M968.436.3x | John McCrae at Mt. Airy, 1897

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John McCrae at Mt. Airy, 1897
About 1897, 19th century or 20th century
8.6 x 9.6 cm
This artefact belongs to : © Guelph Museums
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Keys to History

During the summers of his second and third year of medical studies (1896 and 1897), John McCrae interned at the Robert Garrett Hospital in Mount Airy, Maryland, a convalescent home for sick children near Baltimore, U.S.A.

While there, he recorded his impressions in an article entitled "The Comedy of a Hospital", which was published in a Presbyterian weekly, The Westminster. McCrae published more poems during his days as a medical student than in his later years. He also published a few short stories in the University of Toronto student newspaper Varsity, and others in such national magazines as Saturday Night and Godey's.

McCrae would return to the University of Toronto, graduating with an honours degree in Medicine and, as the overall top student winning a gold medal and a scholarship in Physiology and Pathology. His first year as a doctor was as Resident House Officer at Toronto General Hospital, the position previously held by his brother Tom.

  • What

    During their medical studies at University of Toronto, John McCrae and other students were sent to the Robert Garrett Hospital in Maryland to supplement their practical experience. During his free time from this hospital John could be found walking, cycling, sketching in his sketchbook entitled A Maryland Summer, writing, taking pictures or reading.

  • Where

    An avid reader, John often wrote to his mother and sister to discuss his current reading material. Lorna Doone, a classic romantic novel, was one of the summer choices he enjoyed while relaxing on the hospital veranda.

  • When

    This photograph was taken about 1897 when John McCrae was 25 years old. He spent two summers gaining medical experience at the Robert Garrett Hospital, then in September he, along with the other students, returned to the University of Toronto to continue medical studies.

  • Who

    In July 1899, after graduating from the University of Toronto, McCrae set off for Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland; "... his visit would draw him into the orbit of one of the great figures in the history of modern medicine - Dr. William Osler". (Graves, p. 43)