Medical Pioneer. An 1838 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he would become a professor of surgery at the school from 1863 to 1892. During the Civil War he was commissioned as a Surgeon on the Union Army in October 1862, and served as one the staff of the Mower United States Army Hospital in west Philadelphia. There, he became one of the leading experts in the nation on the treatment of gunshot wounds. When President James A. Garfield was shot in 1881 by an assassin, Doctor Agnew was called on to attend to the fallen President due to his pioneering gunshot medical work. In 1889 he and his medical clinic were made the subject of a painting by Thomas Eakins.
Margaret Creighton Irwin Agnew