OFF THE BEATEN PATH
In Scotland and Elsewhere
Alexander J.C. Skene
June 17 1838-July 4 1900
Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn is dominated by the enormous Soldier's and Sailor's Arch. The plaza itself is noted as the site of the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, as well as the location of the Bailey Fountain. Since May 31, 1965 it has been the location of a bust of John F. Kennedy.
At the junction of Vanderbilt and Flatbush Aves. , there is a remarkable statue - a bust of Alexander Johnston Chalmers Skene. Skene was a physician who was born on June 17, 1838 in Fyvie in Aberdeenshire, a small town about equally distant from Peterborough and Aberdeen. The statue is remarkable in that it is reputed to be the only statue in Brooklyn of a physician. John Massey Rhind, another Scot, was the sculptor. The sculpture was unveiled on May 14, 1906. The $5,000. cost was raised from other members of Long Island College (now State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center) , other physicians and former patients.
Skene taught at Long Island College was a recognized scholar who had published more than 200 articles and was the first to describe identify the paraurethal glands (also known also as Skene's glands) and their infection (skenitis).
In addition to being a physician, Skene was a gynecologist and also dabbled in sculpting. Skene sculpted a bust of J. Marion Sims, considered to be the father of modern gynecology which is on exhibit in the lobby of the offices of the Medical Society of Kings County, 480 77th Street.
Skene passed away in his summer home in the Catskills on July 4th 1900.