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Atwater, Wilbur Olin (03 May 1844–22 September 1907), nutritionist and professor of chemistry, was born in Johnsburg, New York, the son of William Warren Atwater, a methodist clergyman, and Elizabeth Barnes. The family moved from place to place within New England during his childhood. He attended the University of Vermont for two years but graduated in 1865 from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. After three years of teaching school, he moved to Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School as a graduate student in agricultural chemistry under Professor ...

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Bard, Samuel (01 April 1742–24 May 1821), physician and teacher, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Bard, a physician, and Suzanne Valleau. Convinced by his good friend Benjamin Franklin that New York City offered a better opportunity for professional advancement, John Bard moved his family there in 1746 and soon became one of its leading physicians....

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Bennett, John Cook (03 August 1804–05 August 1867), physician, religious leader, and entrepreneur, was born in Fair Haven, Bristol County, Massachusetts, the son of John Bennett, a shipowner, and Abigail Cook. At his father’s death in 1817, he moved with his mother to Ohio to stay with relatives. In 1825, after a three-year apprenticeship with a physician and an oral examination by an Ohio medical society, Bennett received his M.D. and a license to practice. That year he married Mary Barker; they had three children. There is no evidence supporting his claim to have attended Ohio University or McGill College in Montreal; he did, however, become a Freemason in 1826....

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Blunt, Katharine (28 May 1876–29 July 1954), college administrator, educator, and nutritionist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Stanhope English Blunt, an army officer and technical writer, and Fanny Smyth. Little is know about her childhood except that she was first educated at a preparatory school before attending Miss Porter’s School in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1894 she enrolled at Vassar, where she studied chemistry. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with an A.B. in 1898, then returned home to her family and engaged in service to her church and community for four years....

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Caldwell, David (22 March 1725–25 August 1824), Presbyterian minister, self-trained physician, and schoolmaster, was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of Andrew Caldwell and Ann Stewart, farmers. At the age of seventeen Caldwell became a carpenter’s apprentice and four years later a journeyman carpenter. At age twenty-five he experienced a religious conversion and a call to the ministry. He studied at the Reverend ...

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Corson, Juliet (13 January 1841?–18 June 1897), founder of the New York Cooking School and pioneer in the scientific cookery movement, was born in Mount Pleasant, Massachusetts, the daughter of Peter Ross Corson, a prosperous produce merchant, and Mary Ann Henderson. (Although most obituaries and biographical sources give Corson’s birth date as 1842, the Vital Records of Roxbury, Massachusetts, give the date as 1841.) Corson’s family moved to New York City when she was six years old. In New York her uncle, Alfred Upham, helped to raise her and provided her with a classical education. She began to support herself in her late teens after her mother’s death....

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Samuel Henry Dickson. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B07155).

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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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Goldsmith, Grace Arabell (08 April 1904–28 April 1975), nutritionist and public health educator, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of Arthur William Goldsmith, an accountant, and Arabell L. Coleman. An only child, she attended the University of Minnesota before transferring to the University of Wisconsin, where she received a B.S. in 1925. Active in all sports and an accomplished dancer, she was physical director at the YWCA in New Orleans, Louisiana, before entering the Tulane University Medical School, where she received her M.D. in 1932. She gave dancing lessons to pay her bills and graduated first in a class of 108 that included only six women....

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Hartshorne, Henry (16 March 1823–10 February 1897), physician, medical teacher, and writer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Hartshorne, a physician, and Anna Bonsall, the daughter of a prominent Quaker. He graduated from the Haverford School (later Haverford College) with an A.B. degree in 1839; in 1860 he was awarded an A.M. degree from the same school. Encouraged by his father to study medicine, he enrolled in the medical school of the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with an M.D. degree in 1845....

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Thomas C. James. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B015234).

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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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William S. Middleton. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B019548).

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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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Ordronaux, John (03 August 1830–20 January 1908), medico-legalist, was born in New York City, the son of John Ordronaux, a businessman, and Elizabeth Charreton. The elder John Ordronaux, a native of France, had commanded an American privateer during the War of 1812 and remained after the war in the United States, where he acquired and operated a sugar refinery. On his father’s death in 1841, eleven-year-old John was adopted by John Moulton of Roslyn, New York, who assumed the rest of his upbringing....

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Parker, Willard (02 September 1800–25 April 1884), physician and teacher of medicine, was born in Lyndeborough (sometimes spelled Lindeborough), Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, the son of Jonathan Parker and Hannah Clark, farmers. When Willard was five years of age, the Parkers returned to Chelmsford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, to which their English Puritan ancestors had originally emigrated in 1640. It was here that Parker spent the majority of his childhood....

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Roberts, Lydia Jane (30 June 1879–28 May 1965), home economics educator and nutritionist, was born in Hope Township, Barry County, Michigan, the daughter of Warren Roberts, a carpenter, and Mary McKibbin. She attended grade school and high school in Martin, Michigan. After graduating from high school (1898), Roberts obtained a Limited Teaching Certificate (qualification for teaching in only certain elementary schools) from Mt. Pleasant Normal School in 1899 and began teaching in rural Michigan. Her adventuresome nature led her to teaching positions in Miles City and Great Falls, Montana, before she returned to obtain her Life Certificate (qualification for teaching in all rural and urban schools) from Mt. Pleasant in 1909. She then taught third grade and served as a critic teacher, or supervisor of student teachers, in the local normal school in Dillon, Montana. Having observed a relationship between the health of her students and the quality of their diets, Roberts wanted to know more about the nutritional needs of children. To pursue this knowledge she entered the University of Chicago in 1915 at the age of thirty-six, ending her seventeen-year career as an elementary school teacher....

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Robie, Thomas (20 March 1689–28 August 1729), tutor, mathematician, and physician, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of William Robie and Elizabeth Greenough, laborers. Baptized in Increase Mather and Cotton Mather’s North Church where his father was a full member, Robie was influenced by the Mathers during a period when they were increasingly interested in scientific pursuits, especially astronomy. Robie was early inclined toward science, but coming from an impecunious family, he could not satisfy his inclination without patronage from the Mathers, ...

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Rorer, Sarah Tyson (18 October 1849–27 December 1937), cooking teacher and diet reformer, was born Sarah Tyson Heston in Richboro, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Charles Tyson Heston, a pharmacist, and Elizabeth Sagers. The family resided in Buffalo, New York, but Elizabeth Heston returned to her mother’s home for the delivery of her firstborn. “Sallie,” as she was called, grew up in the Buffalo area and attended East Aurora Academy, a female seminary. She later attributed the beginnings of her interest in cooking reform to her father’s poor health and delicate digestion resulting from service in the Civil War. Around 1869 the family returned to eastern Pennsylvania, and in 1871 Sallie Heston married William Albert Rorer, a clerk/bookkeeper, in Philadelphia’s Second Reformed Church. The couple had three children, one of whom died in early childhood....

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Sargent, Dudley Allen (28 September 1849–21 July 1924), physical educator and physician, was born in Belfast, Maine, the son of Benjamin Sargent, a spar-maker and ship’s carpenter, and Caroline Jane Rogers. Sargent was seven years old when his father died. He quit school at thirteen and worked as a carpenter, a seaman, and a circus gymnast. He graduated from Bowdoin College with an A.B. in 1875 and received his medical degree from Yale Medical School in 1878. Sargent unsuccessfully sought a position as a college faculty member in physical training. In 1878 he went to New York City and opened his own private gymnasium, the Hygienic Institute and School of Physical Culture....