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Darlington, William (28 April 1782–23 April 1863), physician, botanist, and author, was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of Edward Darlington, a farmer who also found time to serve in the Pennsylvania legislature, and Hannah Townsend. Wanting to escape the drudgery of farm work that had restricted his schooling to a few winter months each year, at age eighteen Darlington persuaded his father to pay the necessary fees for his apprenticeship to study medicine with John Vaughan in Wilmington, Delaware. In return, his father required that he give up his inheritance of a share of the family farm....

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MacNeven, William James (21 March 1763–12 July 1841), physician, professor, and Irish-American nationalist, was born on a small estate in Ballynahowne, County Galway, Ireland, the son of James MacNeven and Rosa Dolphin. William’s mother died when he was young, and he and his three brothers were raised by their aunt. At age ten or eleven William was sent to Prague to live with his uncle Baron William O’Kelley MacNeven, a court physician to Empress Maria Theresa. Following a classical education, William attended university in Prague and went on to study medicine at the University of Vienna, from which he graduated in 1783. In 1784 MacNeven returned to Dublin, where he established a medical practice....

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Major, Ralph Hermon (29 August 1884–15 October 1970), physician and historian of medicine, was born in Clay County, Missouri, the son of John Sleet Major, a banker, and Virginia Anderson. After completing his A.B. degree at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, in 1902, he traveled in Europe for three years. There he became proficient in German, French, Italian, and Spanish, adding to his knowledge of Greek and Latin. Back in America, he studied medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, obtaining his M.D. degree in 1910. He remained at Johns Hopkins for two years of postgraduate training in internal medicine before returning to Europe to spend 1912–1913 at the clinic of Friedrich Müller in Munich, Germany....

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Osler, Sir William (12 July 1849–29 December 1919), physician, educator, and historian, was born in Bond Head, Ontario, Canada, the son of Featherstone Lake Osler, an Anglican priest, and Ellen Free Pickton, both of Cornwall, England. William’s father left Britain’s Royal Navy for an evangelical calling in the backwoods of early nineteenth-century Ontario. In 1837 the Oslers came to their new home in Bond Head, forty miles north of Toronto. The young Osler was a proficient scholar, caught in the common mid-nineteenth-century dichotomy between science and church. Ultimately, another Anglican priest, the Reverend W. A. Johnson, settled the matter by nourishing Osler’s interest in natural science. Microscopy replaced the ministry. As early as 1869, Osler’s first published work analyzed microscopic forms in a pond near his home....

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Rush, Benjamin (04 January 1746–19 April 1813), physician, professor of chemistry and of medicine, and social reformer, was born in Byberry Township, Pennsylvania, thirteen miles northeast of Philadelphia, the son of John Rush, a farmer and gunsmith, and Susanna Hall Harvey. John Rush died when Benjamin was five years old. His mother ran a grocery store to support the family. She sent Benjamin at age eight to live with an uncle by marriage, the Reverend Dr. ...