DISBROW, Dr. WILLIAM STEPHEN

Copyright 2000-2020 John N. J. Lupia, T.O.C.

Photograph of Dr. Disbrow in 1903 published in Henry Mitchell MacCracken, Ernest Gottlieb Sihler, Willis Fletcher Johnson, New York University : Its History, Influence, Equipment Characteristics.

William Stephen Disbrow, MD, Ph. G. (1861-1922), was born on March 18, 1861 in Newark, NJ, the son of Henry Griffin Disbrow (1832-) and Catherine Cline Clickener (1834-). 

He attended Newark public schools. After graduating high school he worked at a local butcher shop and later on at a grocery store.

He worked in an electrical appliance factory in Newark, and later at a celluloid factory.

In 1876 he enter the pharmacy business until 1886.

In 1878, he was a licensed pharmacist in New Jersey.

In 1880, he graduated New York University, College of Pharmacy.

From 1884-1885, he attended the New York College of Dentistry and transferred to New York University, College of Medicine.

From 1885-1886 he was Hospital Steward, New Jersey National Guard, 5th Regiment.

In 1887, he graduated New York University, College of Medicine.

From 1887-1888, he was the physician at Women and Children's Hospital, Newark, New Jersey.

In 1888, he was Assistant Physician, St. Barnabas Hospital, Newark, New Jersey.

On April 5, 1888, he married Clara E. Valentine (1861-). They had two children : George Ward Disbrow and Eric V. Disbrow. They lived at 151 Orchard Street, Newark, New Jersey.

From 1889-1900, he was staff physician at St. Barnabas Hospital, Newark, New Jersey.

From 1889-1892, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and appointed Assistant Surgeon, New Jersey National Guard, 5th Regiment.

In 1893, he was promoted to Captain and Assistant Surgeon, New Jersey National Guard, 5th Regiment.

In 1894, Member ANA. 

He sold his collection combined with O. P. Hayes and Wood of 1100 lots through the Chapman brothers on February 17,1896. 

He is listed as ANA dues paid in 1897, and joined the Royal Arch Masons that same year.

Members of South Park Presbyterian Church, Newark, New Jersey. 

He was curator of the mineralogical collection of the Newark Public Library. His personal collection of minerals surpassed 5,200 specimens.

He was a collector of Medical Medals rivaling that in Boston of Dr. Malcom Storer (1862-1935).

He was also a philatelist who collected U.S. and foreign stamps.

Dr. Disbrow's postal card to the Chapman Brothers apparently purchasing the complete set of large and small New Guinea Yacht postage stamp series depicting the German Kaiser's Yacht, SMY Hohenzollern II, postmarked Newark, New Jersey, November 19, 1900. Many other pieces of correspondence from Dr. Disbrow to the Chapmans are in the Lupia Collection. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

He sold his collection combined with Monroe J. Friedman of 1275 lots through the Chapman brothers on June 3-4, 1903. Adams rating B+. 

He was president of the Essex County Medical Society 1905-1906.  

In 1918 he donated 18th century land documents of Caleb Wheeler (1717-1793) of Newark to the New Jersey Historical Society. 

He died on December 26, 1922, in Summit, New Jersey. He bequeathed part of his mineralogical collection to the Newark Museum and another part to the Smithsonian.

Bibliography :

The Numismatist, Vol. 7, No. 6, June (1894) : 117, 123, 124

The Numismatist, Vol. X, No. 1, January (1897) : 20

The Numismatist, Vol. 14, No. 1, January (1901) : 20

Gnecchi, Ercole and Francesco, eds., Guida Numismatica 4th edition. (Milano : U. Hoepli, 1903. Edition) : 550, No. 5677

Henry Mitchell MacCracken, Ernest Gottlieb Sihler, Willis Fletcher Johnson, New York University : Its History, Influence, Equipment Characteristics (Boston : Herndon Publishers, 1903) : Vol. 2, pages 318-319

F. A. Canfield, The disposition of some American collections of minerals. (Privately printed, 1923) 

Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. 5, 317-318

            Martin Gengerke, American Numismatic Auctions, 8th edition (1990) : 32, 33;

John Weston Adams, United States Numismatic Literature, Vol. 1, 88, 89;


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