Waring, Joseph Ioor

September 4, 1897–December 21, 1977

Pediatrician, medical historian. Waring was born in Charleston on September 4, 1897, the son of Joseph Ioor Waring and Emma Taber. He attended Porter Military Academy, graduating in 1912, followed by the Episcopal High School of Virginia, where he finished in 1914. In 1917 he graduated from the College of Charleston with an A.B. degree, and in 1921 he was the first honor graduate of the Medical College of the State of South Carolina (which became the Medical University of South Carolina). Between 1924 and 1927 Waring was the director of pediatric service at Rutherford County Child Health Demonstration, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Waring returned to South Carolina in 1927 and began the private practice of pediatrics, while also becoming an assistant in the department of pediatrics in the Medical College of the State of South Carolina, where he eventually rose to the rank of clinical professor of pediatrics. Among the original medical articles published by Waring were those on the subject of “Beriberi in Infants,” “Syphilis as a Factor in Infant Mortality in South Carolina,” and “Mongolism in One of Twins.” While the majority of Waring’s medical publications appeared in the Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association, his influence in pediatrics was also felt on a national level with publication credits in the Journal of Pediatrics and the American Journal of Medical Sciences. In 1935 he married Ferdinanda Legare Backer, a widow with three children. The couple had no children of their own.

Waring’s career as a medical historian began in 1929 with the publication of a short paper titled “An Incident in Early South Carolina Medicine” and later included articles in the nation’s leading professional journals in the field, Bulletin of the History of Medicine and the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences. Waring was elected librarian of the Medical Society of South Carolina in 1949, and during his term as director he greatly expanded the collection of rare books, manuscripts, and museum artifacts informing the subject of medical history in South Carolina. Located in a distinctive octagonal-shaped brick building on the campus of the Medical University of South Carolina, this valuable archive was renamed the Waring Historical Library in 1969 in honor of the first director.

Waring was an active member of the South Carolina Historical Society, serving as a curator of the society (1934–1945, 1959), a member of the publications committee, vice president in 1960, and as president from 1961 to 1963. He also published short articles and edited documents in the society’s journal, the South Carolina Historical Magazine, and served as editor from 1969 and 1974. Following retirement from clinical practice in 1961, Waring intensified his activities as a medical historian and produced his greatest achievement, the three-volume History of Medicine in South Carolina (1964–1971), the first general and comprehensive history of medicine in the state. He died at his home, Old Town Plantation, on December 21, 1977, and was buried at St. James Episcopal Church, Goose Creek.

Donato, Anne K., and Jane Oxner Waring, eds. Joseph Ioor Waring: A True Physician. Charleston, S.C.: Medical University Press, 1997.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Waring, Joseph Ioor
  • Coverage September 4, 1897–December 21, 1977
  • Author
  • Keywords Pediatrician, medical historian, Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association, elected librarian of the Medical Society of South Carolina, Waring Historical Library, active member of the South Carolina Historical Society,
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date July 28, 2021
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update July 8, 2016
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