Dr. Joseph C. Hutchison

Dr. Joseph C. Hutchison

On this day in 1857, George Caleb Bingham wrote J. S. Rollins from Dusseldorf, Germany, that his son Horace, “was with his uncle, Dr. Hutchison, in Brooklyn, making preparations to embark. [1]

Joseph C Hutchison, MD
Sarony, Photo. Burt. Sc.
National Library of Medicine

Dr. Joseph Chrisman Hutchison (1827-1887) was a younger brother of Bingham’s first wife, Sarah Elizabeth Hutchison (1819-1848). George and Elizabeth had four children together but only two lived to be adults: Horace (1841-1870) and Clara (1845-1901).  Elizabeth died at the age of 29.  

At the time of his sister’s death, Joseph, eight years younger than she, had recently received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. For three years he practiced in Missouri, but in 1853, moved to Brooklyn, New York.

In New York, Joseph C. Hutchison served as president of the Long Island College Hospital, the Medical Society of the County of Kings, the New York State Medical Society, the New York Pathological Society, and as a Brooklyn Health Commissioner. He wrote articles and books on a range of topics from the use of acupressure in surgery to treatment of chronic inflammation of the hip, knee, and ankle joints, of treatments for small pox and cholera, and a series of books on health that were used in schools for decades. A more detailed biography is below.  [2]

For Dr. Hutchison, there are no verso stories. In the slave schedules of 1850 and 1860, his name does not appear. 

That his nephew Horace stayed with his uncle in Brooklyn speaks to a continued closeness of the Bingham and Hutchison families nearly a decade after the death of Elizabeth. 

Years ago, on a genealogical site, I caught a brief glimpse of an image of  portrait of Dr. Joseph C. Hutchison. The piece was obviously the work of George Caleb Bingham and a fine one it was. The image disappeared and follow-up to find that portrait led nowhere. Someday, I hope, that important artwork reappears. 

George Caleb Bingham

(c) Fine Art Investigations, 2019
  All Rights Reserved

[1] George Caleb Bingham, “Letter to James Sidney Rollins,” October 12, 1857, Dusseldorf, Germany, in  Lynn Wolf Gentzler, editor, Roger E. Robinson, compiler, “But I Forget That I am a Painter and Not a Politician”: The Letters of George Caleb Bingham (The State Historical Society of Missouri and Friends of Arrow Rock, Inc. 2011), 190.

[2] Medical Society of the County of Kings (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.), History of the Medical Society of the County of Kings (Record Press, 1899), 33; Works by Dr. Joseph C. Hutchison in the collection of the U. S. National Library of Medicine.


About Patricia Moss

Patricia Moss is an art historian, or art detective if you will, who solves mysteries of 19th century American portraits. She located nearly 70 of Bingham’s lost portraits, a feat acknowledged by the Smithsonian’s Research and Scholar’s Center. From expertise with portraits of George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879), she developed skills that evolved into a comprehensive system based on the scientific method that conforms to the legal and ethical standards of art authentication. Moss served as a guest curator for the Bingham Bicentennial Exhibit, “Steamboats to Steam Engines: George Caleb Bingham’s Missouri: 1819-1879,” (March 10-September 8, 2011) at the Truman Presidential Museum and curated the opening exhibition, “George Caleb Bingham: Witness to History,” (September 2013 –), Jackson County Art Museum, Independence, Missouri. She is also the principal researcher for Fine Art Investigations.
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