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This biography is from ANNALS of the Medical Society of the County of Albany, 1806-1851, by Sylvester D. Willard, M. D.

William Humphrey

William Humphrey was the son of John Humphrey, and was born in Albany, on the 2d day of February, 1796. His parents were both natives of New Hampshire, but at an early period came to this city. His father died of cholera at an advanced age in 1832. His mother died several years later full of years. Both parents survived to see all their children die of pulmonary disease, though neither of them were predisposed to it.

William was sent to Union College, where he was graduated in, 1813. Having made choice of the medical profession he commenced his preliminary studies with Dr. Eights, and afterwards attended the lectures at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and received the honors of that institution in 1819.

He returned to Albany and commenced business here, continuing it as his health would permit until his death. Dr. Humphrey did not possess a large degree of physical energy, his health was delicate for several years, and the disease which terminated his life was phthisis. It was the subject upon which his thesis was written in 1819.

Dr. Humphrey possessed a fine mind and reasoning faculties; his education was thorough, and he excelled as a linguist. His mind was of a reflective order. His manners were exceedingly mild and amiable. His conversation was marked by great simplicity and earnestness. He was uniformly cheerful, but had no exuberant elasticity of spirits. He had gravity in thought as well as in conversation, and was careful to avoid everything that appeared like pedantry in private or professional life; he never volunteered his opinion, and was unwilling to express it on any subject with which he was not familiar. His ambition was to do right, and to be useful to his fellow men, rather than to acquire fame in his profession. A native modesty and unassuming manners prevented that rapid rise in his profession which is so often incident to the aspiring who possess less talent and fewer virtues. Says one in noticing his death: "His virtues were numerous and beamed with an effulgence which attracted the attention and elicited the admiration of all who knew him; his benevolence warmed the hearts and cheered the homes of the comfortless. His name was synonymous with all that was noble and disinterested."

He made occasional contributions to medical journalsof the day; his style is said to have been chaste, simple, and forcible. It is impossible now to refer to any of the few articles from his pen. He died on the 12th of March, 1829, in the thirty-first year of his age.

He was elected Secretary of this Society in 1822, and continued to hold the office until the period of his death. Dr. Humphrey was a sincere Christian, and met death in the calm triumph of Christian faith.

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