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Franklin Bache. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B01320).

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Bache, Franklin (25 October 1792–19 March 1864), physician, chemist, and author, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Benjamin Franklin Bache, a noted anti-Federalist journalist, and Margaret Hartman Markoe Bache. Franklin Bache’s grandmother, Sarah Franklin Bache, was Benjamin Franklin’s daughter. He received a classical education in the academy of the Reverend Samuel D. Wylie and was awarded both his A.B. in 1810 and his M.D. in 1814 by the University of Pennsylvania. He studied medicine privately with ...

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Baldwin, William (29 March 1779–31 Aug. or 1 Sept. 1819), botanist and physician, was born in Newlin, Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Baldwin, a minister of the Society of Friends, and Elizabeth Garretson. He attended the local schools in Chester County. Baldwin’s interest in botany and medicine may have developed from his association with serious amateur botanists Dr. Moses Marshall and ...

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Bancroft, Edward (09 January 1744–08 September 1821), physician, scientist, and spy, was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, the son of Edward Bancroft and Mary Ely, farmers. The elder Bancroft died in 1746 of an epileptic attack suffered in a pigpen, two months before the birth of his younger son, Daniel. His widow married David Bull of Westfield in 1751, and the family moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where Bull operated the Bunch of Grapes tavern. Edward Bancroft was taught for a time by the recent Yale graduate ...

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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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Benjamin Smith Barton. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B02422).

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Barton, Benjamin Smith (10 February 1766–19 December 1815), physician and botanist, was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Barton, an Episcopalian minister, and Esther Rittenhouse, the sister of the prominent American astronomer David Rittenhouse. Barton’s parents died before he was fifteen. At the age of eighteen he began medical studies in Philadelphia with ...

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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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Jacob Bigelow. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B02900).

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Bigelow, Jacob (27 February 1787–10 January 1879), physician and botanist, was born in Sudbury, Massachusetts, the son of Jacob Bigelow, a Congregationalist minister, and Elizabeth Wells. He grew up on the family farm, which provided the Bigelows with their primary means of support. During his early years, his father emphasized pragmatic concerns, disapproving of his attempts to learn Latin. He was an observer of nature and enjoyed tinkering on the farm, inventing miniature saw mills and better rat traps. In 1802, at age sixteen, he entered Harvard. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in 1806, he attended the medical lectures of ...

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Archibald Bruce. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B03753).

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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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Burnett, Waldo Irving (12 July 1828–01 July 1854), zoologist and physician, was born in Southborough, Massachusetts, the son of Joel Burnett, a physician, and Sarah (maiden name unknown). His early education, obtained at local schools, seems to have been eclectic, and he neither sought nor received a college degree. From his father, who was a skilled physician and a dedicated botanist and entomologist, he acquired an interest and received training in medicine and zoology. In his early boyhood, he embarked on the study of insects and other animals with an intensity that would characterize his life. He was precocious, something of a prodigy, and an autodidact. He developed such ability in mathematics that his teachers were no longer capable of giving him instruction. Almost without assistance he mastered French, Spanish, and German. By the age of sixteen he had dedicated himself to the study of medicine; his decision was stimulated by involvement in his father’s professional activities. Equally enthralled by entomology, he collected, studied, and classified insects, demonstrating critical powers of inquiry and observation. A change in the family’s finances following his father’s death during Burnett’s sixteenth year made it necessary for him to begin teaching school as he embarked on the study of medicine. He received his medical education under the direction of Dr. Joseph Sargent of Worcester, Massachusetts, at the Tremont Medical School in Boston and Massachusetts General Hospital and became a skilled microscopist and essayist. For two consecutive years (1847 and 1848) he was awarded the prize for the best essay offered by the Boylston Medical Society. In the first of his prize essays, titled “Cancer,” he addressed the subject in terms of microscopic tissue structure, a pioneering insight for the time. His second essay, “The Sexual System,” was one of the earliest American contributions to the fields of reproductive biology and embryology. Burnett was awarded the degree of doctor of medicine in 1849 at the age of twenty-one. Shortly thereafter, he embarked for Europe, where he spent four months, mostly in Paris, engaged in microscopic observations and the study of natural history. While in Paris, he discovered that he had tuberculosis, the disease that eventually killed him. Returning to the United States, he became a peripatetic scholar for reasons of health. Based in Boston, he passed the winters in South Carolina, Georgia, or Florida. In spite of his constant travels, he was incessantly occupied with microscopic observations and accomplished an almost incredible amount of intellectual labor....

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Joseph Carson. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B04314).

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Carson, Joseph (19 April 1808–30 December 1876), physician and botanist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Carson, a merchant, and Elizabeth Lawrence. After obtaining his A.B. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1826, he went to work in the drugstore of Edward Lowber in Philadelphia where he developed an interest in botany. He studied medicine with Thomas T. Hewson and obtained his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1830. After a period as physician to the hospital of the Philadelphia almshouse, he served as ship’s surgeon on the ...

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Clapp, Asahel (05 October 1792–17 December 1862), physician, botanist, and geologist, was born in Hubbardston, Massachusetts, the son of Reuben Clapp and Hepzibah Gates, farmers. When Clapp was a small child, his family moved to Montgomery, Franklin County, Vermont, near the Canadian border. Later, after acquiring sufficient learning for the purpose, he moved to Shelton, Vermont, to teach school. At about eighteen years of age and desiring to learn medicine, he moved to St. Albans, Vermont, and apprenticed himself to Dr. Benjamin Chandler. The completion date of his training and his whereabouts thereafter are unknown until he arrived in New Albany, Indiana, early in 1817....

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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).