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Barker, Jeremiah (31 March 1752–04 October 1835), physician, was born in Scituate, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Barker and Patience Howland, farmers. Barker’s early education under the Reverend Mr. Cutter, a Congregational minister, was followed by his study of medicine under Bela Lincoln of Hingham, Massachusetts, from 1769 to 1771. A graduate of Harvard College who had studied medicine under Ezekiel Hersey and in London hospitals and who had received an M.D. from Kings College, Aberdeen, Lincoln had had an unusually academic medical education for the period, a fact that would have a positive influence on Barker’s own medical training....

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Mary E. Bass. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B02453).

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Bass, Mary Elizabeth (05 April 1876–26 January 1956), physician, medical educator, and historian, was born in Carley, Mississippi, the daughter of Isaac Esau Bass and Mary Eliza Wilkes. She grew up in Marion County, where her father operated a gristmill and dry goods store. The 1890s economic depression bankrupted Isaac Bass, and the family moved to Lumberton, Mississippi, to invest in pecan orchards. The Basses were pious Baptists and active in civic concerns....

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Corner, George Washington (12 December 1889–28 September 1981), anatomist, endocrinologist, and medical historian, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of George Washington Corner II, a merchant, and Florence Evans. He attended the Boys Latin School, from which he graduated with honors in six subjects, and entered the Johns Hopkins University in 1906. His original intention was to study languages. Within a year, however, he discovered he was more inclined to biological studies. In 1909 he graduated with an A.B. and entered the Johns Hopkins Medical School. Corner’s years at Johns Hopkins were those of the great founders, ...

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Cushing, Harvey Williams (08 April 1869–07 October 1939), neurosurgeon, medical historian, and bibliophile, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in the Western Reserve of Connecticut, the son of Henry Kirke Cushing, a physician, and Betsey Maria Williams. In addition to his father, Cushing’s paternal grandfather, great grandfather, and great-great grandfather were all physicians in general practice. Cushing’s childhood was a happy and full one with strong parental role models. He found opportunities at home to consort, through books, with the world of ideas, and to explore history. His early education was in the public schools of Cleveland and from his mother, who taught him French and introduced him to general literature and poetry. In 1887 Cushing entered Yale University, where he spent four happy years, achieving election to Scroll and Key (a matter of considerable importance to him) and securing the short-stop position on the Yale freshman baseball team and, later, membership on the varsity nine....

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Flick, Lawrence Francis (10 August 1856–07 July 1938), physician, historian, and early leader in the campaign against tuberculosis, was born in Carroll Township, Cambria County, Pennsylvania, the son of John Flick, a mill owner and farmer, and Elizabeth Schabacher (changed to Sharbaugh). Flick grew up on the family farm, but poor health excused him from the usual chores. A bookish boy and a devout Roman Catholic, he first attended local schools. For most of his teenage years, he studied at St. Vincent’s, a Benedictine college in Beatty (now Latrobe), Pennsylvania, but symptoms suggesting tuberculosis cut short his classwork, and he returned home. After a period of indecision and various jobs, he entered Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and graduated in 1879. He then completed an internship at Philadelphia Hospital and opened an office for the practice of medicine. His persisting illness, however, was finally diagnosed as tuberculosis and, following his physicians’ advice, he traveled to the West for his health. By 1883, improvement allowed him to resume his practice, which soon included increasing numbers of patients with tuberculosis. “When I recovered from tuberculosis as a young man,” he wrote, “I consecrated my life to the welfare of those afflicted with the disease and to the protection of those who had not yet contracted it” ( ...

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Fulton, John Farquhar (01 November 1899–29 May 1960), neurophysiologist and medical historian, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, son of John Farquhar Fulton, a physician, and Edith Stanley Wheaton. After spending the 1917–1918 academic year at the University of Minnesota, Fulton entered Harvard University, from which he received a B.S., magna cum laude, in 1921. As a recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship, Fulton attended Magdalen College at Oxford University for two years, followed by an additional two years at Oxford as a Christopher Welch Scholar and demonstrator in physiology. He received a B.A. from Oxford with first-class honors in 1923, and an M.A. and D.Phil. in 1925. Returning to the United States, he studied medicine at Harvard, receiving his M.D., again magna cum laude, in 1927. He married Lucia Pickering Wheatland, of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1923; they had no children....

