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Lewis, Warren Harmon (17 June 1870–03 July 1964), anatomist, embryologist, and cell physiologist, was born in Suffield, Connecticut, the son of John Lewis, a lawyer, and Adelaide Harmon. Early in his life Lewis’s family moved to Chicago, where he began his education in the public schools of Oak Bank. From 1886 until 1889 he attended the Chicago Manual Training School. While Lewis was a teenager, his mother stimulated his interest in anatomy when she gave him a book by the famous anatomist Henry Gray....

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Lillie, Frank Rattray (27 June 1870–05 November 1947), scientist, was born in Toronto, Canada, son of accountant George Waddell Lillie and Emily Ann Rattray. Both Lillie’s grandfathers were clergymen, and his family expected him to follow in their footsteps. Instead, upon entering the University of Toronto in 1887, Lillie majored in the natural sciences. His interest in biology, especially embryology and physiological perspectives, blossomed under faculty members R. Ramsay Wright and A. B. Macallum. Lillie received his A.B. in 1891 and immediately left to attend his first summer session at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Massachusetts. He spent the next fifty-five summers at the MBL....

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Franklin Paine Mall. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Mall, Franklin Paine (28 September 1862–17 November 1917), embryologist and anatomist, was born near Belle Plaine, Iowa, the son of Franz Mall, a farmer, and Louise Christine Miller, both natives of Germany. Mall’s mother died when he was ten years old, and his father remarried a woman who was unaffectionate toward Franklin. As a consequence, Mall had a difficult, unhappy youth and could not find an outlet for his creative mind. Mall’s whole attitude was changed by his boarding school teacher, Jack McCarthy, who showed Mall that the source of his disdain for school was not the subjects themselves, but rather the method by which they were taught, which stressed memorization without comprehension. McCarthy’s strong influence on Mall was evident in Mall’s later attempts to reform university science teaching....

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Nicholas, John Spangler (10 March 1895–11 September 1963), embryologist, was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel Trauger Nicholas, a Lutheran minister, and Elizabeth Ellen Spangler. Because his father changed parishes every few years, he grew up in a number of small Pennsylvania communities, graduating from the public high school in Middletown. In 1912 he matriculated at Pennsylvania (now Gettysburg) College with the intention of becoming a physician, but he soon developed an interest in biology. He spent the summer of 1915 studying botany and bacteriology and taught these subjects as an assistant during his senior year. He received his B.S. degree in 1916 and remained at the college as an assistant and graduate student while also teaching Latin, Greek, and English at Gettysburg Academy. After receiving his M.S. degree in 1917, he enrolled in the graduate zoology program at Yale University but left a year later to enlist in the U.S. Army Medical Corps as a private. He spent World War I at the Army Medical School in Washington, D.C., testing and preparing typhoid vaccines....

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Streeter, George Linius (12 January 1873–27 July 1948), embryologist, was born in Johnstown, New York, the son of George Austin Streeter, a glove manufacturer, and Hannah Green Anthony. After graduating from Union College in Schenectady, New York, in 1895, Streeter attended Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, from which he received an M.D. in 1899. He held an internship at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City for a year, then became assistant to a neurologist in Albany, New York. Intending to become a clinical neurologist, he went in 1902 to Frankfurt, Germany, to study with anatomist Ludwig Edinger. This led to Streeter’s first two publications, both in the ...

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Twitty, Victor Chandler (05 November 1901–22 March 1967), embryologist and zoologist, was born near Shoals, Indiana, the son of John McMahon Twitty and Emma Chandler. Twitty grew up in southern Indiana but moved to Indianapolis with his family shortly after graduation from high school. After working for a year at a variety of jobs, he entered local Butler College in 1921 as a premedical student. Thoughts of a future in medicine were soon eclipsed by the more immediate lure of science, to which Twitty was introduced by several professors in the first semester of his freshman year. The move into science began with botany and led to a major in chemistry. Twitty could not recall later why he eventually settled on zoology. He graduated from Butler in 1925....

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Weiss, Paul Alfred (21 March 1898–08 September 1989), biologist, was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Carl S. Weiss, a successful businessman, and Rosalie Kohn. An uncle who was a lawyer stimulated young Paul’s interest in science, literature, and the arts. In 1918, after three years of army service, Weiss entered the University of Vienna to study law and engineering. He soon shifted his interest from law to biology but continued the study of engineering. He was awarded a Ph.D. in biology in 1922 for his dissertation “Animal Behavior as System Reaction.” His training in engineering strongly influenced his attitudes as a and throughout his career both his laboratory work and his thought were characterized by elegance and precision....

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Willier, Benjamin Harrison (02 November 1890–03 December 1972), embryologist and educator, was born near Weston, Wood County, Ohio, the son of David Willier, a farmer and banker, and Mary Alice Rickard. His childhood and early experiences were those of a country boy in the fundamentalist society of mid-America. He entered the College of Wooster in Ohio in 1912 and graduated with highest honors in biology in 1915. He taught biology for one year at Wooster before beginning graduate research in the Department of Zoology at the University of Chicago in 1916. His academic work was interrupted in 1918 by a brief period of military service in Washington, D.C. He returned to Chicago in 1919 and married Helen Beatrice Shipman, a teacher and his former college biology laboratory partner; they had two children. He completed his graduate research at the university under the direction of zoologist ...

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Wilson, Edmund Beecher (19 October 1856–03 March 1939), cytologist, embryologist, and geneticist, was born in Geneva, Illinois, the son of Isaac G. Wilson, a lawyer and judge, and Caroline Clarke. In 1859 Isaac Wilson was appointed circuit judge in Chicago, and he and Caroline left their three-year-old child, “Eddy,” with his maternal aunt, Mrs. Charles Patten, in Geneva. He viewed his childless aunt and her husband as a second set of parents....