Harvey Wilson Harkness , MD (1821-1901)

Additional Information*

He began a successful medical practice in Sacramento in 1850. He married Amelia Griswald in 1854 only to grieve her death within a year. He never remarried. As a close friend to Governor Leland Stanford he was the trustee for the grant to establish Stanford University.

Dr. Harkness was a member of Sacramento’s first Board of Health in 1862 and was one of the twelve founding members of the Sacramento Society for Medical Improvement.

His primary avocations were education, fungi and finance. In recognition of his contributions to Sacramento’s first Board of Education the Harkness Elementary School which still stands at 2147 54th Street was named after him. Because he made astute investments from his mining profits into real estate and the railroad, he became a wealthy man able to retire at age 48 to the Pacific Union Club in San Francisco. He devoted the rest of his days to Pacific Coast fungi, using his microscope, the first in the Sacramento area. As President of the California Academy of Science he published his findings which attracted attention throughout the world.

He was 80 when he died. Funeral services were held at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in San Francisco. His cremated remains are buried at Sacramento’s Old City Cemetery.

Sacramento’s first microscopist
Physician to the Railroad magnates, Leland Stanford, Charles Crocket,Collis Huntington,and Mark Hopkins
President of Sacramento’s first Board of Education (1853)
President of the California Academy of Sciences (1887-1896)
World expert on Pacific Coast fungi

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*Physician information research provided by Dr. Irma West