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Nathan Allen. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B01026).

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Allen, Nathan (25 April 1813–01 January 1889), physician, social reformer, and public health advocate, was born in Princeton, Massachusetts, the son of Moses Allen and Mehitable Oliver, farmers. He spent his first seventeen years on the family farm, learning to work hard and to follow the Christian principles of his parents. He could not afford a higher education, but a friend in Leicester helped pay his tuition at Amherst Academy and then at Amherst College, where he matriculated in 1832, graduating in 1836....

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Biggs, Hermann Michael (29 September 1859–28 June 1923), pathologist, bacteriologist, physician, and public health official, was born in Trumansburg, New York, the son of Joseph Hunt Biggs and Melissa Pratt. Dr. Biggs married Frances M. Richardson, of Hornellsville, New York, in 1898; they had two children. Biggs received his primary education in Ithaca, New York, and matriculated into Cornell University, where he received the bachelor of arts degree in 1882. From Cornell Biggs went on to medical school at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, where he received his M.D. the following year. He spent the next eighteen months (1882–1883) in the postgraduate course at Bellevue, where he served as a rotating intern and resident physician. Upon completion of this course, Biggs traveled to Europe and spent the next two years (1883–1885) studying bacteriology in Berlin and Griefswald. When he returned to New York City in 1886, Biggs was made director of the newly opened Carnegie Bacteriology Laboratory of the Bellevue Hospital. His rise in academic rank was meteoric; appointed a lecturer in pathology in 1886, Biggs was made a full professor of pathology in 1889, professor of materia medica (pharmacology) in 1892, professor of therapeutics in 1898, and professor of medicine in 1912....

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John Shaw Billings. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library and Museum, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Billings, John Shaw (12 April 1838–11 March 1913), army medical officer, library organizer, and public health activist, was born near Allensville, Indiana, the son of James Billings, a farmer and storekeeper, and Abby Shaw. Despite spotty secondary schooling, he ultimately went to Miami College (Ohio), where he earned his B.A. in 1857. He was awarded the M.D. by the Medical College of Ohio in 1860. Billings remained with the latter institution for a year as an anatomical demonstrator, but after the outbreak of the Civil War he joined the U.S. Army as a contract surgeon. In 1862 he was commissioned first lieutenant and assistant surgeon and went on to make army service his career. Also in 1862 he married Katharine Mary Stevens; they had five children....

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Bowditch, Henry Ingersoll (09 August 1808–14 January 1892), physician, public hygienist, and abolitionist, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel Bowditch, a mathematician and astronomer, and Mary Ingersoll. Raised in a patrician family, Bowditch, who received his early education at the Salem Private Grammar School and Boston Public Latin School, graduated from Harvard College in 1828. He then studied at the Harvard Medical School and supplemented its didactic lectures by serving in 1831–1832 as house officer at the Massachusetts General Hospital....

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Herman N. Bundesen. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B03896).

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Bundesen, Herman Niels (27 April 1882–15 August 1960), physician, author, and politician, was born in Berlin, Germany, the son of a Danish father and a German mother whose identities are unknown. Brought to Chicago at an early age by his impoverished, widowed mother, he graduated from Northwestern University Medical School in 1909. Also in 1909 he married Rega Russell; they had six children....

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Crumbine, Samuel Jay (17 September 1862–12 July 1954), physician and public health reformer, was born in Venango County, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel Jacob Krumbine and Sarah Mull. Crumbine’s father, a blacksmith and small-scale farmer, served in the 101st Pennsylvania Infantry during the Civil War, was captured, and died in Libby Prison. Crumbine and his mother lived with his maternal grandmother until, at the age of eight, he entered the Soldiers Orphan School in Mercer, Pennsylvania. Because schoolmates called him “Crummie,” he began spelling his last name with a ...

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Flick, Lawrence Francis (10 August 1856–07 July 1938), physician, historian, and early leader in the campaign against tuberculosis, was born in Carroll Township, Cambria County, Pennsylvania, the son of John Flick, a mill owner and farmer, and Elizabeth Schabacher (changed to Sharbaugh). Flick grew up on the family farm, but poor health excused him from the usual chores. A bookish boy and a devout Roman Catholic, he first attended local schools. For most of his teenage years, he studied at St. Vincent’s, a Benedictine college in Beatty (now Latrobe), Pennsylvania, but symptoms suggesting tuberculosis cut short his classwork, and he returned home. After a period of indecision and various jobs, he entered Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and graduated in 1879. He then completed an internship at Philadelphia Hospital and opened an office for the practice of medicine. His persisting illness, however, was finally diagnosed as tuberculosis and, following his physicians’ advice, he traveled to the West for his health. By 1883, improvement allowed him to resume his practice, which soon included increasing numbers of patients with tuberculosis. “When I recovered from tuberculosis as a young man,” he wrote, “I consecrated my life to the welfare of those afflicted with the disease and to the protection of those who had not yet contracted it” ( ...

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Harrington, Thomas Francis (10 June 1866–19 January 1919), physician and public health educator, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, the son of Thomas Harrington and Mary Callaghan. In October 1885, following graduation from Lowell High School, he matriculated at the Harvard Medical School, enrolling at a time when the college degree was not yet a requirement for admission. He graduated in the class of 1888 and continued his medical education for another year in Europe, at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin and at the Children’s Hospital in London, and in Paris and Vienna. Late in 1889 he established a medical practice in his native Lowell, focusing on internal medicine, including pediatrics and gynecology. Harrington held appointments as visiting physician to St. John’s Hospital for fifteen years and as consulting physician for three years afterward. In 1891 he married Mary I. Dempsey of Lowell,with whom he had three sons....

