Horatio Robinson Storer
Horatio Robinson Storer (1830-1922) was a pioneer gynecologist, anti-abortion crusader, naturalist, and numismatist. The son of David Humphreys Storer, naturalist and medical doctor, Horatio Storer was born in Boston February 27, 1830. Storer attended the Chauncy-Hall School (1837-1840) in Boston, the (Boston) Public Latin School (1840-1846) and Harvard College (1846-1850). After his graduation from Harvard, Storer studied medicine at the Tremont Street Medical School in Boston and Harvard Medical School (M.D. 1853). He married Emily Elvira Gilmore (1833-1872) in 1853 and they traveled to Europe for his postgraduate training. While in Scotland, he studied with Sir James Y. Simpson, an early advocate of the use of chloroform in childbirth and surgery. Storer later edited Simpson's memoirs with William B. Priestley.
Horatio and Emily had three children that survived infancy. Frank Addison Storer (b. 1856) was a skilled botanist, and settled in Deland, Florida with his grandmother, Emily Spaulding (Patten) "Grandmother Gilmore" (1818-1899). John Humphreys Storer (b. 1859) graduated from Harvard College in 1882 and Harvard Law School in 1885. He married Edith Paine, daughter of Robert Treat Paine, in the same year and was a well-known real estate developer and philanthropist. Malcolm Storer (b. 1862) graduated from Harvard College in 1885 and Harvard Medical School in 1889. Malcolm married Grace Ayrault in 1899 and followed his father's specialization, becoming chief of gynecology at the Boston Dispensary. He also shared his father's interest in numismatics and was appointed Curator of Coins at Harvard and the Massachusetts Historical Society, along with several other prominent museums. Emily Elvira suffered from an unspecified mental illness later in life and spent her last years in an institution near Worcester, dying in 1872.
In 1857 Storer started a medical practice in Boston and, in 1862, undertook a specialization in gynecology. He was an early and well-known anti-abortion advocate. He published widely in medical journals and wrote several popular pamphlets against abortion, including Why Not? A Book for Every Woman (1866) and Is it I? A Book for Every Man (1867). From 1865-1867 he was professor of obstetrics and medical jurisprudence at Berkshire Medical Institution and received his LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1868. He was a proponent of chloroform anesthesia and the first to perform a caesarean-hysterectomy.
Storer suffered ill health throughout his life and sought to combat its effects through travel. In 1847 he traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia with his brother, Frank. Influenced by his father, he developed an interest in ichthyology, the study of fish. In 1849 he sailed to Labrador with Frank and Dr. Jeffries Wyman to study fish species. Storer was elected to the Boston Society of Natural History in 1851 and his monograph Observations on the fishes of Nova Scotia and Labrador with descriptions of new species was published by the Society in the same year 1851. Shortly after the death of his wife Emily in 1872, Storer became chronically ill from a surgery-related infection and retired from active medical practice. He removed his family to Europe and married his sister-in-law, Caroline "Aunt Carrie" Augusta Gilmore in ca. 1872. Caroline died in 1874 shortly after the birth of their only child, Agnes Caroline Storer (1874-1943.) Agnes lived with her father, participating in and carrying on his broad civic and philanthropic interests. She died a noted Newport philanthropist in her own right in 1943.
Storer traveled throughout Europe and the British Isles seeking to restore his health until 1876 when he settled into semi-retirement in Newport, Rhode. Horatio Storer married his third wife, Frances Sophia MacKenzie (d. 1910) the same year. Frances was founder and sister-superior of the Franciscan Hospital for Women in Somerville until 1872 when she left her position to care for Horatio Storer during his grave illness. She traveled to Europe with him and his extended family in 1872. After their marriage he converted to Roman Catholicism and became very involved in Catholic organizations. During his retirement, Horatio developed an interest in medical medals, amassing a collection of over 2,000 medals now curated by the Harvard Medical School. Storer was an active civic leader in Newport from 1876 until his death in 1922. He served on the boards of the Newport Medical Society, Newport Natural History Society, and the Newport Historical Society. He also received several appointments to city boards and commissions.
Other Storer Family Members
David Humphreys Storer (1804-1891), Horatio's father, was a prominent physician and zoologist. He graduated from Bowdoin College (1822) and Harvard Medical School (1825). He specialized in obstetrics and was a professor at both the Tremont Street Medical School and Harvard Medical School, where he also served as dean. He actively pursued his interest in natural history, publishing several reports on fish in Massachusetts. David H. Storer married Abby Jane Brewer (1810-1885) in 1829, daughter of Thomas Brewer (1871-1860) and Abigail (Stone) Brewer (1777-1860). David H. Storer's brother, Robert Boyd Storer (1796-1870) participated in the Russian trade and was Russian Consul at Boston. R.B. Storer married Sarah Sherman Hoar (1818-1899) [sister of George Frisbie Hoar]. D. H. Storer's sister, Margaret Susanna Storer (1802-1878) is also represented in this collection.
Horatio R. Storer had four siblings: Francis "Frank" Humphreys Storer (1832-1914), who specialized in agricultural chemistry and was dean of the Bussey Institution at Harvard; Abby Matilda Storer (1835-1922); Mary Goddard Storer (1837-1923); and Robert Woodbury Storer (1840-1926.)
The Horatio Robinson Storer papers consist of three document boxes and encompass the years 1829-1943. The collection is divided into two series. The first series contains papers by or about Horatio Robinson Storer. The majority of this series consists of Horatio R. Storer's correspondence with his family during his childhood and college years (1836-1850). Of particular interest are journals kept by Storer during trips to Russia (1847) and to Labrador (1849), and letters written to his parents during the latter trip. The balance of this series is scattered business and civic correspondence, writings and news clippings. There are very few documents related to Storer's prominent medical career or his later numismatic interests.
The second series contains the papers of his extended family over four generations, including a few papers of his father, Dr. David Humphries Storer. The majority of the papers is family correspondence during Storer's children's formative years (1867-1893). The papers after 1893 are almost wholly related to his daughter Agnes Caroline Storer.
The Massachusetts Historical Society owns the David Humphreys Storer commonplace-book, 1823-, as well as some published writings of Horatio Robinson Storer and his son, Malcolm Storer.
Other collections of Horatio Robinson Storer papers are located at Harvard's Rare Books and Special Collections Department, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, the National Library of Medicine, and the Special Collections of the University of California, San Francisco. The Boston College Library owns papers of Agnes Caroline Storer.
The Horatio Robinson Storer papers were the gift of Ethel T. Storer and Robert Treat Paine Storer, Jr. in November 2000.
The collection is organized into 2 series.
Horatio Robinson Storer papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.
For a list of printed materials removed from this collection, see Curator of Manuscripts.
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