We have no information for the early years of Michail Masganas’ life. We only know he was born in 1830, probably in Smyrna, in a family with a tradition in medicine: his grandfather, who was also called Michalis Masganas, was a famous surgeon in Smyrna during the second half of the 18th century,1 but we know nothing about his parents. His nephew Aristeidis, was also a known doctor of Smyrna.2 From his marriage3 Michail Masganas had only one daughter, who died early. From the French consulate’s archives we learn he lived in the quarter of Agia Aikaterini, where he also possessed various estates.4
2. Professional career
Michail Masganas was a doctor of the Greek Hospital of Smyrna for fifteen years. He fought against the epidemics of cholera, which afflicted Smyrna during the 19th century and mainly against the epidemic of 1854; in these cases the Greek Orthodox community of Smyrna would address the doctors, which were members of the community, in order to offer free medical care to the patients.5 As the other members of his family, he maintained close relations with the French consulate and with members of the French community. In 1863, and after having become a French citizen, he was appointed as the sanitarian director of the French community of Smyrna.6 Michail Masganas was killed in a railroad accident in Smyrna in the beginning of 1874.
1. Κωστής, Ν.Κ.Χ., «Σμυρναϊκά ανάλεκτα. Το εν Σμύρνη πρώτον νοσοκομείον των ορθοδόξων», Ξενοφάνης ΙΙ (1905), p. 255.
2. He was the director of the surgical department of the Greek Hospital of Smyrna.
3. We do not know who his wife was.
4. Centre des Archives Diplomatiques de Nantes, Série Chancellerie, Notarian acts: 1st April 1852, 30th April 1852, 24th January 1857.
5. Σολομωνίδης, Χ., Η ιατρική στη Σμύρνη: Ασκληπιεία, σχολές, το γραικικό νοσοκομείο, επιδημίες, γητειές, γιατροσόφια, γιατροί, φαρμακεία (Athens 1955), pp. 65-68. During the epidemic of 1854 the Greek community divided the urban space of Smyrna where Greeks dwelled into ten departments, appointing one or more doctors to each of them. Michail Masganas served at the department located “on the other side of the Hospital, the inn of Imamoglou, with the adjoining houses”.
6. Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, Série Correspondance consulaire, Letter of the French consul to the French minister of Foreign Affairs, 10th July 1863.