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Hutchinson, Woods (03 January 1862–26 April 1930), physician and author, was born in Selby, Yorkshire, England, the son of Charles Hutchinson and Elizabeth Woods. In 1874 he immigrated with his parents to the United States and settled in Iowa, first in Oskaloosa and later in Des Moines, where his father became an investment banker. He received his A.B. and A.M. from Oskaloosa’s Penn College in 1880 and 1883, respectively, and his M.D. from the University of Michigan in 1884. He spent the next two years studying medicine at the universities of London, Oxford, Vienna, and Berlin....

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McClennan, Alonzo Clifton (01 May 1855–04 October 1912), black physician and professional leader, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, the orphaned son of unknown parents. As with many African Americans of the post–Civil War era, it was Reconstruction that gave McClennan a chance at larger life. In 1872, at the height of the movement in South Carolina (and thanks to the influence of a guardian-uncle), he became a page in the black-dominated state senate. There he won the notice and friendship of influential legislator ...

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Parrish, Joseph (11 November 1818–15 January 1891), physician, philanthropist, and pioneering advocate of the medical treatment of alcoholism, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Parrish, Sr., a prominent Quaker physician, and Susanna Cox. Educated at the Friends’ schools in Philadelphia and by private tutors, Parrish subsequently earned his M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in 1844. Following graduation, he established himself in private practice in Burlington, New Jersey. There, in 1848, he founded and edited the ...

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Poindexter, Hildrus Augustus (10 May 1901–20 April 1987), physician, microbiologist, and public health specialist, was born on a farm near Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Fred Poindexter and Luvenia Gilberta Clarke, tenant farmers. After attending the normal (teacher training) department of Swift Memorial College, a Presbyterian school for blacks in Rogersville, Tennessee (1916–1920), he entered Lincoln University (Pa.) and graduated with an A.B. cum laude in 1924. Also in 1924 he married Ruth Viola Grier, with whom he would have one child, a daughter. He attended Dartmouth Medical School for two years before earning an M.D. at Harvard University in 1929, an A.M. in bacteriology at Columbia University in 1930, a Ph.D. in bacteriology and parasitology at Columbia in 1932, and an M.P.H. from Columbia in 1937....

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Richards, Dickinson Woodruff (30 October 1895–23 February 1973), physician and scientist, was born in Orange, New Jersey, the son of Dickinson Woodruff Richards, a lawyer, and Sally Lambert. He attended the Hotchkiss School, where he registered a remarkable scholarly performance, excelling in Greek. He received an A.B. in 1917 from Yale University, where again he chalked up an impressive record. Shortly after graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served with the American Expeditionary Force in France in 1918. After the war he received an M.A. in physiology from Columbia University in 1922 and an M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1923. His internship and residency in medicine at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York were followed by a one-year fellowship at the National Institute for Medical Research in London, where he worked with Sir Henry Dale, learning the basics of scientific medicine and clinical investigation. He returned in 1928 to the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, where he served as an attending physician and teacher until 1945. In 1931 he married Constance Riley; the couple had four daughters....

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Eric G. Swedin and Michelle E. Osborn

Richards, Paul Snelgrove (25 November 1892–20 November 1958), physician, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, the son of Willard Brigham Richards and Louise Snelgrove, farmers. Overcoming serious childhood ailments, inflammatory rheumatism, and stammering, Richards served a proselytizing mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Scotland in 1911–1912. Although diphtheria cut his mission short, he had, through the experience, overcome his stammering and acquired an eagerness for education. He married Ethel Bennion in September 1916; they had three children. Richards graduated from Harvard University with an M.D. in 1920, interned at Cincinnati General Hospital in 1920–1921, and served residencies in obstetrics and gynecology at Boston Free Hospital for Women and Boston Lying-in Hospital in 1921–1922....

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Seaman, Valentine (02 April 1773– July 1817), physician, surgeon, and public health advocate, was born at North Hempstead, Long Island, New York, the son of Willet Seaman, a merchant, and Martha Valentine. Seaman studied medicine with Nicholas Romayne in New York City, after which he worked in the city almshouse as a resident physician to gain further training. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with the M.D. degree in 1792. Upon graduation his inaugural dissertation, on the uses and clinical effects of opium, was published. It was dedicated to Adam Kuhn, professor of the practice of physic, and ...

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Shakespeare, Edward Oram (19 May 1846–01 June 1900), physician, bacteriologist, and public health advocate, was born in New Castle County, Delaware, the son of William McIntire Shakespeare and Catherine Haman. Shakespeare’s eulogists omit reference to his parent’s occupations but mention that he was a descendant of English dramatist William Shakespeare’s brother and that his family had been established in Delaware for several generations at the time of his birth. Shakespeare attended Reynolds’ Classical Academy in Dover, Delaware. While an undergraduate at Dickinson College, Shakespeare served as an apprentice to two physicians in Dover. After earning an A.B. in 1867, he entered medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1869. He then spent less than five years in partnership with Isaac Jurup, “an old established physician of large practice” in Dover (Watson, p. 163) before returning to Philadelphia, where he remained an active member of the medical scene until his death. He had a number of institutional affiliations, but none occupied him full time or defined his career. In 1889 he married Mary Louise Baird, the daughter of an officer of the Baldwin Locomotive Works; they had two children....

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Smith, James (1771–12 June 1841), physician, was born in Elkton, Cecil County, Maryland, the son of Martha and David Smith, an attorney and register of wills of the county. After graduating from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 1792, Smith attended lectures in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania but did not take a medical degree. He had begun to practice medicine in Baltimore when, in 1797, yellow fever broke out, and he was assigned by the city’s board of health to a temporary hospital erected for the care of victims. On the return of the fever three years later, when 1,197 deaths were recorded, Smith opened his own house to patients. In the epidemic of 1819–1820 he advocated sanitary measures to combat the disease....