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John L. Atlee. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B02018).

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Atlee, John Light (02 November 1799–01 October 1885), physician and surgeon, was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the son of Colonel William Pitt Atlee and Sarah Light. With the exception of the winter of 1813–1814, when he attended Gray and Wylie’s Academy in Philadelphia, he received his early schooling in Lancaster. In 1815 he began the study of medicine under Samuel Humes, continuing there while attending the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania; he received his M.D. in 1820. He returned to Lancaster to establish himself in practice and remained there for the rest of his life. In 1822 he married Sarah Howell Franklin, daughter of Judge Walter Franklin of Lancaster County; they had three children....

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Washington L. Atlee. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B02019).

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Atlee, Washington Lemuel (22 February 1808–06 September 1878), physician and surgeon, was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the son of Colonel William Pitt Atlee and Sarah Light. After an unsuccessful apprenticeship in a dry-goods store, he went at age sixteen to study medicine with his brother, ...

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Richard Bayley. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B02524).

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Bayley, Richard (1745–17 August 1801), physician and surgeon, was born in Fairfield, Connecticut. Little is known about his parents except that his mother was French, and his father was English. Indeed, it appears that little was known even to Bayley’s contemporaries. What is certain about Bayley is that he was an ambitious and innovative physician. After an early education that included French and the classics, he took an apprenticeship with the prestigious and fashionable New York physician John Charlton in 1766. Bayley studied with Charlton for three years; during that time he successfully courted and married his preceptor’s sister. They had children, but the precise number is uncertain. After completing his apprenticeship, Bayley wanted to put further polish on his medical education and in 1769 sailed to London to study with ...

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Bond, Thomas (03 May 1713–26 March 1784), physician and surgeon, was born in Calvert County, Maryland, the son of Richard Bond, a planter, and Elizabeth Benson Chew, the widow of Benjamin Chew. A birthright Quaker, Bond drifted away from the Society of Friends, was “dealt with … for taking an oath,” and was disowned, probably by 1742....

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Boylston, Zabdiel (09 March 1680–01 March 1766), surgeon and first physician to perform smallpox inoculation in America, was born in Muddy River (now Brookline) near Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Thomas Boylston, a physician and farmer, and Mary Gardner. He began studying medicine with his father, who died when Zabdiel was fifteen, after which he continued with John Cutler, a leading physician and surgeon in Boston. The fact that he never obtained a college education haunted him throughout his life but may have contributed to his strong drive to succeed....

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James Craik. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B04995).

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Craik, James (1730–06 February 1814), physician and military surgeon, was born on his father’s estate near Dumfries, Scotland, the son of Robert Craik, a member of the British Parliament; the name of his mother is unknown. Little information about his early life is available. Although his parents were apparently not married, he was acknowledged by his father, who assumed responsibility for his education. After studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh, he joined the British army as a surgeon. Shortly after being sent to the West Indies, he resigned his position and sailed for Virginia in 1751. After a short period in the Norfolk area, he moved to Winchester, Virginia....

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Curtis, Austin Maurice (15 January 1868–13 July 1939), physician and surgeon, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, the son of Alexander Curtis and Eleanora Patilla Smith. One of nine children, Curtis attended the Raleigh public schools and went north to college, graduating from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1888. He received his medical degree from Northwestern University in 1891 and became the first intern hired by Chicago’s fledgling Provident Hospital. The first voluntary black hospital, Provident opened the doors of its two-story frame building a few months before Curtis started his internship. Provident Hospital boasted an interracial medical staff as well as the first training school for black nurses. There Curtis formed alliances with two individuals who would influence the rest of his life. The first was ...

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Dandy, Walter Edward (06 April 1886–19 April 1946), physician and neurosurgeon, was born in Sedalia, Missouri, the son of John Dandy, a railroad engineer, and Rachel Kilpatrick. Dandy was raised in a fundamentalist sect, the Plymouth Brethren; as an adult he would give up these religious views as too strict. Dandy graduated as valedictorian of his high school class at the age of seventeen and went on to attend the University of Missouri at Columbia, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi, the national scientific honorary society, and graduated in 1907 as one of the “First Five.”...

