William Stewart Halsted (September 23, 1852 – September 7, 1922) was a very influential American surgeon who emphasized hygiene, was an early champion of newly discovered anesthetics, and introduced several new surgical procedures. Throughout his professional life, he was addicted to cocaine and later also to morphine.

William S. Halsted was born on September 23, 1852 in New York City. His mother was Mary Louisa Haines and his father William Mills Halsted, Jr. His father was a businessman with Halsted, Haines and Company. Halsted was educated at home by tutors until the age of ten, when he was sent to boarding school in Monson, Massachusetts. He didn't like his new school and even ran away at one point. He was then sent to Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, where he graduated in 1869.

He entered Yale College in 1870. At Yale, Halsted was captain of the football team, played baseball and rowed crew. Halsted entered Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York in 1874. After three years, in 1877, he graduated with an M.D..

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