FERNAND HENROTIN, M. D.

Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County, Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended (Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 45-46

FERNAND HENROTIN, M. D., one of the most eminent physicians of Chicago, and one who in the line of his profession may be said to have achieved a national reputation, was born in Brussels, the gay little capital of Belgium, a city which in its arts, its sciences, its civic pride and social life has been likened to Paris on a small scale.  His parents were Joseph F. and Adele (Kinsoen) Henrotin, both of whom were also natives of Belgium.   The father (for sketch of whom see other pages in this volume) achieved distinction in his native land and in Chicago in the same profession in which his son, the subject of this sketch, is bearing such honorable renown.   Not content with the limited possibilities of the Old Country, he emigrated to the United States, the year of his son Fernand’s birth (1848) witnessing the arrival of himself and family in this country.

Fernand Henrotin, who is to all intents and purposes a native Chicagoan, was reared in this city, receiving his earlier education in its public and high schools.  Having a decided taste for the study of medicine, inherited probably, as his paternal grandfather had also been a physician, on the completion of his high-school course he entered Rush Medical College, then as now one of the foremost institutions of its kind in the Northwest.   Here he pursued a thorough course of study, and in February, 1869, being then only twenty-one years of age, was duly graduated.   At once after leaving college he established himself in practice, and entered upon a career which has brought him both fame and fortune.  With the prestige of his father’s honorable name, combined with his own skill, energy and conscientiousness, it was not long before he came into prominence, and in 1872-73 he held the responsible office of County Physician, the first of a series of public and professional positions he has held and filled with most eminent success.

In no other profession or business does the individuality of a man appear to play so important a part as in the medical profession.   Endowed with a natural liking for the work he has chosen; of a singularly brilliant and receptive mind; gifted with the faculty of being able to reject the false and accept the true; conservative enough to cling to the proven beneficial; and progressive enough to stand alone, if need be, as the champion of any reform, it is not strange that in a city like Chicago, with its keen appreciation of men of genius, Dr. Henrotin has found his level and stands pre-eminent in his profession.

While never relinquishing his large private practice, he has yet found time to fill many outside positions of trust and responsibility, and was for some twelve years on the staff of attending physicians at the Cook County Hospital, for eight years was surgeon of the Alexian Brothers’ Hospital, was surgeon of the Chicago Police Department for twelve years, and for the past seventeen years has been surgeon of the Chicago Fire Department.  He is now Professor of Diseases of Women in the Chicago Polyclinic, is a member of the Chicago Medical Society, President of the Chicago Gynecological Society, Vice-President of the American Gynecological Society, Consulting Gynecologist to St. Joseph’s Hospital, Corresponding Member of the Philadelphia and Belgian Gynecological Societies, and Secretary-General for America of the International Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  He has also written a number of monographs on intestinal and uterine surgery, which have been widely read and are considered a boon by the members of the profession.

In his social life Dr. Henrotin is considered an all-round “good fellow,” and could he spare time from his many and arduous duties would be in constant social demand.  Added to an unusually fine physique are many engaging qualities of head and heart.  Exceedingly well-read, with an extended knowledge of all subjects of practical interest, not alone as regards his profession, but in the wider range of arts and sciences and in social and political economy; conscientious, warm-hearted, generous, a consistent believer in the Divine injunction to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, he is a man whose friendship is considered an honor by those who are fortunate enough to possess it.  For some years he has been a member of the Union Club, though in his busy life he finds little time to spare for its pleasures and recreations.  In politics he is a Democrat, but is not bound by hard-and-fast party lines, voting for men whom he thinks are conscientious enough to support correct principles.

In the spring of 1873 the Doctor married Miss Emily Prussing, a daughter of Charles G. Prussing, a well-known pioneer of Chicago.   Mrs. Henrotin is a woman of many accomplishments and graces of character, and has been a help and inspiration to her husband in a thousand and one ways.  Of an artistic temperament, she has distinguished herself especially as an amateur painter, and her home is famous for its beautiful surroundings, as well as for the genial hospitality which abounds within its walls.

                                -- Submitted on 9/5/99 by Sherri Hessick ( slhessick@crosswinds.net )