Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dr. Thomas Holmes, "Father of Modern Embalming"


Dr. Thomas Holmes (1817-1900)
Dr. Holmes, was born in New York in 1817. He attended public schools and New York University Medical College, though there are no records of him graduating. However, in the 1850's he did practice medicine and was a coroner's physician in New York. In the 1850's Dr. Holmes perfected what we know today as modern embalming techniques. He is generally acknowledged as the "Father of Modern Embalming". When the Civil War broke out he opened an embalming office in Washington, DC. Colonel Ellsworth became his first prominent client. Dr. Holmes was responsible for preparing about 4000 bodies to be sent home. During his lifetime he was also awarded many patents for inventions related to embalming. Following the War he returned to his home in Brooklyn, New York, but did very little embalming after that. Oddly enough, before his death in 1900 he requested that he not be embalmed.


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