SALISBURY, JAMES HENRY (13 Oct. 1823-23 Aug. 1905), a physician and medical researcher who investigated the germ-causation theory of disease, was born in Scott, N.Y. to Nathan and Lucretia Babcock Salisbury. He graduated with a Bachelor of Natural Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1846; an M.D. from Albany Medical College in 1850; and an M.A. from Union College in 1852. In 1844 he was appointed assistant chemist with the Geological Survey of the State of New York. Promoted in 1849 to principal chemist, he served until 1852 and afterwards applied himself to private practice and research.
After serving as a physician during the CIVIL WAR, Salisbury came to Cleveland to help start Charity Hospital College, where he lectured on physiology, histology, and microscopic anatomy between 1864-66. He had a private practice in Cleveland until around 1880, when he moved to New York City. He specialized in the treatment of chronic diseases, especially those previously considered fatal. Salisbury began studying germs as the cause of diseases as early as 1849. Severely criticized in Europe and America, not until 1865 was he proved correct. In 1860 Salisbury began studying the origin and functions of blood, later turning to the relation of food and drink to the occurrence of disease, advocating dietary measures, including Salisbury steak, as cures. He also studied the chemical analysis of plants, spores, fungi, and parasites as causes of diseases; other interests led him to study ancient rocks and earth writings.
Salisbury married Clara Brassee in 1860 and had 2 children, Minnie and Trafford. He died in Cleveland and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.