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Byford, William Heath (20 March 1817–21 May 1890), gynecologist and advocate of medical education for women, was born in Eaton, Ohio, the son of Henry Byford, a mechanic, and Hannah Swain. Henry Byford moved his family to southwestern Indiana shortly after William’s birth and died there nine years later. Young William did odd jobs to help out, but about 1830 Hannah Byford had to move the family to her father’s farm in Crawford County, Illinois. During the next few years William often asked to be allowed to learn a trade to help support the family and improve his own prospects. He finally became apprenticed to a tailor, who moved away two years later. At this time William decided on medicine for his career, although he never mentioned the reason. His reading and studies in chemistry, physiology, and natural history may have steered him in this direction....

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Chadwick, James Read (02 November 1844–23 September 1905), gynecologist and medical librarian, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Christopher Champlin Chadwick and Louisa Read, the daughter of a well-to-do Boston merchant. James was named after his grandfather, with whom in 1844 his father entered into partnership as domestic goods commission merchants, the firm of Read and Chadwick then commencing a period of great prosperity. James Read Chadwick was educated in the Boston schools and at Harvard College, graduating with an A.B. in 1865. After an extended trip abroad, he entered the Harvard Medical School in 1867 and received an M.D. in 1871, submitting a thesis on tracheotomy, as illustrated by cases in the records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. That same year he married Katherine M. Lyman, daughter of Dr. George H. Lyman, one of the pioneers in Boston in treating the diseases of women, a field in which Chadwick then began to train. The couple had four children....

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Dickinson, Robert Latou (21 February 1861–29 November 1950), gynecologist and sexologist, was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, the son of Horace Dickinson, a hat manufacturer, and Jeannette Latou. During Dickinson’s childhood the family business was located in Brooklyn, New York, where the Dickinsons and Latous were civic and cultural leaders. Dickinson enjoyed a privileged childhood in Brooklyn Heights, with summers on an uncle’s Connecticut farm. When he was twelve, his father took the family to Europe for four years, during which the children were privately tutored and attended schools in Switzerland and Germany. The Dickinsons returned to the United States in 1876. Robert entered Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and completed the equivalent of the last years of high school in 1879....

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Emmet, Thomas Addis (29 May 1828–01 March 1919), surgeon and gynecologist, was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, the son of John Patten Emmet, a professor of natural history at the University of Virginia, and Mary Boyd Tucker. Emmet briefly attended the University of Virginia in 1845. However, he was more interested in natural history and hiking in the woods than in attending classes, and he was asked to withdraw. Nonetheless, during his early years in Charlottesville, Emmet was greatly influenced by ...

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Howard Atwood Kelly. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Kelly, Howard Atwood (20 February 1858–12 January 1943), surgeon, gynecologist, and medical biographer, was born in Camden, New Jersey, the son of Henry Kuhl Kelly, a prosperous sugar broker, and Louise Warner Hard, the daughter of an Episcopal clergyman. During his youth, Kelly’s mother instilled in him a love of the Bible and the natural sciences. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, receiving the A.B. in 1877. Kelly originally intended to become a naturalist, but his father persuaded him to study medicine so that he would have a more secure income. In 1882 he received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He then served sixteen months as resident physician at the Episcopal Hospital in Kensington, a Philadelphia suburb with many poor. In 1883, upon completion of his internship, Kelly established a two-room “hospital,” which by 1887 evolved into the Kensington Hospital for Women and was supported by voluntary contributions. In 1888 Kelly performed the first caesarean section in Philadelphia in fifty years in which the mother survived. Among his colleagues this did much to enhance his reputation as a bold and skillful surgeon. During the year 1888–1889 he served as associate professor of obstetrics at the School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania....

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Franklin Henry Martin. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Martin, Franklin Henry (13 July 1857–07 March 1935), surgeon, organizer, and editor, was born on a farm near Ixonia, Wisconsin, the son of Edmond Martin and Josephine Carlin, farmers. Martin’s father died in the Union army in 1862. Five years later his mother remarried, and young Martin was put under the care of his maternal grandparents. After passing the teacher’s examination, he taught at several village schools....

