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Walter C. Alvarez. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B029601).

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Alvarez, Walter Clement (22 July 1884–16 June 1978), physician, medical researcher, and medical columnist, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Luis Fernandez Alvarez, a physician, and Clementina Schuetze. When Alvarez was three, his family moved to Hawaii, where his father was a government physician in two isolated Oahu villages. Alvarez was eleven when his father established a Honolulu hospital for lepers and attempted to develop a serum to combat the disease. While assisting his father, Alvarez resolved to become a physician....

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Franklin Bache. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B01320).

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Bache, Franklin (25 October 1792–19 March 1864), physician, chemist, and author, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Benjamin Franklin Bache, a noted anti-Federalist journalist, and Margaret Hartman Markoe Bache. Franklin Bache’s grandmother, Sarah Franklin Bache, was Benjamin Franklin’s daughter. He received a classical education in the academy of the Reverend Samuel D. Wylie and was awarded both his A.B. in 1810 and his M.D. in 1814 by the University of Pennsylvania. He studied medicine privately with ...

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Buchanan, Joseph Rodes (11 December 1814–26 December 1899), physician and author, was born in Frankfort, Kentucky, the son of Joseph Buchanan, a physician, and Nancy Rodes Garth. His father had a varied career as a physician and journalist and was one of the first faculty members at Transylvania University in Lexington. Upon his father’s death in 1829, Buchanan worked as both a printer and schoolteacher in Lexington. In 1835 he became acquainted with the “science” of phrenology formulated by the European investigators, Franz Joseph Gall and Johann Gaspar Spurzheim. Buchanan found phrenology to be a promising technique for investigating humanity’s moral and intellectual capacities and resolved to further his studies by entering medical school at the University of Louisville....

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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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John Eberle. Bust by an unidentified artist. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B07690).

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Eberle, John (10 December 1787–02 February 1838), physician, teacher, and author, was born in Manor Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Little is known about Eberle’s parents or his early life, except that his father was a blacksmith and that he was about twelve years old before he could speak the English language. Of Pennsylvania Dutch descent, Eberle had a heavy German accent throughout his life. A lover of books from a young age, Eberle was probably self-taught in his early years....

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Harris, Seale (13 March 1870–16 March 1957), physician and medical writer and editor, was born in Cedartown, Georgia, the son of Charles Hooks Harris, a medical doctor, and Margaret Ann Monk. Harris received his early education in Cedartown and nearby Marietta, Georgia. During these years he often drove his father’s horse and buggy to the homes of patients, where the majority of his father’s practice occurred. At age nineteen he was rodman on a team of engineers surveying in South Carolina for what became the Seaboard Air Line Railroad Co. During this time Seale received a letter from his brother James, who along with two other brothers offered to lend him money to attend the University of Georgia and then to obtain a medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. He finished his two years at Georgia but was frightened away from New York by a cholera scare. He entered the University of Virginia medical school in 1892, living there in a room previously occupied by ...

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Oliver Wendell Holmes. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B014846).

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Holmes, Oliver Wendell (29 August 1809–07 October 1894), physician, teacher of anatomy, and writer, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of the Reverend Abiel Holmes and Sarah Wendell, Abiel’s second wife. A quintessential Boston Brahmin, Oliver was descended on his mother’s side from the old Boston families of Jackson and Quincy and from early Dutch settlers; ...

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William E. Horner. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B015206).

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Horner, William Edmonds (03 June 1793–13 March 1853), physician, teacher, and author, was born in Warrenton, Fauquier County, Virginia, the son of William Horner, a merchant, and Mary Edmonds. Slender in build and frail in health as a child, Horner found companionship in books rather than in other children. At the age of twelve Horner was sent to the private academy in Warrenton of the Reverend Charles O’Neill, an Episcopalian clergyman, where he spent four years....

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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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Kelly, Aloysius Oliver Joseph (13 June 1870–23 February 1911), physician, medical educator, and writer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Vincent Kelly, a physician and superintendent of St. Mary’s Hospital, and Emma Jane Ferguson. Little is known about his childhood. He received his A.B. degree from LaSalle College, Philadelphia, in 1888 at the age of eighteen, and three years later the school awarded him a Master of Arts degree. After college he enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and he graduated with an M.D. in 1891. He was then appointed to a one-year residency at the St. Agnes Hospital in Philadelphia. From 1892 to 1894 he studied in Vienna, Heidelberg, Dublin, Prague, and London with such notable physicians as Franz Chvostek, Anton Weichselbaum, and Arnold Paltauf....

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Lee, Charles Alfred (03 March 1801–14 February 1872), physician and author, was born in Salisbury, Connecticut, the son of Samuel Lee and Elizabeth Brown, farmers. Lee attended Williams College, from which he received a B.A. in 1822 and later an M.A. After studying medicine under his brother-in-law, Luther Ticknor, he received an M.D. from the Berkshire Medical College in 1825. While a student at Berkshire, he served at times as a demonstrator in anatomy and an instructor in botany....

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Palmer, Alonzo Benjamin (06 October 1815–23 December 1887), physician, teacher, and author, was born in Richfield, Otsego County, New York, the son of Benjamin Palmer and Anna Layton, farmers. Although his father died when he was nine years old, Palmer obtained an adequate early education in Oswego, Otsego, and Herkimer. He studied medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the western district of New York at Fairfield, Herkimer County, from which he graduated in 1839....

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Smith, Elihu Hubbard (04 September 1771–19 September 1798), medical practitioner, man of letters, and founder of the first national American medical journal, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the son of Reuben Smith, a physician, and Abigail Hubbard. Smith entered Yale College at the age of eleven and received a B.A. in 1786. He spent an additional year in academic study under ...

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Terry, Charles Edward (14 February 1878–18 February 1945), public health physician and writer, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Clarence Terry, a Travelers Insurance Company clerk, and Emma Buck. Terry’s father suffered from tuberculosis and moved to Colorado, Florida, and then Georgia in a vain effort to regain his health. He died in Georgia in 1886....

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Wood, George Bacon (13 March 1797–30 March 1879), physician and medical author and teacher, was born in Greenwich, New Jersey, the son of Richard Wood and Elizabeth Bacon, farmers. In 1815 he received an A.B. degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He began his studies in medicine with ...