Sites and artifacts related to Horace Wells in Hartford, Connecticut

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Anesthesiology

Publication Date


Document Type



Anesthesia, Inhalation; Anesthesiology; Anesthetics, Inhalation; Connecticut; History, 19th Century; Humans; Nitrous Oxide; Paintings; Public Facilities; Residence Characteristics; Sculpture


Anesthesiology | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Medical Humanities


Horace Wells, a contender for recognition as the discoverer of anesthesia, is celebrated in the town where he conducted most of his work, Hartford, CT. His only descendant was his son, Charles Thomas Wells (1839-1909), an influential and successful business executive at Aetna Insurance Company. He was a man of considerable influence, and he worked tirelessly with city officials and the Connecticut Dental Association in celebrating the 50th anniversary of his father's contribution to medicine. This discovery is unique because events and individuals in 1 country, the United States, contributed entirely to the birth of a medical specialty. Sites in Jefferson, GA; Hartford, CT; and Boston, MA and their environs celebrate this most precious contribution to modern medicine, especially since the introduction of safe anesthesia permitted the development of surgical specialties and obstetrics. We trace the history and relationship between Horace Wells and several sites and artifacts in Hartford, CT. These sites span the most important, distinctive, and attractive parts of the city: Bushnell Park, Trinity College, Cedar Hill Cemetery, the Athenaeum, and the Connecticut Historical Society.

DOI of Published Version



Anesth Analg. 2013 Aug;117(2):500-6. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e318292f30a. Epub 2013 Apr 25. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Anesthesia and analgesia

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID