Bigelow, Jacob(1786–1879) physician, botanist; born in Massachusetts. He took a medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania, then practiced in Boston where he became a professor of materia medica at Harvard Medical School (1815–55). Interested in the medical uses of plants, he was the first American botanist to systematize knowledge of New England flora in his Florula Bostoniensis (1814). He helped prepare the first American Pharmacopoeia (1820) and his Discourse on Self-Limited Diseases (1835) was one of the most influential medical books of his era. A progressive influence, he opposed bloodletting and indiscriminate drug dosing. In 1831 he founded Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge as a public health measure. He was also interested in what he was among the first to popularize as "technology"; he invented a process for reproducing colored plates for his book, American Medical Botany (1817–20), and was appointed Rumford Professor of the application of science to useful arts at Harvard College (1816–27).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.