Obituary Br Med J. 1928 April 28; 1(3512): 734–735.
CHARLES GREENE CUMSTON, M.D.,
Past President, International Congress of the History of Medicine. By the death of Dr. C. G. Cumston at Chamby-sur-Montreux, on April 14th, England loses a good friend and the medical profession throughout the world one who did much to promote international good feeling. Born at Boston in 1868, he was educated at Vevey in the Institut Sillig. He graduated M.D. at the University of Geneva in 1893 on the presentation of a thesis on a subject investigated in the laboratory of Professor d'Espine, and acted for a short time as assistant to Dr. Kuimmer, who was then surgeon to the Butini Hospital. He married a Genevese lady, with whom he led a very happy life, for she was in full sympathy with all her husband's plans and aspirations. He then returned to Boston and specialized in surgery and gynaecology, becoming attached to several hospitals in the neighbourhood of the city. There he practised for more than twenty years, and his work was recognized by his fellow countrymen, by whom he was elected a vice-president of the American Association of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
He returned to Geneva just before the war, was elected a member of the Medical Society there, and became a privatdocent in the Faculty of Medicine. He relinquished the practice of his profession and occupied himself at first in making abstracts from French and Swiss journals for the press of the United States. Larger interests soon prevailed, and he became lecturer on the history of medicine and medical philosophy in the University of Geneva. In this position he quickly. justified his appointment. He filled with dignity and success the office of president at the fifth meeting of the International Congress of the History of Medicine in 1925, and in the following year he published An Introduction to the History of Medicine, which was well illustrated with portraits from his own collection, showing the great interest lie had alwavs taken in medical iconograph.y.
Of late years, writes Sir D'Arcy Power, it was Dr. Cumston's practice to spend some weeks of the early summer in London accompanied by Madame Cumston, and he was thus able to keep himself in touch with his numerous friends and to spend much time at the Royal Society of Medicine, where his sympathies had been early enlisted by Sir John Macalister. He was perhaps seen at his best at his pleasant flat in the Rue Bellot at Geneva, where he welcomed numerous visitors of every nationality with that friendly hospitality which showed that he had not forgotten the Boston tradition, for at his table there was good talk as well as good meat and drink. Nor were the wives of his friends forgotten; Madame Cumston was as hospitably inclined as her husband. He leaves no children.,
Dr. F. G. CROOKSHANK sends the following tribute:
It is with great regret and a real sense of loss that many medical men in London will learn of the recent death of Dr. Charles Greene Cumston, who, though not the holder of any British qualification, was nevertheless a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, and a staunch admirer of the Royal College of Physicians. At Geneva he accumulated a most excellent library concerning the history of medicine, and a really fine and beautiful collection of portraits--for the most part engravings and etchings-of the historic heroes of medicine. He took a lively interest in the medical life of Geneva, participating in its social side and developing the activities of the Medical Society, founding, in pious memory of two of his revered masters, the Julliard-Revilliod lectures, given annually by some foreign member of the medical profession. Here too, in 1925, he had the great pleasure of presiding, in his own genial and kindly way, at the fifth Congress of the International Society of the History of Medicine.