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Walter C. Alvarez. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B029601).

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Alvarez, Walter Clement (22 July 1884–16 June 1978), physician, medical researcher, and medical columnist, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Luis Fernandez Alvarez, a physician, and Clementina Schuetze. When Alvarez was three, his family moved to Hawaii, where his father was a government physician in two isolated Oahu villages. Alvarez was eleven when his father established a Honolulu hospital for lepers and attempted to develop a serum to combat the disease. While assisting his father, Alvarez resolved to become a physician....

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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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Clara Barrus. At Woodchuck Lodge. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103953).

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Barrus, Clara (08 August 1864–04 April 1931), physician and author, was born in Port Byron, New York, the daughter of John William Barrus, a traveling salesman, and Sarah Randall, a schoolteacher. She began her education at the Port Byron Academy, where three years before her graduation she decided to become a physician. She felt women physicians were scarce and were needed to “treat modest girls who refused treatment from a man” ( ...

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Buchanan, Joseph Rodes (11 December 1814–26 December 1899), physician and author, was born in Frankfort, Kentucky, the son of Joseph Buchanan, a physician, and Nancy Rodes Garth. His father had a varied career as a physician and journalist and was one of the first faculty members at Transylvania University in Lexington. Upon his father’s death in 1829, Buchanan worked as both a printer and schoolteacher in Lexington. In 1835 he became acquainted with the “science” of phrenology formulated by the European investigators, Franz Joseph Gall and Johann Gaspar Spurzheim. Buchanan found phrenology to be a promising technique for investigating humanity’s moral and intellectual capacities and resolved to further his studies by entering medical school at the University of Louisville....

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Coxe, John Redman (16 September 1773–22 March 1864), physician, medical educator, and writer, was born in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of Daniel Coxe, an attorney, and Sarah Redman. Coxe’s father, a zealous Loyalist, moved to New York in 1777 and remained there through the course of the revolutionary war. John’s upbringing became the responsibility of his grandfather, ...

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Robley Dunglison. Engraving after a daguerreotype. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-98482).

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Dunglison, Robley (04 January 1798–01 April 1869), author, medical educator, and physiologist, was born in Keswick, Cumberland, England, the son of William Dunglison, a wool manufacturer, and Elizabeth Jackson. Dunglison attended Brisco Hill in Cumberland and Green Row Academy, where he obtained facility in Greek and Latin. Later he acquired fluency in French and German and cultivated his gift for writing. The death of a rich uncle thwarted the plan for him to become a planter in the West Indies....

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John Eberle. Bust by an unidentified artist. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B07690).

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Eberle, John (10 December 1787–02 February 1838), physician, teacher, and author, was born in Manor Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Little is known about Eberle’s parents or his early life, except that his father was a blacksmith and that he was about twelve years old before he could speak the English language. Of Pennsylvania Dutch descent, Eberle had a heavy German accent throughout his life. A lover of books from a young age, Eberle was probably self-taught in his early years....

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George Milbry Gould. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Gould, George Milbry (08 November 1848–08 August 1922), medical editor and writer, was born in Auburn, Maine, the son of George Thomas Gould and Eliza A. Lapham, professions unknown. His mother died when he was very young, and he moved with his father and stepmother to Salina, Ohio. He received his early education in the Salina public schools. In 1861, at the start of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Sixty-third Ohio Volunteers of the Union army as a drummer boy. He served for eighteen months before he was discharged because of illness. In 1864 he enlisted as a soldier in the 141st Ohio Volunteers and was discharged when the war ended. He attended Ohio Wesleyan University and graduated in 1873 with an A.B. To pay for his undergraduate education, Gould worked as a compositor in a printing shop. He left Ohio, entered the Harvard Divinity School, and graduated in 1874 with a bachelor of sacred theology degree, followed by postgraduate studies in Paris, Leipzig, and Berlin....

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Harris, Seale (13 March 1870–16 March 1957), physician and medical writer and editor, was born in Cedartown, Georgia, the son of Charles Hooks Harris, a medical doctor, and Margaret Ann Monk. Harris received his early education in Cedartown and nearby Marietta, Georgia. During these years he often drove his father’s horse and buggy to the homes of patients, where the majority of his father’s practice occurred. At age nineteen he was rodman on a team of engineers surveying in South Carolina for what became the Seaboard Air Line Railroad Co. During this time Seale received a letter from his brother James, who along with two other brothers offered to lend him money to attend the University of Georgia and then to obtain a medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. He finished his two years at Georgia but was frightened away from New York by a cholera scare. He entered the University of Virginia medical school in 1892, living there in a room previously occupied by ...

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Oliver Wendell Holmes. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B014846).

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Holmes, Oliver Wendell (29 August 1809–07 October 1894), physician, teacher of anatomy, and writer, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of the Reverend Abiel Holmes and Sarah Wendell, Abiel’s second wife. A quintessential Boston Brahmin, Oliver was descended on his mother’s side from the old Boston families of Jackson and Quincy and from early Dutch settlers; ...

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William E. Horner. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B015206).

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Horner, William Edmonds (03 June 1793–13 March 1853), physician, teacher, and author, was born in Warrenton, Fauquier County, Virginia, the son of William Horner, a merchant, and Mary Edmonds. Slender in build and frail in health as a child, Horner found companionship in books rather than in other children. At the age of twelve Horner was sent to the private academy in Warrenton of the Reverend Charles O’Neill, an Episcopalian clergyman, where he spent four years....

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Hutchinson, Woods (03 January 1862–26 April 1930), physician and author, was born in Selby, Yorkshire, England, the son of Charles Hutchinson and Elizabeth Woods. In 1874 he immigrated with his parents to the United States and settled in Iowa, first in Oskaloosa and later in Des Moines, where his father became an investment banker. He received his A.B. and A.M. from Oskaloosa’s Penn College in 1880 and 1883, respectively, and his M.D. from the University of Michigan in 1884. He spent the next two years studying medicine at the universities of London, Oxford, Vienna, and Berlin....