By Jeffrey V. Moy, North Jersey History and Genealogy Center
Jennie Dean Beaver practiced medicine for over half a century in New York and New Jersey.
Born in Athens, PA, to Fannie Archer and George Thompson Dean, she was the sister of Elvira Dean Abell, also a medical doctor and fellow graduate of Cornell Medical School.
Upon Jennie’s graduation in 1910, she completed her three-year residency at Methodist Episcopal Hospital in Philadelphia. In 1913, Morristown Memorial Hospital invited Dr. Dean to set up its first clinical laboratory where she also served as Morristown’s first doctor of pathology and anesthesiology.
When war erupted in 1917, Jennie joined the Red Cross and sailed for Evreaux, France, where she served as Inspector of the Bacteriological Laboratory of American Red Cross Hospital #109.
Following World War I, she moved to Jerusalem to work with the Palestine Relief Commission of the American Red Cross, during which time she met British Army Captain Reginald Parker Beaver, who had just been released from the service and had found work as a businessman at the Anglo-Egypt Bank.
Jennie and Reginald returned to Morristown and married in 1920, only to return to Egypt for Reginald’s job.
Ironically, it was here that the infectious disease specialist contracted Sand Fly Fever in 1922, forcing her and her husband to permanently return to New Jersey.
After settling back into life in the states, Jennie resumed her work at Morristown Memorial Hospital while Reginald accepted a job at Morristown Securities.
The consummate professional, Jennie was instrumental in creating Morristown’s chapter of Planned Parenthood, and also served as medical inspector for the Hanover school district.
As one of America’s first practicing allergists, Jennie conducted pioneering research into our early understanding of the causes and treatments for allergic reactions, and she often collaborated with famed New York City allergist, Dr. Will Cook Spain.
Jennie was a member of the Morris County Medical Society, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Allergy. She also was a fellow of the International Association of Allergy, and was presented with the Golden Merit Award by the Medical Society of New Jersey.
Jennie retired a mere two years before her death in 1965 at the age of 88. A resident of 44 Elm St., she was survived by her husband Rex, sons Arnold and Dean, and two grandchildren.
Dr. Jennie Dean Beaver’s personal papers, including her war correspondence and several photo albums, can be found in the North Jersey History and Genealogy Center.