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Dr. Ramon Guiteras

Dr. Ramon Guiteras

(1858-1917) ~ Inducted 2009

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Guiteras, Ramon, 1858-1917
Certainly the most prominent person of Latin American heritage at the turn of the 20th century was Ramon Guiteras, a native of Bristol.&nbsp;He was the son of a prominent Cuban banker with financial ties to Bristol's DeWolf family.&nbsp;Because the DeWolf's maintained substantial investments in Cuba, family connections followed those of a financial nature.&nbsp;Ramon Guiteras, Sr., married Elizabeth Wardwell from one of Bristol's old-line families, and the couple became the parents of Ramon, who was raised in that bayside town.
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After early education in Providence, he attended Harvard where he completed a classical course of studies.&nbsp;Then he entered Harvard Medical School, graduating in 1883.&nbsp;He pursued post-graduate medical studies in Vienna, Austria for 18 months and then at Berlin under several of Europe's most eminent surgeons.
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Guiteras decided to establish his practice in New York City where he gradually gained respect and acclaim as a surgeon, a professor of medicine, and an author of two highly-regarded medical treatises.&nbsp;He eventually confined his practice to kidney and intestinal disorders becoming nationally known for his expertise in these specialities.&nbsp;He belonged to a host of medical societies including the Pan-American Medical Congress which he served as secretary, the Spanish-American and Latin American Medical Association of which he was president, and the Rhode Island Medical Society.&nbsp;He was also a fellow of the American College of Surgery.
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Dr. Guiteras maintained connections with Cuba and during World War I, he was chosen by President Wilson to ascertain the viewpoint of that country toward the European conflict.&nbsp;He also made trips to France as an advisory surgeon and volunteered his services to the Italian Hospital in New York, a courtesy that earned him a gold medal from the Italian government.
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In the spirit of his contemporary, Theodore Roosevelt, big game hunting was his greatest diversion.&nbsp;In addition to trips in the American wilderness, Guiteras made two safaris to the interior of Africa returning with impressive trophies.&nbsp;
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Guiteras died in December, 1917 at the age of fifty-nine, but even in death he performed a humanitarian act.&nbsp;Following an admirable Bristol tradition he bequeathed the sum of $350,000 to his hometown for the construction of a school to honor his mother.&nbsp;Known as the Guiteras Memorial School, the large colonnade brick and limestone building was completed in 1925.&nbsp;It overlooks Bristol harbor and still serves as one of the town's most visible and impressive landmarks.

[Ramon Guiteras] Photo by the Carbon Studio. National Library of Medicine

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