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Billings, John Shaw (12 April 1838–11 March 1913), army medical officer, library organizer, and public health activist, was born near Allensville, Indiana, the son of James Billings, a farmer and storekeeper, and Abby Shaw. Despite spotty secondary schooling, he ultimately went to Miami College (Ohio), where he earned his B.A. in 1857. He was awarded the M.D. by the Medical College of Ohio in 1860. Billings remained with the latter institution for a year as an anatomical demonstrator, but after the outbreak of the Civil War he joined the U.S. Army as a contract surgeon. In 1862 he was commissioned first lieutenant and assistant surgeon and went on to make army service his career. Also in 1862 he married Katharine Mary Stevens; they had five children....

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John Shaw Billings. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library and Museum, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Eastman, William Reed (19 October 1835–25 March 1925), engineer, clergyman, and librarian, was born in New York City, the son of the Reverend Ornan Eastman, an ordained evangelist, and Mary Reed. Eastman descended from an old New England family. Like his father, Eastman attended Yale University, where he achieved election to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated in 1854 with honors. During the first of his three distinctive professional endeavors, he worked as a civil engineer, initially on the enlargement of the Erie Canal, subsequently on the construction of the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad, and finally on the survey of the first railroad from Vera Cruz to Mexico City....