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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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William Henry Forwood. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B012090).

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Forwood, William Henry (07 September 1838–11 May 1915), army medical officer, was born in Brandywine Hundred, Delaware, the son of Robert Forwood and Rachel Way Larkin (occupations unknown). He attended both private and public schools before entering the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his medical degree in 1861. He was commissioned as an assistant surgeon and first lieutenant in the Union Army Medical Department on 5 August of that year....

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Hoff, John Van Rensselaer (11 April 1848–14 January 1920), U.S. Army medical officer, was born in Mount Morris, New York, the son of Alexander H. Hoff, also a medical officer, and Ann Eliza Van Rensselaer. He received an A.B. from Union College in New York in 1871 and an M.D. in 1874 from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. Some accounts suggest that he also received an M.D. from the Albany Medical College in New York in 1871 and an A.M. from Union College in 1874. In 1874 he was given a contract as acting assistant surgeon, in which capacity he served in action against the Sioux Indians. When a vacancy occurred in the Army Medical Department in November 1874, he was commissioned assistant surgeon and first lieutenant....

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Kean, Jefferson Randolph (27 June 1860–04 September 1950), U.S. Army medical officer, was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, the son of Robert Garlick Kean, a lawyer, and Jane Nicholas Randolph, a great-granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson. Entering the University of Virginia in 1879, he was withdrawn for a year because of inadequate progress in his studies. His father required him to teach school for a year before allowing him to return to the university, where Kean received his M.D. in 1883. After graduate study at New York’s Polyclinic Hospital and Medical College, he passed the required entrance examinations for the Army Medical Department and in December 1884 was commissioned first lieutenant....

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McCaw, Walter Drew (10 February 1863–07 July 1939), army medical officer, was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of James Brown McCaw, a physician and former Confederate medical officer, and Delia Patteson. Because of his son’s precocity, McCaw’s father hired a tutor to guide McCaw through the work of the average undergraduate curriculum, which enabled him to finish his studies in half of the time that he would have spent in college. He then attended the Medical College of Virginia, from which he received an M.D. in 1882. He earned a second M.D. from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City in 1884. He never married....

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Walter Reed. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Reed, Walter (13 September 1851–23 November 1902), U.S. Army medical officer and bacteriologist, was born in Belroi, Virginia, the son of Lemuel Sutton Reed, a Methodist minister, and Pharaba White. After a year as an undergraduate, Reed entered medical school at the University of Virginia in 1868 at the age of seventeen; when he received an M.D. in July 1869, he was the youngest to receive this degree in the school’s history. After a year of study at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City, he earned a second M.D., although this degree was not officially awarded until he turned twenty-one. In 1871, after a brief time on the staff of the Kings County Hospital at Brooklyn, he accepted a residency at Brooklyn City Hospital and then served as an assistant sanitary officer for the Brooklyn Board of Health....

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Woodhull, Alfred Alexander (13 April 1837–18 October 1921), U.S. Army medical officer, was born in Princeton, New Jersey, the son of Alfred Alexander Woodhull, a physician, and Anna Maria Salomons. Woodhull received an A.B. degree from the College of New Jersey (Princeton University) in 1856 and an A.M. in 1859, at which time he also received an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania....

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Woodward, Joseph Janvier (30 October 1833–17 August 1884), U.S. Army medical officer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Janvier Woodward and Elizabeth Graham Cox. He entered the University of Pennsylvania in 1850 and was granted an M.D. degree in 1853. He then practiced medicine in Philadelphia until 1861. During this early period of his career he also taught surgery at the University of Pennsylvania, gave private lessons in the uses of the microscope in pathology, and published the first of a number of papers on cancer....