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Zina Pitcher

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Zina Pitcher April 12, 1797 in Sandy Hill, New York – April 5, 1872 in Detroit was an American physician, politician, educator, and academic administrator He was a president of the American Medical Association, a two-time mayor of Detroit and a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Michigan1


  • 1 Biography
    • 11 Early life
    • 12 Career
  • 2 Commemoration
  • 3 Notes
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links


Early lifeedit

Dr Zina Pitcher was born in Sandy Hill, New York on April 12, 1797 He was the son of Nathaniel Pitcher Sr, who died in Sandy Hill, NY, 1802, and Margaret Stevenson, who died in Kingsbury, NY, in 1819 He was the younger half-brother of Nathaniel Pitcher, a future Governor of New York In his 1836 will, Nathaniel mentioned an Osage orange walking stick given to him by Zina Another of Zina's brothers was James Pitcher, who became the first mayor of the city of Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1835 Zina attended Middlebury College in Vermont and graduated in medicine in 1822


Pitcher joined the Army in 1822 as an assistant surgeon, and was promoted to the rank of major in 1836 as a full surgeon He was president of the Army Medical Board in 1835, and resigned from the Army at the end of 18362

Pitcher was also an excellent botanist not uncommon for medical professionals of his day He collected and studied plants in the Great Lakes region, and the exceedingly rare Pitcher's thistle Cirsium pitcheri was first collected by him from the Grand Sable Dunes during his service as an Army surgeon; subsequently it was named for him as well3 At times Pitcher teamed with botanist Thomas Nuttall4

He moved to Detroit, and was elected mayor for two separate terms, once from 1840–1841 and again in 1843 He was also a regent of the University of Michigan from 1837 until 1852 He served as president of the American Medical Association from 1856–1857, presiding over its annual meeting in Detroit2

He died in Detroit on April 5, 1872 and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery5

The standard author abbreviation Pitcher is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name6


  • The Zina Pitcher Collegiate Professorship of the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School
  • Zina Pitcher Place, a street leading into the University of Michigan Medical Center
  • The Great Lakes endemic plant, Pitcher's thistle, named for its discoverer


  1. ^  Kelly, Howard A; Burrage, Walter L, eds 1920 "Pitcher, Zina" American Medical Biographies Baltimore: The Norman, Remington Company 
  2. ^ a b Wilson & Fiske 1888, p 31
  3. ^ Bill Collins August 2004 "Dr Zina Pitcher — Bandages, Beaches, Botany, and Ballots" Huron Ecologic Retrieved January 27, 2012 
  4. ^ "Nuttall, Thomas & Pitcher, Z" Index of Botanists Harvard University Herbarium Retrieved January 27, 2012 
  5. ^ Franck 1996, p 42
  6. ^ IPNI  Pitcher 


  • Franck, Michael S 1996, Elmwood Endures: History of a Detroit Cemetery, Detroit: Wayne State University, ISBN 0-8143-2591-2 
  • Wilson, James G; Fiske, John 1888, Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography, p 31 

External linksedit

  • Biography portal
  • Zina Pitcher at Find a Grave
  • Elmwood Cemetery Biography
Political offices
Preceded by
De Garmo Jones
Mayor of Detroit
Succeeded by
Douglass Houghton
Preceded by
Douglass Houghton
Mayor of Detroit
Succeeded by
John R Williams
Business positions
Preceded by
George B Wood
President of the American Medical Association
Succeeded by
Paul F Eve

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Zina Pitcher

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