Hinckley's paiting at the Ether Dome
Dr. John Collins Warren (1778-1856) was the son of noted doctor, professor and founder of the Harvard Medical School Dr. John Warren and Abigail Collins Warren. He was graduated from Boston Latin School and Harvard College in 1797, then began the study of medicine with his father. In 1799, he continued his medical studies in London and Paris, including work with the pioneer anatomist Sir Astley Cooper (1768-1841). On his return to America in 1802, Warren entered into partnership with his father and also assisted him with anatomical lectures, dissections, and demonstrations at Harvard Medical School. He was named Adjunct Professor of Anatomy and Surgery in 1809, then, at his father's death in 1815, assumed the Hersey Professorship of Anatomy and Surgery, which post he held until retirement in 1847.
Considered to be one of the most renowned surgeons in the nineteenth century, Dr. Warren in 1846 performed the first public operation in which ether was used to anesthetize the patient. A tumor was removed from the jaw of Gilbert Abbott, a printer, which was not only a success but proved that ether, discovered by Dr. William Morton, allowed for painless surgery. Dr. Warren was one of the founders of the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he served as the first surgeon. In 1847 he endowed the Warren Anatomical Museum at Harvard with an extraordinary teaching collection of anatomical and pathological specimens.
Dr. Warren once said that "Anaesthesia had been the dream of many surgeons and scientists, but it had been classed with aerial navigation and other improbable inventions."
Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes said that “Dr. Warren was supreme among his fellows, and deservedly so. He performed a great number of difficult operations; always deliberate, always cool; with a grim smile in sudden emergencies, where weaker men would have looked perplexed, and wiped their foreheads. He had the stuff in him, which carried his uncle, Joseph Warren, to Bunker Hill, and left him there, slain among the last in retreat.”
The Warren Family Lot surmounts Mount Warren and is marked by a huge boulder of Roxbury puddingstone against which are arranged the slate headstones of various members of the Warren Family who were reinterred here from the Eustis Street Burying Ground in Roxbury. Also buried here was Dr. Joseph Warren, the author of the "Suffolk Resolves" who lost his life in the Battle of Bunker Hill during the American Revolution. The Warren Family continued to use this large lot well into the twentieth century, with Colonial Revival slate headstones echoing those of the late eighteenth century.