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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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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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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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Kelly, Aloysius Oliver Joseph (13 June 1870–23 February 1911), physician, medical educator, and writer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Vincent Kelly, a physician and superintendent of St. Mary’s Hospital, and Emma Jane Ferguson. Little is known about his childhood. He received his A.B. degree from LaSalle College, Philadelphia, in 1888 at the age of eighteen, and three years later the school awarded him a Master of Arts degree. After college he enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and he graduated with an M.D. in 1891. He was then appointed to a one-year residency at the St. Agnes Hospital in Philadelphia. From 1892 to 1894 he studied in Vienna, Heidelberg, Dublin, Prague, and London with such notable physicians as Franz Chvostek, Anton Weichselbaum, and Arnold Paltauf....

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Smith, Elihu Hubbard (04 September 1771–19 September 1798), medical practitioner, man of letters, and founder of the first national American medical journal, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the son of Reuben Smith, a physician, and Abigail Hubbard. Smith entered Yale College at the age of eleven and received a B.A. in 1786. He spent an additional year in academic study under ...