the problems and costs involved in running a medium-sized farm in western Illinois.

The daybooks and patient ledgers of Edson B. Fowler present a record of his practice in Chicago, first as a physician (1900-1905) and then as a surgeon (1906-1915), and in Evanston (1915-1925). His typed case records for the brief time he was at Fort Sheridan (1919) illustrate some of the orthopedic problems of the returned veterans.

The daybooks of Edson F. Fowler record the private and hospital practice of a surgeon, first in Evanston (1949-1953) and then in that city and Glenview during the period 1954-1962. These records are restricted until 1996.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Edson Brady Fowler (1865-1942) Family Papers

Identifier: 55/2
Abstract The Edson Brady Fowler Family Papers contain materials from four members of the family over two generations. Edson Brady Fowler (1865-1942; Doctor of Medicine, Northwestern University, 1896), physician and surgeon, and Forrest Stephen Fowler (d.1948), farmer, were the sons of George Fowler and Lucyette Fairbrother Fowler who lived near Buda, Bureau County, Illinois, for many years. A few financial items related to Augusta S. Fowler (d.1945; Mrs. F. S. Fowler), are in the collection. Slightly...
Dates: 1900-1962