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Alvarez, Walter Clement (22 July 1884–16 June 1978), physician, medical researcher, and medical columnist, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Luis Fernandez Alvarez, a physician, and Clementina Schuetze. When Alvarez was three, his family moved to Hawaii, where his father was a government physician in two isolated Oahu villages. Alvarez was eleven when his father established a Honolulu hospital for lepers and attempted to develop a serum to combat the disease. While assisting his father, Alvarez resolved to become a physician....

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Barrus, Clara (08 August 1864–04 April 1931), physician and author, was born in Port Byron, New York, the daughter of John William Barrus, a traveling salesman, and Sarah Randall, a schoolteacher. She began her education at the Port Byron Academy, where three years before her graduation she decided to become a physician. She felt women physicians were scarce and were needed to “treat modest girls who refused treatment from a man” ( ...

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Bruce, Archibald ( February 1777–22 February 1818), physician, mineralogist, and editor, was born in New York City, the son of William Bruce, a British army medical officer, and Judith Bayard Van Rensselaer. Despite his father’s expressed wish, Bruce pursued medical education and practice. After taking an A.B. at Columbia College in 1797, he continued his studies in New York and then moved on to Edinburgh (M.D., 1800). As was common in this period, his medical education included exposure to the natural sciences, and Bruce developed a lifelong interest in mineralogy. After completing his M.D., he extended his European stay with travels on the Continent to study mineralogy and collect materials for his own mineralogical cabinet....

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Darlington, William (28 April 1782–23 April 1863), physician, botanist, and author, was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of Edward Darlington, a farmer who also found time to serve in the Pennsylvania legislature, and Hannah Townsend. Wanting to escape the drudgery of farm work that had restricted his schooling to a few winter months each year, at age eighteen Darlington persuaded his father to pay the necessary fees for his apprenticeship to study medicine with John Vaughan in Wilmington, Delaware. In return, his father required that he give up his inheritance of a share of the family farm....

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Holmes, Oliver Wendell (29 August 1809–07 October 1894), physician, teacher of anatomy, and writer, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of the Reverend Abiel Holmes and Sarah Wendell, Abiel’s second wife. A quintessential Boston Brahmin, Oliver was descended on his mother’s side from the old Boston families of Jackson and Quincy and from early Dutch settlers; ...

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Mitchell, S. Weir (15 February 1828–04 January 1914), physician and writer, was born Silas Weir Mitchell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Kearsley Mitchell, a physician and professor of medicine, and Sarah Matilda Henry. He entered the University of Pennsylvania at the age of fifteen and in his second year was ranked first in his class, but withdrew after three years because of the illness of his father. He enrolled in 1848 in Jefferson Medical College, where his father taught, and finished the two-year course at age twenty-one. He continued his studies in Paris, where he spent a year in research with several eminent scientists such as the physiologist Claude Bernard and the microscopist Charles Phillippe Robin. In 1851 he returned to Philadelphia to help with the medical practice of his ailing father and by 1855 was the sole supporter of the family. In 1858 he married Mary Middleton Elwyn, who bore him two sons before her death, from diphtheria, in 1862. When his father died in 1858, Mitchell took over his practice....

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Williams, William Carlos (17 September 1883–04 March 1963), author and physician, was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, the son of William George Williams, a New York businessman of British extraction, and Raquel Hélène Hoheb, who was from Puerto Rico. William Carlos Williams spoke Spanish and French as well as English. From 1897 to 1899 he was schooled in Switzerland, with some time in Paris. In 1902 he graduated from high school in New York and was accepted into the dental school of the University of Pennsylvania, but soon transferred to the medical school. There began his long-lived friendships with ...