Dr. Isaac Rand
Born in Charlestown on April 27, 1743, Dr. Rand was one of our oldest founders and, like his father before him, was a medical doctor. In fact, after his 1761 graduation from Harvard, he studied medicine with his father (also Isaac Rand) in Charlestown, before removing to Boston to finish his studies with Dr. Lloyd in 1764.
He was doubtful that the Revolution could succeed and thus sided with the Royalists, although he took no active part to support their cause. He remained in Boston during the time of the siege, and a book of medical biography by James Thacher in 1828 records: “His duties at this time were both excessive and arduous, and he acquired among the inhabitants a high character for charity as a man, as well as for skill as a physician.”
Dr. Rand petitioned for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Medical Society, becoming its President in 1898, and his opposition to quackery and insistence on accuracy in medical terms and language did much to advance his profession. This was true especially in the area of obstetrics, to which he turned a large portion of his energies.
Unfortunately, the passion that drove such a specialty was steeped in the culture of the day. Dr. Rand’s mentor, Dr. Lloyd had championed the cause “to rescue from the hands of unqualified females, the important branch of obstetrics, and to raise it to an honorable rank in the profession.” What Dr. Lloyd left unfinished, Dr. Rand completed, leaving the mixed blessing of obstetrics becoming valued and more greatly studied but leaving gifted women with one less avenue of practice.
Known for his learning and breadth of reading the Greek and Latin classics, Dr. Rand turned to the study of theology in his later years. He was also known for his charity to the poor, both generally through gifts to benevolent societies and specifically in helping individual families of his acquaintance. Practicing his craft well into his later years, the New England Magazine in 1897 records: “The chaise in which he practiced in his latter days was a notable object. The width of it, though not equal to that of Solomon's temple, was several cubits.”
Dr. Rand died in Boston on December 11, 1822.