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Antony, Milton (07 August 1789–19 September 1839), physician and educator, was born presumably in Henry County, Virginia, the son of James Antony, Sr., a military officer, and Ann Tate. At sixteen, he became an apprentice under physician Joel Abbott of Monticello, Georgia. At nineteen he enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine but, owing to economic circumstances, had to leave without a diploma. He married Nancy Godwin in 1809. They had eleven children....

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Augusta, Alexander Thomas (08 March 1825–21 December 1890), physician and medical educator, was born a free African American in Norfolk, Virginia, to parents whose names and occupations are unknown. Augusta received his early education from a Bishop Payne, defying a law that forbade African Americans to read or write. He continued to improve his reading skills while working as an apprentice to a barber. His interest in medicine led him to relocate to Baltimore, Maryland, where he studied with private tutors. Eventually, Augusta moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to serve an apprenticeship. Although he was denied entry to the University of Pennsylvania, Augusta caught the attention of Professor ...

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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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John B. Beck. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B01427).

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Beck, John Brodhead (18 September 1794–09 April 1851), medical professor, was born in Schenectady, New York, the son of Caleb Beck, a lawyer, and Catharine Theresa Romeyn. Caleb Beck died in 1798, and Catharine Beck, powerfully committed to a thorough education for each of her five young sons, placed John in the home of her uncle, the Reverend John B. Romeyn, a Dutch Reformed theologian then living in Rhinebeck, New York. Under Romeyn’s tutelage, Beck studied classical languages....

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Theodric Romeyn Beck. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B02600).

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Beck, Theodric Romeyn (11 August 1791–19 November 1855), physician and professor, was born in Schenectady, New York, the son of Caleb Beck, a lawyer, and Catharine Theresa Romeyn, the daughter of the Reverend Derick Romeyn, a founder of Union College. After Caleb died in 1798, Catharine Beck assumed responsibility for raising their five sons....

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Blackwell, Elizabeth (03 February 1821–31 May 1910), physician, reformer, and medical educator, was born in Bristol, England, daughter of Samuel Blackwell, a prosperous sugar refiner, and Hannah Lane. Her father’s interest in abolitionism and in “perfectionist reform,” the belief that through education and spiritual regeneration human beings could achieve a just society on earth, coupled with a series of financial reversals, prompted a move to the United States in 1832 when Elizabeth was eleven....

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Blackwell, Emily (08 October 1826–07 September 1910), physician and medical educator, was born in Bristol, England, the daughter of Samuel Blackwell, a prosperous sugar refiner, and Hannah Lane. Her father moved his family to the United States when Emily was five, primarily because of his interest in abolitionism, perfectionism, and reform. Although Samuel died in 1838, his children inherited his activist legacy: ...

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James Lawrence Cabell. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B04041).

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Cabell, James Lawrence (26 August 1813–13 August 1889), teacher of medicine and sanitarian, was born in Nelson County, Virginia, the son of George Cabell, a physician, and Susanna Wyatt. George Cabell’s brother Joseph was a founder of the University of Virginia. In 1839 James Cabell married Margaret Gibbons. They had no children of their own but did adopt two nieces....

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Charles Caldwell. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B04072).

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Caldwell, Charles (14 May 1772–09 July 1853), physician, author, and teacher, was born in Caswell County, North Carolina, the son of Charles Caldwell, a farmer. His mother’s maiden name was Murray, although her given name is unknown. Caldwell’s father was an elder in the Presbyterian church and wanted Charles to become a minister. Accordingly, from the age of eleven to fourteen, Caldwell studied Latin and classical literature at a Latin school operated by Dominie Harris in Mecklenburg County. By the time Caldwell left Harris’s school, however, he had decided against a religious career....

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Chaillé, Stanford Emerson (09 July 1830–27 May 1911), physician, medical educator, and sanitarian, was born in Natchez, Mississippi, the son of William Hamilton Chaillé, a planter, and Mary Eunice Stanford. Chaillé’s father died when he was six, and after his mother’s death in 1844 he went to live with relatives in Boston. He graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, and attended Harvard University, where he received his B.A. in 1851 and his M.A. in 1854....

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Nathaniel Chapman. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B04509).

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Chapman, Nathaniel (28 May 1780–01 July 1853), physician and medical educator, was born in Fairfax County, Virginia, the son of George Chapman and Amelia Macrae. As a youth Chapman attended the Classical Academy in Alexandria, founded by George Washington. In 1795 he began his medical studies under the tutelage of John Weems and then of ...

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Cooke, John Esten (02 March 1783–19 October 1853), physician and educator, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Stephen Cooke, a revolutionary war surgeon and Virginia physician, and Catherine Esten. Cooke began his study of medicine under his father and concluded his studies at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1805. He established successful practices first in Warrenton, Fauquier County, Virginia, and later in Winchester, Virginia. During this time he married Lucy Beale; they had ten children. Cooke gained prominence for his singular theory of medicine, namely, that all diseases had a universal cause—cold and miasmata (foul air). This “universal cause,” if left untreated, would result in congestion of the vena cava and its branches, affect the heart and especially the liver, and ultimately bring on death. Diseases such as cholera, yellow fever, typhus, and others were merely manifestations of this universal cause. Once Cooke had reduced all diseases to a universal cause, he looked for and found what he considered a universal treatment. Calomel (mercurous chloride), assisted by other purgatives, if taken in sufficient quantity, would, he believed, cure all. “If calomel did not salivate and opium did not constipate,” he said, “there is no telling what we could do in the practice of physic” ( ...

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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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Dana, Israel Thorndike (06 June 1827–13 April 1904), physician, was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Dana, a Congregational pastor, and Henrietta Bridge. The product of a financially secure and learned family, Dana entered a two-year apprenticeship in a Boston counting house at the age of seventeen. In 1847 he began the study of medicine at Harvard, where he took his first, third, and fourth course of lectures and received an M.D. in 1850. His second course of lectures was taken at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. After graduation he studied medicine for two years in Europe, principally in Dublin and Paris....