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Alexander, Hattie Elizabeth (05 April 1901–24 June 1968), microbiologist and pediatrician, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of William Bain Alexander, a merchant, and Elsie May Townsend, both of Scottish ancestry. The family remained in Baltimore throughout Alexander’s relatively happy and comfortable childhood. She attended Baltimore’s Western High School for Girls prior to enrolling in Goucher College, to which she won a partial scholarship. While at Goucher, her enthusiasm for a variety of sports—hockey, baseball, basketball—exceeded that for academics, and she was an unimpressive student. Nevertheless, she exhibited marked, though largely unapplied, skill in Dr. Jessie King’s bacteriology class, and fellow students in the Goucher yearbook declared that “ambition fires her; hygiene claims her; kindness portrays her.”...

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Cadwallader Colden. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B04876).

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Colden, Cadwallader (07 February 1689–20 September 1776), physician, natural scientist, and lieutenant governor of New York, was born of Scottish parents in Ireland, where his mother (name unknown) was visiting. His father was the Reverend Alexander Colden of Duns, Scotland. Colden graduated in 1705 from the University of Edinburgh. He then studied medicine in London but, lacking the money to establish a medical practice in Great Britain, migrated to Philadelphia in 1710. Welcomed by his mother’s sister Elizabeth Hill, Colden established himself as a merchant and physician. He returned to Scotland briefly in 1715, where in November of that year he married Alice Chrystie of Kelso, Scotland. After their marriage they returned to Philadelphia; the couple had eleven children. During a 1717 visit to New York, Colden was persuaded by Governor ...

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James G. Cooper. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B05305).

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Cooper, James Graham (19 June 1830–19 July 1902), naturalist and physician, was born in New York City, the son of William Cooper and Frances Graham. William Cooper (for whom the species commonly known as Cooper’s hawk is named) was a founding member of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York and was closely associated with ...

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Cotzias, George C. (16 June 1918–13 June 1977), physician and neuroscientist, was born in Canea, Crete, the son of Constantin Cotzias, and Katherine Strumpuli. He began his early schooling and his initial medical studies in Athens, Greece. With the outbreak of World War II, he joined the Greek Royal Army, but because his father, then the mayor of Athens, was a leader in the Greek resistance against the Germans, he and his family fled to the United States in 1941....

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Daniel Drake. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B07403).

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Drake, Daniel (20 October 1785–05 November 1852), physician, naturalist, and educator, was born near Bound Brook, New Jersey, the son of Isaac Drake and Elizabeth Shotwell, farmers. The family moved west in 1788 to Mays Lick, Kentucky. At the age of fifteen Drake was apprenticed to Dr. ...

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Folin, Otto (04 April 1867–25 October 1934), biochemist and professor, was born Otto Knut Olof Folin in Åseda (Småland), Sweden, the son of Nils Magnus Folin, a tanner, and Eva Olofsdotter, a midwife. Having completed elementary schooling and because of a stagnant economy, Otto, at age fifteen, was sent to join his older brother, Axel, in Stillwater, Minnesota. Determined to learn English, pay his way, and get an education, Folin graduated from the local high school at age twenty-one, and then in 1892 earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Minnesota where he was managing editor of the university’s journal, the ...

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Friend, Charlotte (11 March 1921–07 January 1987), immunologist and cell biologist, was born in New York City, the daughter of Russian-Jewish immigrants Morris Friend, a businessman, and Cecelia Wolpin, a pharmacist. Friend’s father died when she was three years old, and her mother was left with four young children to raise during the depression. Friend took advantage of the many free cultural and educational advantages that New York offered and developed a wide-ranging, lifelong interest in art, music, and science. Following graduation from Hunter College of the City of New York in 1944, she enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as an officer in hematology laboratories in California and Florida. When World War II ended, she enrolled as a graduate student at Yale University with the financial assistance of the G.I. Bill. She received her Ph.D. in bacteriology in 1950....

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Garden, Alexander ( January 1730–15 April 1791), physician and naturalist, was born in Birse, Scotland, the son of the Reverend Alexander Garden, a clergyman in the Church of Scotland. The details of Garden’s early education are not known, but from around 1743 to 1746 he was apprenticed to James Gordon, professor of medicine at Marischal College, Aberdeen. Garden studied medicine, philosophy, classics, Latin, Greek, French, and Italian at Marischal, and during this time Gordon sparked Garden’s initial interest in natural history. In 1746 Garden was qualified as a surgeon’s second mate in the British navy, but, failing to receive an appointment, he returned from London and resumed his work with Gordon until 1748. From 1748 to 1750 he was a surgeon’s first mate in the navy, serving on three ships. In 1750 he resumed his medical education at the University of Edinburgh, where he studied under John Gregory and Charles Alston. Alston was the King’s Botanist, Keeper of the Garden at Holyrood, and professor of botany and medicine at the university, and under his influence, Garden acquired a passion for botany that continued for the rest of his life. Completing his formal training, Garden was awarded the A.M. degree in 1753 from Marischal College, which also granted him the M.D. degree in 1754....