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Dennis, Frederic Shepard (17 April 1850–08 March 1934), physician and surgeon, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Alfred Lewis Dennis, president of the New Jersey Railroad and Transportation Company, and Eliza Shepard. After attending the Winchester Institute in Winchester, Connecticut, and Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, Dennis took his A.B. degree from Yale College in 1872. He next attended the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, from which he received his M.D. in 1874. In contrast to his lackluster academic record at Yale, Dennis was valedictorian at Bellevue. During 1876 and 1877 he completed work for a second medical degree, this time granted by the Royal College of Surgeons in London. Before returning to New York City he toured several European clinics and laboratories, including visits to Joseph Lister, who taught him the theory and techniques of antiseptic surgery, and to Louis Pasteur, who introduced him to the nascent germ theory of disease. Dennis married Fannie Rockwell on 5 February 1880; they had no children....

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Dimock, Susan (24 April 1847–07 May 1875), physician and surgeon, was born in Washington, North Carolina, the daughter of Henry Dimock and Mary Malvina Owens. Her father, the son of a physician, was the editor of a small newspaper, while her mother, a strong influence in Dimock’s life, taught her at home and in a private school that she had organized. At age thirteen Dimock entered the Washington Academy, where she studied Latin and became interested in medicine. A family physician loaned her books and took her on house calls. The Civil War interrupted her studies when Washington became occupied by Union troops, forcing townspeople to evacuate. Her father died during the occupation, and with her mother, she traveled north to live with relatives in Sterling, Massachusetts. There she befriended Elizabeth Greene, the daughter of Colonel W. B. Greene, a wealthy Boston reformer. While teaching in a local school, Dimock became acquainted through Greene with Dr. ...

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Ferguson, Richard Babbington (1769–09 April 1853), physician and surgeon, was probably born in Londonderry, Ireland. His parents’ names are unknown. He immigrated to the United States with his family as a child and lived on the family farm in Frederick County, Virginia. Where or from whom he obtained his medical training is unknown; however, in 1802, as an experienced practitioner, he followed his cousin, ...

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Arthur Emanuel Hertzler Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Hertzler, Arthur Emanuel (25 July 1870–12 September 1946), physician, surgeon, and pathologist, was born in the Mennonite community of West Point, Iowa, the son of Daniel Hertzler, a farmer, and Hannah Krehbiel, the first Mennonite child born west of the Mississippi River. Hertzler’s parents grew to hold divergent religious beliefs, separating their family, according to Hertzler, “as completely broken as it would have been by divorce,” and leaving Hertzler a lifelong skeptic about organized religion....

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Hunter, William (1729?–30 January 1777), physician and surgeon, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Little is known about Hunter’s parents or early life. He claimed to be related to the famous Scottish surgeons William and John Hunter, but this claim cannot be confirmed. In 1745, at the age of sixteen, Hunter served as a surgeon’s mate at the battle of Culloden, the last gasp of the Jacobite factions determined to put Charles Stuart on the throne of England and Scotland. His participation on the losing side of this battle did not impede Hunter’s future career. Shortly after the battle, he enrolled in a course of medical studies at Edinburgh under the tutelage of the well-known anatomist Alexander Monro the elder. He also pursued studies as a nonmatriculated student at the University of Leyden....

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James Hutchinson. Engraving by Samuel Sartain. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B015490).

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Hutchinson, James (29 January 1752–06 September 1793), physician and surgeon, was born in Makefield Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the son of Randall Hutchinson, a farmer and stonemason, and Catherine Rickey. Both parents were plain country Friends (Quakers). Apprenticed at fifteen to the druggists Moses and Isaac Bartram, young Hutchinson in 1771 became the pupil of Cadwalader Evans, a Philadelphia physician. He served as apothecary of the Pennsylvania Hospital (1773–1775) and earned a bachelor of medicine degree from the College of Philadelphia in 1774. He spent a year (1775–1776) in London, where, encouraged by John Fothergill to prepare particularly for surgery, he became a pupil of Percivall Pott at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and attended the lectures and dissections of William Hunter and John Hunter. He returned home via France in March 1777, carrying dispatches from ...