Thomas Pole

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Thomas Pole by Nathan Cooper Branwhite Thomas Pole by Branwhite.jpg
Thomas Pole by Nathan Cooper Branwhite

Thomas Pole (13 October 1753 – 28 September 1829) was an American-born English physician and writer.



He was born in Philadelphia, the youngest son of John Pole (1705–1755), a native of Wiveliscombe, Somerset, who emigrated to New Jersey. His mother's maiden name was Rachel Smith, of Burlington. Thomas was brought up as a member of the Society of Friends. In 1775 he visited relatives in England, and, with the object of attending Friends' meetings, he travelled widely through England and Wales, mainly on horseback, for two or three years.

Philadelphia Largest city in Pennsylvania, United States

Philadelphia, sometimes known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2017 census-estimated population of 1,580,863. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

Wiveliscombe town and civil parish in Somerset, England

Wiveliscombe is a small town and civil parish in Somerset, England, situated 9 miles (14 km) west of Taunton in the Taunton Deane district. The town has a population of 2,893. The Square, fronted by several listed structures, held the former market. The parish includes the nearby hamlet of Maundown.

Somerset County of England

Somerset is a county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east and Devon to the south-west. It is bounded to the north and west by the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel, its coastline facing southeastern Wales. Its traditional border with Gloucestershire is the River Avon. Somerset's county town is Taunton.

In 1777 he studied medicine with Dr. Joseph Rickman at Maidenhead, went on to Reading as student, and in 1780 moved to Falmouth, becoming assistant to Dr. J. Fox. He settled in London in 1781, was admitted a member of the College of Surgeons there, and later received the degree of M.D. from St Andrews University in 1801. In 1789 he was made a member of the American Philosophical Society, of which Benjamin Franklin was then president.

Maidenhead town and unparished area in Berkshire, England

Maidenhead is a large market town in Berkshire, England, on the south-western bank of the River Thames. With a population of about 73,000, Maidenhead is the largest town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. The town is situated 25.7 miles (41.4 km) west of Charing Cross, London, 11.7 miles (18.8 km) northeast of the county town of Reading, 28.3 miles (45.5 km) southeast of Oxford, 8.0 miles (12.9 km) east-south-east of Henley on Thames and 5.8 miles (9.3 km) northwest of Windsor.

Reading, Berkshire Place in England

Reading is a large minster town in Berkshire, England, of which it is now the county town. It is in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, and on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway. Reading is 70 miles (110 km) east of Bristol, 24 miles (39 km) south of Oxford, 40 miles (64 km) west of London, 14 miles (23 km) north of Basingstoke, 12 miles (19 km) south-west of Maidenhead and 15 miles (24 km) east of Newbury as the crow flies.

Falmouth, Cornwall town, civil parish and port on the River Fal in Cornwall, England

Falmouth is a town, civil parish and port on the River Fal on the south coast of Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It has a total resident population of 21,797.

His practice was mainly in obstetrics, gynaecology and paediatrics. Manuscript copies of midwifery lectures he gave in London in 1801 survive as part of the Manchester Medical Manuscripts Collection held by special collections at the University of Manchester with the reference MMM/16/2/2. Pole moved to Bristol in 1802, and acquired an extensive practice. There he continued his medical lectures, among his pupils being James Cowles Prichard, and he also lectured on chemistry and other sciences.

Obstetrics is the field of study concentrated on pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. As a medical specialty, obstetrics is combined with gynecology under the discipline known as obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) which is a surgical field.

Gynaecology science of the treatment of diseases of the female sexual organs and reproductive tract

Gynaecology or gynecology is the medical practice dealing with the health of the female reproductive systems and the breasts. Outside medicine, the term means "the science of women". Its counterpart is andrology, which deals with medical issues specific to the male reproductive system.

James Cowles Prichard English physician and anthropologist

James Cowles Prichard, MD FRS was a British physician and ethnologist with broad interests in physical anthropology and psychiatry. His influential Researches into the Physical History of Mankind touched upon the subject of evolution. From 1845, Prichard served as a Medical Commissioner in Lunacy. He also introduced the term "senile dementia".

Pole spent time on ministerial work in the Society of Friends, and took part in philanthropic schemes. Bernard Barton, the Quaker poet, paid tribute in 1826 to Pole's wide sympathies and tolerant views.

Bernard Barton British writer

Bernard Barton, born in Carlisle, Cumberland, England, was known as the Quaker poet. His main works included The Convict's Appeal (1818), in which he protested against the death penalty and the severity of the criminal code.

He died at Bristol on 28 September 1829. In 1784 he married Elizabeth Barrett of Cheltenham; four children survived him.

Cheltenham Place in England

Cheltenham is a regency spa town and borough on the edge of the Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Gloucestershire, England. Cheltenham has been a health and holiday spa town resort since the discovery of mineral springs in 1716 and has a number of internationally renowned and historic schools.


In 1790 he published Anatomical Instructor (1790), an illustration of the modern and most approved methods of preparing and preserving the different parts of the human body for purposes of study, with copperplates drawn by himself. A new edition appeared in 1813. He lectured on midwifery, and recorded cases in sketches, which were engraved. Pole published also Anatomical Description of a Double Uterus and Vagina, London, 1792.

Midwifery health science and profession that deals with pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period (including care of the newborn)

Midwifery is the health science and health profession that deals with pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period, in addition to the sexual and reproductive health of women throughout their lives. In many countries, midwifery is a medical profession. A professional in midwifery is known as a midwife.

He helped William Smith in 1812 to establish some of the first adult schools for poor mature students in England, and wrote in their support in 1813; Smith was sexton at the Methodist King Street Chapel in Bristol. [1] In 1814 he issued an account of their origin and progress as A History of the Origin and Progress of Adult Schools, [2] for which James Montgomery wrote a poem. The book helped launch a national adult school movement, though the concept itself had been in existence since a school of William Singleton and Samuel Fox in Nottingham of 1798. [3]

Despite a strictness then prevalent in the Society of Friends, he made many water-colour drawings of landscape and architecture, in monotints and silhouettes.

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  1. Martin Gorsky (1999). Patterns of Philanthropy: Charity and Society in Nineteenth-century Bristol. Boydell & Brewer Ltd. pp. 142–. ISBN   978-0-86193-245-0.
  2. Thomas Pole (1814). A history of the origin and progress of adult schools.
  3. Robert Peers (1958). Adult Education: A Comparative Study. Routledge. pp. 10–. ISBN   978-0-415-17749-8.

Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : "Pole, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.