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Benjamin, Harry (12 January 1885–24 August 1986), physician, endocrinologist, and sex researcher, was born in Berlin, Germany, the son of Julius Benjamin, a banker, and Bertha Hoffman. He became interested in human sexuality at the age of twenty, when he read August Forel’s ...

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Bevan, Arthur Dean (09 August 1861–10 June 1943), surgeon and reformer of medical education, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Thomas Bevan, a physician, and Sarah Elizabeth Ramsey. After attending high school in Chicago, Bevan earned his Ph.B. at Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School in 1881. He then entered Rush Medical College in Chicago and obtained his M.D. in 1883. He finished first in the competitive examination for the U.S. Marine Hospital Service....

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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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Dickson, Samuel Henry (20 September 1798–31 March 1872), physician, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Samuel Dickson and Mary Neilson, Presbyterians of Scotch-Irish descent who had emigrated from Belfast, Ireland, before the American Revolution. Dickson received his early education from his father, a schoolteacher, and at private schools in Charleston. At the age of thirteen he entered Yale College as a sophomore and graduated with a B.A. in 1814 a few days before his sixteenth birthday....

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James, Thomas C. (31 August 1766–05 July 1835), physician and teacher, was born Thomas Chalkley James in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Abel James, a merchant, and Rebecca Chalkley. The son of devout Quaker parents, James was named after his maternal grandfather, Thomas Chalkley, an eminent Quaker writer and minister. His father, one of Philadelphia’s leading merchants, was a member of the Provincial Assembly, a friend of ...

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James, William (11 January 1842–26 August 1910), philosopher and psychologist, was born in New York City, the son of Henry James (1811–1882), a philosopher and religious writer, and Mary Robertson Walsh. His grandfather, William James of Albany, a penniless immigrant from Ireland, became one of the richest men in New York State by exploiting a new method of extracting salt and speculating in land along the Erie Canal. His son Henry James used his inheritance to lead a life of the mind, devoting himself to metaphysics in the grand style and publishing a number of books and essays on the relations between God and man, influenced by the Swedish seer, Emanuel Swedenborg. Henry James suffered extensive financial losses, and his five children, although heirs to some commercial property in Syracuse, New York, had to concern themselves with making a living. Besides William, there were the novelist ...

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Masters, William Howell (27 December 1915–16 February 2001), physician, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Francis W. Masters and Estabrooks Taylor Masters. Details of his family background are unknown beyond the fact that Masters grew up in comfortable financial circumstances. Young Masters attended school in Kansas City, Missouri. At fourteen he was sent to board at Lawrenceville, a noted preparatory school in New Jersey. Upon graduation he entered Hamilton College in the fall of 1934. Masters was an excellent student, specializing in science; he was also a skilled debater and a proficient and versatile athlete, active on varsity teams in football, baseball, basketball, and track. After receiving a B.S. degree with honors in 1938, Masters enrolled at the University of Rochester Medical School. In his first year he came under the influence of his anatomy professor, ...

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Middleton, William Shainline (07 January 1890–09 September 1975), medical educator and administrator, was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, the son of Daniel Shephard Middleton, a grocer and wholesale confectioner, and Ann Sophia Shainline. He received an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1911. While at Pennsylvania, he developed an interest in the history of his profession through contact with John G. Clark, professor of gynecology, and David Riesman, professor of clinical medicine and later professor of the history of medicine....

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Morton, Samuel George (26 January 1799–15 May 1851), physician and physical anthropologist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of George Morton, a merchant, and Jane Cummings. His father died soon after his birth, and his mother moved her family to West Farms, in Westchester County, New York, where Morton attended Quaker schools. On her remarriage in 1812 (to Thomas Rogers, an amateur mineralogist), the family returned to Philadelphia, where Morton continued to attend Quaker schools until 1815, when he was apprenticed to a merchant. His teachers—notably John Gummere of Burlington, New Jersey—and stepfather encouraged his continuing interest in things scientific, and in 1817 (at his mother’s death) Morton began studying medicine privately with Philadelphia physician ...

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Nott, Josiah Clark (31 March 1804–31 March 1873), physician and racial theorist, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, the son of Abraham Nott, a U.S. Congressman, and Angelica Mitchell. Nott was brought up and educated in Columbia and on his father’s plantation in Union District. He graduated from South Carolina College in 1824. While there, he was strongly influenced by its free-thinking president, ...

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Nutting, Mary Adelaide (01 November 1858–03 October 1948), nurse educator, was born in Quebec, Canada, the daughter of Vespasion Nutting, a county clerk of the circuit court, and Harriet Sophia Peasley (earlier Peaselee). Before her birth the Nutting family had moved from Massachusetts to Quebec, joining the other New England Loyalists who had relocated in Canada after the American Revolution....

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Shabazz, Betty (28 May 1936?–23 June 1997), civil rights activist, educator, nurse, mother, was born Betty Dean Sanders, the daughter of Shelman Sandlin, a construction worker, and the teenager Ollie Mae Sanders from Pinehurst, Michigan. (Because her birth certificate is lost, scholars are uncertain about her place of birth.) Her young parents were unmarried—this was a social stigma in 1930s America—and her relationship with her mother was stormy. When she was eleven years old, she was adopted by Helen and Lorenzo Malloy, affluent, middle-class African American Methodists from Detroit, Michigan. Providing Shabazz with many social and material advantages, the Malloys also valued educational attainment, and they pushed her to excel in her classes and study hard. After graduating from high school, Shabazz enrolled in Alabama's Tuskegee University, then known as Tuskegee Institute, one of the nation's most distinguished places of higher education for African Americans. However, she was not happy there. Unaccustomed to the blatant racism of Jim Crow laws, she quickly decamped to New York City in 1956 to continue her studies....

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Welch, William Henry (08 April 1850–30 April 1934), medical scientist and educator, was born in Norfolk, Connecticut, the second child and first son of William Wickham Welch and Emeline Collin. His mother died when he was six months old, and he was reared by his paternal grandmother. His father, paternal grandfather, and four paternal uncles were physicians, “the Doctors Welch of Norfolk.” His father served repeatedly in the Connecticut legislature and one term (1855–1857), under auspices of the American party, in the U.S. House of Representatives....