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Statue of Samuel Smith

Statue of Samuel SmithA symbol of professional excellence and dedication to medical teaching

During their travels abroad, Dr. Smith and his wife were impressed with drinking fountain statues found in Germany and other parts of Europe. They decided that a similar statue would be an appropriate monument to Dr. Smith's memory (42). In 1880 a bronze statue was erected by Dr. Smith's widow and daughters and placed on the southeast corner of Broad and High streets in the center of downtown Columbus. The statue rested on City of Columbus property and extended into East Broad Street. It is said to be the third statue built to the memory of an individual of this state (35, p. 153).

Dr. Smith's statue has a drinking fountain base and bears the inscription: "Memorial Fountain, to Dr. Samuel Mitchel Smith and His Sons, 1880." Images of his deceased sons, Charles and Samuel, are designed as medallions and decorate the sides of the base. Above the marble base is a full-size figure of Dr. Smith with his hands folded behind his back, wearing a Prince Albert coat. The statue was forged at the Kelby Foundry of New York state. The sculptor was Columbus-born William Walcutt (1819-1895), whose most notable work is the marble monument to Admiral Oliver H. Perry, standing now in Perrysburg, Ohio (9).

Eventually the fountain ceased to flow, vandals defaced the statue, and its extension into traffic on East Broad Street created a major traffic problem (13). In 1915 the statue was moved to the former grounds of Starling Medical College at East State and Sixth streets, then known as St. Francis Hospital (24). The statue remained at that location until 1957 when the hospital was razed to make room for an expansion of Grant Hospital (10). it was moved to the property of the Columbus Health Department at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Rich Street, where it stands today. Dr. Smith appears to look leisurely over the Scioto River toward the city where he was once one of its most prominent and respected citizens.

Dr. Smith is not known to have published any professional articles. What is known of Dr. Smith's work and his teaching is what is contained in his address to the Ohio State Medical Society and in the writings of others. Writing after his death, Dean Starling Loving described Dr. Smith as one who "was very familiar with the Bible, and was seldom at loss for a quotation therefrom. He knew Shakespeare equally well, and liked Scott and Longfellow and had great fondness for Isaac Walton. His lectures were concise and very clear. His clinical lectures with students were especially good, and no one was surprised at his popularity with students who never 'cut' his hour" (28).

In a published obituary, his friend and colleague, Thad A. Reamy, M.D., wrote:

"Dr. Smith presents, in an eminent degree, the highest qualifications for a physician, being endowed with a vigorous physical and mental organization; possessed of untiring industry and energy ... devoting himself to his duties with a sacrificing spirit which never consulted his own ease, or comfort, but always the welfare of his patient" (36).

Dr. Smith's statue is a reminder that the same ideals and attributes are necessary for graduates of today's medical programs. it is a symbol of professional excellence and dedication to medical teaching that can be remembered by succeeding generations of OSU faculty and students.

* Taken from Pinta, E.R. (1994). A History of Psychiatry at The Ohio State University, 1847-1993, pp. 3-12