Dr. Jabez Henry Elliott was born in Hampton, Durham County, Ontario, in 1873, a village founded by his grandfather Henry Elliott. Known as a compassionate, good natured man, Dr. Elliott graduated with honours from the University of Toronto in 1897, earning the gold medal and the George Brown Scholarship. He then took a postgraduate course at Johns Hopkins, where he worked with Sir William Osler on his famous collection of books. This spawned an enduring interest in books and medical history, which Dr. Elliott channelled into three decades of work on the Library Committee at Toronto’s Academy of Medicine, starting in 1912.
Dr. Elliott went from being an accomplished student to an even more accomplished doctor, publishing ninety academic papers on subjects ranging from public health to natural science to the history of medicine. He was the superintendent of the first tuberculosis sanatorium in Canada, the Muskoka Cottage Sanatorium, and after spending some time in West Africa studying malaria in 1900, he returned home to be in charge of the Muskoka Free Sanatorium at Gravenhurst.
The Museum of Health Care is today the home of over 100 glass slide photographs taken by Dr. Elliott of these and other sanatoriums across Canada and the world. He was purportedly also one of the few tuberculosis specialists who never came down with TB himself.
In addition to his numerous publications and his work on tuberculosis, Dr. Elliott served with the Canadian Army Medical Corps in the First World War and was a member of numerous medical boards, committees, and associations. He was president of the American Association of the History of Medicine, president of the Canadian Tuberculosis Association, and Chair of the History of Medicine at the University of Toronto, among many other positions.
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