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Meigs, Charles Delucena (19 February 1792–22 June 1869), physician and teacher, was born in St. George, Bermuda, the son of Josiah Meigs, an editor, educator, and lawyer, and Clara Benjamin. Josiah, although born and raised in Connecticut, was serving as a proctor in the English courts of admiralty in Bermuda when Meigs, the fifth of ten children, was born. The family moved back to Connecticut in 1794, and soon thereafter Meigs’s father was elected professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at Yale College. After six years in New Haven, the family moved to Athens, Georgia, when the father was appointed president of the University of Georgia....

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Morris, John McLean (01 September 1914–08 April 1993), reproductive biologist and physician, was born in Kuling, China, the son of DuBois Morris, a Presbyterian missionary and pastor of Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, and Alice Buell. The suffering and cruelty Morris witnessed in China as a child had a lasting influence on his life. He later spoke of seeing people stepping over the bodies of the dead and dying in the streets. His interest in women’s health and reproductive issues stemmed from the widespread infanticide of baby girls he saw in China....

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Theophilus Parvin. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Parvin, Theophilus (09 January 1829–29 January 1898), obstetrician and gynecologist, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the son of Theophilus Parvin, a minister-missionary, and Mary Rodney. His mother was the daughter of Caesar Augustus Rodney, U.S. attorney general in the cabinets of Presidents ...

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Sims, J. Marion (25 January 1813–12 November 1883), pioneer gynecologist, was born James Marion Sims in Lancaster, South Carolina, the son of John Sims, a farmer and hotel keeper, and Mahala Mackey. He was educated at South Carolina College, where he received a B.A. in 1832. He decided to enter medicine and began by apprenticing to a local doctor, Churchill Jones. After attending lectures at the Medical College of Charleston, he obtained his medical diploma from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia in 1835. Sims launched his practice in Mount Meigs, Alabama, and in 1836 married Eliza Theresa Jones. In 1849 the couple settled with their extended family in Montgomery, Alabama. They had at least five children....

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Skene, Alexander Johnston Chalmers (17 June 1837–04 July 1900), gynecologist and professor of medicine, was born in Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the son of Johnston Skene and Jean McConachie. He was educated in local schools and then attended King’s College in Aberdeen (now part of the university) before emigrating to North America at the age of nineteen. He studied medicine in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1860, and at the University of Michigan in 1861 and 1862; he then went to New York and earned his M.D. degree from the Long Island College Hospital Medical School, Brooklyn, in 1863. Immediately afterward, during the Civil War, Skene served for a year in South Carolina as an assistant surgeon with the Union volunteer corps. He later renewed his military connections when, in 1884 and 1885, he was surgeon on the staff of the commander of the New York State National Guard....

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Storer, Horatio Robinson (27 February 1830–18 September 1922), pioneer gynecologist and anti-abortion crusader, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of David Humphreys Storer, a prominent naturalist and medical professor, and Abby Jane Brewer. His father had written on the fishes of Massachusetts and North America, helped establish the Tremont Street Medical School in Boston, and eventually taught obstetrics and medical jurisprudence at Harvard Medical School. Storer followed remarkably similar professional interests....

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Taussig, Frederick Joseph (26 October 1872–21 August 1943), gynecologist, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Joseph S. Taussig, a banker, and Mary L. Cuno. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and graduated from Harvard University with an A.B. in 1893 and from the Washington University Medical School in St. Louis in 1898. Following medical school he interned in St. Louis and then studied gynecology in Berlin and Vienna. In 1902 he set up a private practice in St. Louis, where he resided for the remainder of his career. In the same year he joined the staff of the Washington University Medical School, achieving the rank of professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology in 1911. He married Florence Gottschalk in 1907; they had two children. He was elected president of the American Gynecological Society (1936–1937), and he became a director of the American Society for the Control of Cancer in 1938....

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Van De Warker, Edward Ely (27 November 1841–05 September 1910), gynecologist, was born in West Troy (later Watervliet), New York, the son of Martin P. Van de Warker, a farmer, and Lydia Myra Ely, a schoolteacher. Van de Warker attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 1859 he entered Albany Medical College, receiving an M.D. from that institution four years later. During the Civil War he served as assistant surgeon and then surgeon in the 162d New York Volunteers. He served as post surgeon on General Francis Fessenden’s staff at Winchester, Virginia, and later as medical director of the First Provision Division of Georgia under General W. Dwight. He was mustered out at Savannah, Georgia, on 12 October 1865 with the rank of major....