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Arch Hellen Med, 38(6), November-December 2021, 806-816


Samuel Gridley Howe, MD (1801–1876)
Physician, activist, hero of the Greek War of Independence

C.S. Bartsocas
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

The struggle for independence of the Greeks from almost four centuries of Ottoman rule and oppression prevailed among the elite of Europe and North America in the early 19th century. Among the young volunteers coming to fight with the Greeks, offering their fortunes and even their lives for the liberation of Greece were Lord Byron, the son of Lucien Bonaparte and many other prominent Europeans and North Americans. One of them was Dr Samuel Gridley Howe of Boston, a Harvard Medical School graduate of 1824. Howe remained in Greece from early 1825 until 1828. He was appointed as a medical/surgeon of the Greek Army and a Chief Medical Officer of the modern man-of-war "Karteria". He performed his medical duties with enthusiasm and little or no payment, in addition to fighting against the enemy. During this period, he was also responsible for the distribution of materials and supplies, food etc., sent by philhellenic committees of Boston and New York. Among his war and philanthropic activities, Howe was able to offer his own personal account of the Greek War of Independence in a book he authored in 1828. Upon his return to the United States of America (USA) he embarked on additional activities, developing a school for blind children (the Perkins School) and another for the mentally retarded (Walter Fernald School). Howe was an abolitionist, writing against slavery as early as 1833. He was a prolific activist and writer. He was married to Julia Ward, the significant American poet and author, best known for "The Battle Hymn of the Republic". She also was an abolitionist, a social activist and a suffragist.

Key words: Anagnos Michael, Greek War of Independence, Howe, Samuel G, Philhellenes.

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