Nathaniel Bright Emerson, born in Waialua, Oahu, on July 1, 1839, was the son of Reverend John Smith Emerson and Ursula Sophia
Newell Emerson, missionaries who came to Hawaii in 1832. After completing his education at Punahou, Emerson left Hawaii and
moved to the United States to attend Williams College, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. In September 1862, he enlisted in the
First Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. His regiment was involved in several major battles including Fredericksburg,
Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and several skirmishes of the Wilderness Campaign; he was wounded at both Fredericksburg and
Chancellorsville and spent several months in army hospitals. In May 1864 he was mustered out of the army and returned to college.
Emerson studied medicine at Harvard and at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. He graduated with his
medical degree in 1869 and remained in New York City where he had his own medical practice.
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