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Geschwind, Norman (08 January 1926–04 November 1984), neurologist and neuroscientist, was born in New York City, the son of Morris Geschwind and Hanna Ruth Blau. Geschwind lost his father when he was four; his mother raised him and his elder brother Irving, who also became a prominent medical researcher. Geschwind attended the Etz Chaim Yeshiva and then the Boys’ High School in Brooklyn. At the age of sixteen he was admitted to Harvard College on a full scholarship, but he was soon drafted into the infantry during World War II. He returned to Harvard to receive an A.B. in 1947, magna cum laude, and an M.D. in 1951, cum laude. A Moseley Travelling Fellowship and then a U.S. Public Health Service Fellowship allowed him to spend three years with Sir Charles Symonds at the National Hospital in London. There he met Patricia Dougan, whom he married in 1956; they had three children....

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Godman, John Davidson (20 December 1794–17 April 1830), anatomist and naturalist, was born in Annapolis, Maryland, the son of Samuel Godman and Anna Henderson. His mother died when he was two years old, and he was sent to Wilmington, Delaware, to live with an aunt who in 1798 moved with him to Chestertown, Maryland. She died in 1800, the year after his father died, and he was sent to Baltimore, Maryland, to live with a sister. In 1811 he became a printer’s apprentice, a position that was intellectually stifling and physically debilitating; within a year he contracted a tubercular infection that plagued him for the rest of his life. Perhaps as a result of this infection and the drudgery of his situation, he developed an interest in medicine and spent as much time as he could in the office of a local Baltimore physician. There he met William N. Luckey, a medical student at the University of Maryland, who inspired him to study chemistry in order to prepare for a medical career....

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Richard Harlan. Engraving after a painting by Jacob Eichholtz. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B013872).

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Harlan, Richard (19 September 1796–30 September 1843), physician, anatomist, and paleontologist, was born in Philadelphia, the son of Joshua Harlan, a farmer and merchant, and Sarah Hinchman. Harlan attended schools in Philadelphia, and then entered the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied and worked under ...

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Hart, Edwin Bret (25 December 1874–12 March 1953), biochemist and nutritionist, was born near Sandusky, Ohio, the son of William Hart and Mary Hess, farmers. Hart developed an interest in the natural sciences at Sandusky High School. In 1892 he entered the University of Michigan and became an assistant to the chemist E. D. Campbell, who had lost his eyesight in a laboratory explosion. Hart’s duties included reading to Campbell and taking him places by tandem bicycle. In 1897 he received a B.S. in chemistry and had his research published as coauthor with Campbell. He then became an assistant chemist at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York, performing routine food analyses for a year before being given the opportunity to work with Lucius Van Slyke on animal nutrition and dairy chemistry. In 1900 he took a two-year leave of absence to study for a Ph.D. with the protein chemist Albrecht Kossel at the University of Marburg in Germany. Kossel moved to Heidelberg in 1901, and Hart went with him. Heidelberg, however, would not accept the academic credits earned at Marburg. Unable to finish the degree requirements before returning to New York, Hart never obtained a Ph.D. From 1902 to 1906 he developed an outstanding reputation as a dairy chemist. In 1903 he married Ann Virginia De Mille, an actress and relative of ...

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Hecht, Selig (08 February 1892–18 September 1947), physiologist and biophysicist, was born in the village of Glogow, in what was then Austrian Poland, the son of Mandel Hecht and Mary Mresse. His family emigrated in 1898, settling in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where Mandel Hecht worked as a foreman in the men’s clothing industry. Selig attended both local public schools and Hebrew school, also studying Hebrew at home under his father’s tutelage. He worked as a bookkeeper throughout his high school and college years to help support himself....

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Henderson, Lawrence Joseph (03 June 1878–10 February 1942), biochemist and physiologist, was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Henderson, a businessman, and Mary Bosworth. Henderson attended high school in Salem, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard University in 1898. He received his medical degree from the Harvard Medical School in 1902 and then spent two postdoctoral years in Strassburg in the laboratory of Franz Hofmeister, a pioneer in the application of physical chemistry to biochemistry. Upon returning to the United States in 1904, Henderson joined the Harvard faculty as a lecturer in biological chemistry. He also carried out research in the laboratory of the chemist ...

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Christian Archibald Herter. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B014736).

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Herter, Christian Archibald (03 September 1865–05 December 1910), physician and biochemist, was born in Glenville, Connecticut, the son of Christian Herter, an artist and highly successful interior decorator, and Mary Miles. He was educated privately under the direction of his father, who chose a medical career for him. Herter received an M.D. from Columbia University in 1885, after which he undertook postgraduate work with pathologist ...