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This biography is from Landmarks of Albany County, New York, edited by Amasa J. Parker of Albany, N. Y., Syracuse, N. Y.; D. Mason & Co. Publishers, 1897.

Howard Van Rensselaer, M. D.

Howard Van Rensselaer, M. D., son of Bayard Van Rensselaer, was born in Albany on the 26th of June, 1838, and descends from one of the oldest and most respected families in Eastern New York. Killian Van Rensselaer, the original ancestor, a merchant in Amsterdam, Holland, and a member of the Dutch West India Company, availed himself, about the year 1630, of the privileges offered by the Assembly of XIX and the commissioners of the States-General, passed in 1629, by which all members of the company who planted a colony of fifty souls over fifteen years of age were to be acknowledged patroons of the New Netherlands. He further perfected his title to the lands thus granted by purchasing them from the Indians. These purchases embraced a territory extending along the Hudson River, for twenty-four miles back on each side, from Baeren Island to Cohoes Falls, Fort Orange only being reserved by the West India Company. Killian Van Rensselaer died in 1648, and his son Johannes succeeded him. The latter is believed to have come here, and in 1642 to have built the mansion at Greenbush, which is still standing. His son Killian and the son of his brother Jeremiah, also named Killian, settled here, and to these two Killians were given the English patents in trust for their grandfather Killian. Killian the son of Johannes died without issue and the grant was confirmed to Killian the son of Jeremiah, who was succeeded by his son Stephen, whose eldest son Stephen became the seventh patroon, or lord of the manor, and died in 1769, just after the completion of the present manor house in North Broadway. Stephen Van Rensselaer, son of the last named Stephen, was born in New York city in 1764, his mother being Catharine, daughter of Philip Livingston, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. General Ten Broeck, his uncle, had the management of the estate until he attained the age of twenty-one. Mr. Van Rensselaer attended school in Albany, the Kingston Academy, and Princeton College in 1782, and in 1783 married Margaret, daughter of Gen. Philip J. Schuyler, who died in 1801, leaving a son Stephen. His second wife was a daughter of Judge Patterson, of New Jersey, of the U. S. Supreme Court. He was member of assembly in 1789, 1808, 1810, and 1816, State senator from 1791 to 1795, lieutenant-governor from 1795 to 1801, colonel of State cavalry in the war of 1812, member of Congress from 1822 to 1829, chancellor of the university in 1835, and for twenty-two years a canal commissioner and for fifteen years president of the board. He died in the manor house January 26, 1839. His son Stephen married Harriet Bayard, of New York, and died in 1868. Their son Bayard, who died in 1859, married Laura, daughter of Marcus Tullius Reynolds, who survives him. Both were natives of Albany, and the parents of the subject of this sketch.

Dr. Van Rensselaer, at an early age, was placed in the State Normal School at Albany and later in the Albany Academy. In these two institutions he developed a deep love for the pursuit of knowledge and won a warm place in the affections of his teachers and companions. After leaving the academy he spent three years in a private boarding school in Catskill and six years in St. Paul's School at Concord, N. H., where he gave special attention to scientific study, and where he took a yearly testimonial for high standing, two literary prizes, and the school medal, the highest honor given by that institution. There he also took an active part in athletics, being president of the Athletic Association and stroke in the successful school crew. He was graduated with the degree of Ph. B. from Yale Scientific School in 1881, and also spent some time in the Yale Art School, taking a literary prize. At both Yale and St. Paul's he made records in walking contests.

Having completed his literary studies he immediately entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York City and received the degree of M. D. in 1884. He became an assistant in the Chambers Street Hospital and a student in a post-graduate medical school, and on competitive examination secured a post as interne in the in the New York Hospital, where he remained eighteen months. The years 1887 and 1888 he spent in Europe, where he studied in the hospitals of Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Munich, London, Edinburgh, and other cities, and also visited the noted art galleries of the Old World. Returning to America in February, 1889, he began the active practice of his profession in Albany and was at once appointed visiting physician at St. Peter's Hospital and attending physician at the dispensary of the Child's Hospital. In the following autumn he became instructor in nervous diseases and diseases of the chest at the Albany Medical College, and in December was made attending physician to the Hospital for Incurables. In January, 1890, he was elected visiting physician to the Home of the Friendless and in June was called as lecturer on materia medica at the Medical College. In 1891 he was appointed lecturer on diseases of the heart and lungs in the Albany Medical College. In 1893 he was chosen editor of the Albany Medical Annals. In 1893 he was elected attending physician in the City Hospital, and was also made president of the Country Club. In 1894 he was appointed associate professor of materia medica in the Medical College. In 1895 he was elected as State medical examiner for the Civil Service Commission. In 1896 he was promoted to the associate professorship on thereapeutics, and was also made associate professor on general medicine in the Albany Medical College.

Dr. Van Rensselaer, besides visiting and studying abroad, has traveled extensively on the American continent, and possesses an interesting fund of reminiscence and learning. He is a member of the Fort Orange Club, the Albany County Club, the Calumet Club of New York, and the Berzelius Society of Yale Scientific School.

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