Blacks@Dartmouth 1775 to 1960

Richard Henry Green

Physician in upstate New York

alumnus image

Dartmouth Medical School M.D.

Class of 1864

1857 Yale (A.B.)

Born  1833  New Haven CT

Died 1877 Hoosick NY

Quotes from Biographical Sources

After graduating [from Yale College in 1957], Green taught school—first in Milford, Connecticut, and after a year and a half at the Bennington Seminary in Bennington, Vermont. He then studied medicine at Dartmouth, where he received an MD in 1864. But before that, he entered the US Navy in November 1863 as an acting assistant surgeon. A transcription of his application to the Navy includes a descriptive note from the board that examined him: 'Fresh from school; no practical experience—sprightly and tolerably well booked. Weighs 220 lbs.'

His father described his war service in a letter to Franklin B. Dexter ’61, the secretary of [Yale] university, which is now preserved in the university archives. His son, he wrote, 'was sent to the U.S. Steamer State of Georgia blockading off N. Carolina under Admiral Porter. He was on that vessel about a Year, when she was taken out of commission, and he was put on waiting order 3 weeks. During that time he was married to Miss Charlotte Caldwell of Bennington, VT. Then he was ordered to the Steamer Seneca and was at the taking of Fort Fisher, & the other fortifications in the Cape Fear river.'

After the war, the young family settled in Hoosick, in upstate New York. There Green apparently changed the spelling of his surname to Greene; even his father addressed a letter to his son under that name, while keeping “Green” for himself. The younger Green practiced medicine in Hoosick, apparently with success. He preserved a letter from a grateful Connecticut patient who wrote him, 'I felt a confidence in you which I do not entertain towards any physician near us.'

On March 23, 1877, as the elder Green wrote in his letter to Yale’s secretary, his son 'died of disease of the heart leaving a wife & daughter.' Richard Henry Green is buried in Bennington, just over the border from Hoosick. An 1897 book, Landmarks of Rensselaer County, would remember the doctor as a man who was 'fond of the study of natural history and spent much time collecting plants and objects of interest in that department. He was a most amiable and genial man, and a practical Christian.'

Schiff, Judith. (May/Jun 2014). The Life of Richard Henry Green : Yale College’s first African American graduate became a Civil War assistant surgeon and a New England country doctor. Yale Alumni Magazine, 77(5). Retrieved from

Other source(s)

  1. Richard Henry Green. (1880) Obituary Record of Graduates (pp. 268): Yale University.