The Story of Dr. Jabez Henry Elliott and his Medical Career

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. Jabez Henry Elliott
Commemorative Plaque
Dr. Jabez Henry Elliott
Colour Caricature

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.

Commemorative Conference Memorabilia, collected by Dr. Henry Jabez Elliott – Museum of Health Care 1976.33.2 a-r
Commemorative Conference Memorabilia, collected by Dr. Henry Jabez Elliott – Museum of Health Care 1976.33.3 a-r

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.⁠

To learn about these artifacts and more, visit our online collection catalogue by clicking the button below.

Shaelyn Ryan <br>(Collections Technician/Assistant 2022)
Shaelyn Ryan
(Collections Technician/Assistant 2022)

Shaelyn Ryan is a recent graduate of Queen’s University, having completed her Bachelor’s degree in History in 2021, and is returning to Queen’s in the fall to pursue a Master’s degree in History. Either as a Summer Student or Work-Study Student through Queen’s University, Shaelyn has helped catalogue and research many of the museum’s collection of artefacts as a Collections Technician (since 2018). 

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