Langer Carey



Langer Carey MD

While researching a short article on the men who received an honorary or ad eundem MD degree from McGill in the 19th century (see: Osler Library Newsletter, 2015. No. 122) the name "Auger D L Carey" appeared. According to many sources a person with this name obtained an ad eundem MD in 1864.

McGill awarded very few ad eundem MD degrees and all the other recipients were well-known physicians; Auger Carey was unknown.

It appears that the degree was actually awarded to a British army medical officer (Langer Carey) who was, at that time, posted to the Royal Artillery and posted in Montreal. The section from the OLN article reads:

Langer Carey (18311882).

There are two notable mysteries associated with Carey’s ad eundem degree. The first concerns the astonishing variations in his name: official McGill announcements and minutes list it as “Auger D.L. Carey” or “D.L. Auger Carey”; in newspaper and journal accounts of the degrees awarded at the convocation on 3rd May 1864, his name appears as “D.L. McGee Carey.” One can hypothesize about mis-transcriptions of bad handwriting (L Auger = Langer?) or mis-interpretations of speech (he held an MB (McGee?) degree from Trinity College, Dublin), but it is puzzling that these apparent errors remained uncorrected. McGill’s official records continue to list him as “D.L. Auger Carey.” Extensive (but maddeningly not-absolutely-definitive) research leads to the conclusion that the correct name is ‘Langer Carey’.

The second mystery is the absence of any obvious reason for the award of an honorary degree. His degree was awarded by the Corporation of the University “on the unanimous recommendation to that effect by the Faculty of Medicine,” but unfortunately the Medical Faculty minutes for that period are no longer extant, and little information is otherwise available about Carey’s medical career or life in Quebec.

Langer Carey was born into a medical family in Newport, Tipperary, Ireland; both his father (also called Langer) and at least one of his brothers, Samuel Orby Carey, were also physicians. He obtained a BA from Trinity College Dublin in 1852, became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1856, and received his MB, also from Trinity, in 1858. He joined the Army Medical Department in 1858, was posted to the Royal Artillery in 1859, served with them in Montreal from 1861 until 1865, and was later posted to Toronto and Malta. Carey was promoted to the rank of Surgeon-Major in 1873, and resigned from the Army in 1879. He then moved to the Hawkes Bay area of New Zealand, where he included “M.D. (Causa Honoris) McGill University, Ontario” [sic] among his credentials when registering in New Zealand in 1880. Carey died in 1882, after practising in Hastings for less than two years.

Carey's entry from list of graduates of Trinity College, Dublin

Carey's entry from Peterkin, list of army medical officers

Carey in Montreal (1861)

From the Corporation minute book (too fragile to scan) as part of a Report on degrees awarded in 1864 it is noted that “At the Regular Meeting of the Corporation of McGill University held on Wednesday the 25th January 1865 at McGill College…” (p. 227)
“The Degree of M.D. ad eundum was conferred on D.L. Auger Carey, and that of B.A. ad eundum on the Reverend P. D. Muir.” (p. 303)

In the printed volume "Proceedings of the annual convocation of the McGill University" for 1864 the wording is slightly different:

"In the past year two honorary and two ad eundem degrees have been awarded by the Corporation of the University:

To D.L. Auger Carey, M.B. etc the degree of M.D. to be reckoned as an ad eundem degree, on the unanimous recommendation to that effect of the Faculty of Medicine."

List of ad eundem MD degrees (from Hanaway-Cruess and 1882 anniversary booklet.)

Journal of Education

From Proceedings of the Convocation of the McGill University 1864

Carey in New Zealand

Taranaki Herald. 1880 Nov 15; 28(3591): 2 col. 1.

Carey burial certificate

Carey's death in Lancet

The diary of Vicesimus Lush (an Anglican missionary/minister in New Zealand) for 10th March 1882, refers to Carey as....`a Doctor Carey (an opium eater or smoker!) [who was] generally beclouded.’ (Information from Derek Dow, University of Auckland. August 2015.)

An outline of Carey's army service record can be found on the website "Medical Officers of the Malta Garrison" HERE.

Last revised 1 April 2019.