Edwin Bentley (1824-1917) was a co-founder of the Medical Department of the University of Arkansas in September 1879.
Bentley was born to George W. and Anne (Williams) Bentley in New London County, Connecticut, on July 3, 1824. He received his medical degree at University Medical College of New York City in 1849. He practiced medicine in Norwich, Connecticut, until June 6, 1861, when he became Assistant Surgeon of the Fourth Connecticut Infantry Volunteers. In September 1862 he was assigned to the Third Division General Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1864 he became responsible for all general hospitals in the area. On March 13, 1865, he became a Lieutenant Colonel, and served the U.S. Army until 1869 in Washington, D.C. He became the first professor of anatomy at Howard University in 1868. From 1870 to 1875 he served as professor of anatomy at the Medical College of the Pacific in San Francisco. In 1877 he was dispatched to New Orleans, Louisiana, to help fight the smallpox epidemic then raging in the city.
Bentley arrived in Little Rock in 1878, where he generally remained until his death on February 5, 1917. In the Centennial Volume of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences author W. David Baird comments that Bentley became a surgeon at the Little Rock Arsenal and an associate of Philo Oliver Hooper. "By nature Bentley was a peacemaker, but he also was a man of unimpeachable character and lofty professional standards," wrote Baird. Bentley co-founded the Medical Department in Little Rock in September 1879, and shortly thereafter established a free clinic behind Fones Brothers Hardware. He was president of the medical college from 1904 to 1906.
- "Edwin Bentley, M.D., 1824-1917: Connecticut Yankee in Washington and Little Rock," Journal of the National Medical Association 72.10 (October 1980): 1012–1014.