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Gilbert, Rufus Henry (26 January 1832–10 July 1885), surgeon and rapid transit pioneer, was born in Guilford, New York, the son of William Dwight Gilbert, a county judge; his mother’s name is unknown. After completing his elementary education, he worked briefly as a druggist’s clerk and then became an apprentice machinist. When his apprenticeship expired six years later, he moved to Corning, New York, where he studied medicine for a year with a local physician. He then attended New York City’s College of Physicians and Surgeons for a year, after which he worked for two years in the office of the physician in Corning to raise enough money to complete his education. In 1853 he received his M.D. from the college and again returned to Corning, where he opened a highly successful surgical practice. He also married a Miss Maynard (the year of the marriage is unknown); they had no children....

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John Jeffries. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B015712).

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Jeffries, John (05 February 1745–16 September 1819), physician, surgeon, and the first American to fly, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of David Jeffries, Boston’s treasurer for more than thirty years, and Sarah Jaffrey. Jeffries was named for a wealthy uncle who arranged for his early education. He entered Harvard College in 1759, receiving his master of arts with honors in 1763. He studied medicine with ...