Eli Geddings, physician, was born in Newberry District of South Carolina. Starting in 1818, he studied medicine at Abbeville under Drs. Miller and Arnold until the examining Board in Charleston licensed him to practice in 1820.
After pursuing medical studies in Philadelphia and briefly practicing medicine in Abbeville County, Geddings settled in Charleston in 1824 and became the first graduate of the Medical College of South Carolina.
The following spring he went abroad, then attended at hospitals in Paris and London, and returned to Charleston in May 1827 to resume his medical practice and anatomical demonstrations.
Geddings subsequently opened a private school known as the Charleston Academy of Medicine, offering lectures in the practice of medicine and surgery, surgical pathology, practical anatomy, and operative surgery, and giving students access to his personal library of 700 volumes of medical works. He claimed his course represented the first entire course of lectures on pathological anatomy ever given in America.
Dr. Geddings accepted the chair of anatomy and physiology at the University of Maryland and edited the Baltimore Medical and Surgical Journal and Review from 1831 to 1837 when he returned to the Medical College of South Carolina as Chairman of Pathological Anatomy and Medical Jurisprudence.
During the Civil War Geddings accepted an appointment as surgeon and consultant on the Army Medical Board of the Confederate States.
He also was placed in charge of the property of the Medical College during the Federal occupation of Charleston. Geddings served as chairman of the committee on medical education for the American Medical Association in 1870 and authored a report recommending a minimum three year course in medicine.
He retired from the Medical College of South Carolina in 1873 as Emeritus Professor of the Institutes and Practice of Medicine, but occupied a newly created Chair of Clinical Medicine.