Peter Parker Papers
Peter Parker, medical missionary and diplomat to China, was born in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1804. He attended Amherst College and transferred to Yale College in 1830. After graduation in 1831, Parker studied both theology and medicine and was awarded an M.D. from Yale in 1834. In 1834, he was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry in Philadelphia, and under the auspices of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), departed a month later for Canton as the first Protestant medical missionary to China. He opened the Ophthalmic Hospital at Canton in 1835, where he specialized in treating diseases of the eyes, especially cataracts, but also performed general surgery including the removal of large tumors, and lithotomies. In 1847, he became the first physician to use anesthesia to China.