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Handerson, Henry Ebenezer (21 March 1837–23 April 1918), physician and medical historian, was born near Gates Mills, Ohio, the son of Thomas Handerson and Catherine Potts, farmers. In 1839, after his father’s accidental death, Henry was adopted by his uncle, Lewis Handerson, a respected pharmacist in nearby Cleveland, and his wife, Prudence Punderson. Her brother, the Reverend Ephraim Punderson, was an Episcopal missionary who frequently visited them and greatly influenced the young frail boy. In 1852 the family moved to Beersheba Springs, Tennessee, and two years later, with health improved, Handerson entered Hobart College (Episcopal) in Geneva, New York, graduating in 1858 with an A.B. in the classics. The following year he was a private tutor on a cotton plantation near Alexandria, Louisiana, and then began to study medicine in the Medical Department of the University of Louisiana (now Tulane) in New Orleans....

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Kessen, William (18 January 1925–13 February 1999), psychologist, educator, and historian, was born in Key West, Florida, the only child of Maria Lord Kessen, a third generation Key Wester, and Herman Kessen of Georgia, a ship's engineer with the Peninsular and Occidental Steamship line. The family moved to Fort Lauderdale when Kessen was ten; he graduated from high school at the precocious age of sixteen. The first in his family to attend college, Kessen pursued a variety of interests at the University of Florida, including history, acting, and radio announcing, but his undergraduate studies were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II....

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Ralph Hermon Major. Left, with Douglas Guthrie. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Major, Ralph Hermon (29 August 1884–15 October 1970), physician and historian of medicine, was born in Clay County, Missouri, the son of John Sleet Major, a banker, and Virginia Anderson. After completing his A.B. degree at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, in 1902, he traveled in Europe for three years. There he became proficient in German, French, Italian, and Spanish, adding to his knowledge of Greek and Latin. Back in America, he studied medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, obtaining his M.D. degree in 1910. He remained at Johns Hopkins for two years of postgraduate training in internal medicine before returning to Europe to spend 1912–1913 at the clinic of Friedrich Müller in Munich, Germany....

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Miller, William Snow (29 March 1858–26 December 1939), anatomist and medical historian, was born in Sterling, Massachusetts, the son of William Miller, a Congregational minister, and Harriet Emily Snow. He was schooled at home in the classics and later attended Williston Academy in Easthampton, Massachusetts. The family’s financial problems prevented him from attending college. Instead, in 1877 he began a preceptorship with a physician, C. H. Hubbard of Essex, Connecticut, primarily studying anatomy by dissecting animals. His high score on a competitive test secured his medical school tuition, and he entered Yale Medical School, where he received his medical degree in 1879. He married Carrie M. Bradley of Clinton, Connecticut, in 1881. She died in 1901, and in 1912 he married Alice L. Burdick of Madison, Wisconsin. He had no children from either marriage....

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Nixon, Pat Ireland (29 November 1883–18 November 1965), physician and historian, was born at Old Nixon in Guadalupe County, Texas, the son of Robert Thomas, a farmer and stockman, and Frances Amanda Andrews. Nixon received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas in 1905 and a medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1909....

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Sir William Osler. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Osler, Sir William (12 July 1849–29 December 1919), physician, educator, and historian, was born in Bond Head, Ontario, Canada, the son of Featherstone Lake Osler, an Anglican priest, and Ellen Free Pickton, both of Cornwall, England. William’s father left Britain’s Royal Navy for an evangelical calling in the backwoods of early nineteenth-century Ontario. In 1837 the Oslers came to their new home in Bond Head, forty miles north of Toronto. The young Osler was a proficient scholar, caught in the common mid-nineteenth-century dichotomy between science and church. Ultimately, another Anglican priest, the Reverend W. A. Johnson, settled the matter by nourishing Osler’s interest in natural science. Microscopy replaced the ministry. As early as 1869, Osler’s first published work analyzed microscopic forms in a pond near his home....

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Packard, Francis Randolph (23 March 1870–18 April 1950), physician and medical historian, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Hooker Packard, a distinguished surgeon, and Elisabeth Wood. After attending Rugby Academy in Philadelphia, Packard was a pre-medical student in the biological department of the University of Pennsylvania from 1887 to 1889 and obtained an M.D. in 1892 from the university’s Department of Medicine. Unable to obtain a residency immediately at the Pennsylvania Hospital, he was invited to the new Johns Hopkins Hospital by the eminent internist ...

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Williams, Stephen West (27 March 1790–07 July 1855), physician, naturalist, and medical historian, was born in Deerfield, Massachusetts, the son of William Stoddard, a physician, and Mary Hoyt. Williams attended the local academy and at age eighteen began to study medicine with his father. While still a student, he sent Dr. ...