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Sir Frederick Treves, 1st Baronet
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Doctor
    (February 15, 1853-December 7, 1923)
    Born in Dorchester, Dorset, United Kingdom
    British surgeon
    Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO; 1901)
    Close friend to The Elephant Man (Joseph Merrick)
    Rescued Merrick from the circus; set him up as a permanent resident at the London Hospital, where he stayed until his death
    Chairman of the Executive Committee for The British Red Cross (1905-1912)
    Authored 'The Elephant Man and Other Reminiscences' (1923), 'Surgically Applied Anatomy' (1883), 'The Highways and Byways of Dorset' (1906), 'A Student's Handbook of Surgical Operations' (1892), and 'Uganda for a Holiday' (1908)
    Portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in David Lynch's 'The Elephant Man' (1980)
    Portrayed by Alessandro Nivola in the Broadway revival of Bernard Pomerance's 'Elephant Man' play, opposite Bradley Cooper (2014-2015)
    His writings contain several inaccuracies and exaggerations about Merrick.
    He mistakenly identifies him as 'John Merrick' in his book; a mistake that went uncorrected for generations.
    He first met Merrick at a 'private viewing' when he was an Exhibit at a White Chapel shop.
    He was later accused of misrepresenting the intentions of the shop-owner, Tom Norman, whom he portrayed as a cruel drunk in his book (reportedly, Joseph participated willingly to make money).
    Perhaps most tasteless are his references to Merrick's mother, whom he describes as 'worthless and inhumane,' implying that she had abandoned him as a baby (not only is there no proof to such a charge, but sources have since pointed out that Merrick routinely carried a miniature of her portrait with him wherever he went).
    He wrote in his 'Reminisces' that his first impression of Merrick was that he was 'the most disgusting specimen of humanity that I had ever seen ... at no time had I met with such a degraded or perverted version of a human being as this lone figure displayed.'
    He told Merrick that his only hope was to go to live at an institution for the blind, where he might meet someone who would be oblivious to his deformity.
    He may have identified Merrick as 'John' simply out of respect for his private life.
    He performed the first appendectomy in English history (June 29, 1888).
    He was a volunteer medical worker at a field hospital in South Africa, during the Boer War.
    He was appointed one of several Honorary Serjeants Surgeon to King Edward VII (March 1901).
    He treated King Edward on the eve of his coronation, when he was diagnosed with appendicitis (the procedure was deemed high-risk due to the mortality rate, but the King survived).
    He made a small cameo (as himself) amongst other society figures in Britain participating the war effort, during 'The Great War' (WWI), in D.W. Griffith's lost film, 'The Great Love' (1918).
    He invited Merrick to be examined and photographed soon after meeting him at the exhibit (where he determined that Merrick was in 'decent health' despite his deformities).
    He acted as an interpreter for Merrick (over the years he developed an understanding of his speech patterns).
    When Merrick was robbed and stranded in Belgium, his only possession was the business card he had been given by Treves (who was called in by police to identify and take custody of him).
    He convinced hospital orderlies to take Merrick on as a long-term patient (during his time in the circus, his health had deteriorated rapidly).
    He helped arrange for Merrick to live out his lifelong wish of attending the theater; securing a private box for him to watch Christmas pantomime at the Drury Lane-Theatre Royal.
    He visited Merrick on an almost daily basis, usually staying longer on Sundays. He had to carry out the painful task of conducting an autopsy after Merrick died in his sleep.
    He was initially repulsed by Merrick's appearance, but overcame it and became his champion, overseeing his transition into society (leading to figures like Princess Alexandra of Wales seeking him out).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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