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Abbott, Anderson Ruffin (07 April 1837–29 December 1913), surgeon, was born in Toronto, Upper Canada (now Ontario), the son of Wilson Ruffin Abbott, a businessman and properties investor, and Mary Ellen Toyer. The Abbotts had arrived in Toronto about 1835, coming from Mobile, Alabama, via New Orleans and New York; Wilson Abbott became one of the wealthiest African Canadians in Toronto. Anderson received his primary education in Canadian public and private schools. Wilson Abbott moved his family to the Elgin Settlement in 1850, providing his children with a classical education at the famed Buxton Mission School. Anderson Abbott, a member of the school’s first graduating class, continued his studies at the Toronto Academy as one of three African Americans there. He then attended the Preparatory Department at Oberlin College from 1856 through 1858, afterward returning to Toronto to start his medical training....

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Abel, John Jacob (19 May 1857–26 May 1938), pharmacologist, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of George Abel and Mary Becker, farmers. His mother died of puerperal fever while giving birth to her eighth child when Abel was fifteen. After graduating as the top student in the Cleveland high school system, Abel enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1876. His education was interrupted at the end of his third year for financial reasons, and he spent the next three years as a teacher, principal, and then superintendent of schools in La Porte, Indiana. He met his future wife, Mary Hinman, in La Porte, where she was a high school teacher....

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Abrams, Albert (08 December 1863–13 January 1924), physician and exponent of new theories of disease requiring treatment by unorthodox devices, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Marcus Abrams and Rachel Leavey. He received M.D. degrees from Heidelberg University at nineteen (1882) and the next year from Cooper Medical College (later Stanford), then pursued postgraduate study in London, Berlin, Vienna, and Paris. Later he frequently returned to Europe for periods of study and earned a Master of Arts degree from Portland University in Oregon (1892). Abrams began his practice in San Francisco, gaining esteem among his peers with his numerous publications, especially a ...

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Abt, Isaac Arthur (18 December 1867–22 November 1955), pediatrician, was born in Wilmington, Illinois, to Levi Abt, the owner of a general store that doubled as a post office and later, in Chicago, a partner in Hart, Abt, and Marx, a men’s clothing manufacture, and Henrietta Hart. As a child Abt was indelibly affected by the agonizing deaths of other children from contagious diseases and horrible household accidents. Work in an apothecary in high school, where he ground, boiled, and filtered herbs and prepared solutions of various drugs, cemented his interest in medicine. In 1886 Abt began his formal premedical education at Johns Hopkins University. Because Johns Hopkins had no medical school until 1893, Abt left without a degree in 1889 and entered the Chicago Medical College, a department of Northwestern University, where he was a student of Frank Billings, one of Chicago’s leading practitioners of internal medicine. He graduated in 1891 and served a two-year internship at Chicago’s Michael Reese Hospital....

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Adams, Numa Pompilius Garfield (26 February 1885–29 August 1940), physician and medical educator, was born in Delaplane, Virginia. Little is known about Adams’s family and early life. He attended a country school run by his uncle Robert Adams. Adams received additional instruction and inspiration from his grandmother Amanda, a midwife who shared with him the secrets of herbal medicine. When Adams was thirteen, his family moved to Steelton, Pennsylvania. Soon Adams taught himself how to read music and purchased a used cornet, which he taught himself to play, a skill that later helped him pay for his education....

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Adler, Alfred (06 February 1870–28 May 1937), physician and psychological theorist, was born in Rudolfsheim, near Vienna, Austria, the son of Leopold Adler, a grain merchant, and Pauline Beer. Adler was born into a lower middle-class, religiously nonobservant, and ethnically assimilated Jewish family in Austria. The death of a close younger brother in early childhood and Adler’s own near-death from illness the following year, at the age of five, seem to have inspired his interest in a medical career. A mediocre student, he attended several Viennese private schools and then began study at the University of Vienna in the fall of 1888....

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Agnew, Cornelius Rea (08 August 1830–18 April 1888), ophthalmologist and sanitarian, was born in New York City, the son of William Agnew, a prominent merchant, and Elizabeth Thomson. Agnew entered Columbia College at age fifteen and graduated in 1849. He then studied medicine with J. Kearney Rogers, a surgeon and professor of anatomy at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and in 1852 earned his M.D. After interning at the New York Hospital, where he was also house surgeon, Agnew practiced for about a year in a village that later became Houghton, Michigan. In 1854 he was asked to be a surgeon at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and immediately went to Europe because his appointment was on condition that he first study there. Before returning to New York City in 1855, he studied diseases of the eye, ear, and skin as well as general medicine and surgery with some of the most renowned doctors in Dublin, London, and Paris. Back in New York Agnew took up his surgical duties at the Eye and Ear Infirmary while maintaining a general practice. In 1856 he married Mary Nash; they had eight children....

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D. Hayes Agnew. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B011345).

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Agnew, D. Hayes (24 November 1818–22 March 1892), surgeon and medical educator, was born David Hayes Agnew in Nobleville (Christiana), Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Agnew, a physician, and Agnes Noble. In 1833 Agnew, who grew up in a deeply religious Presbyterian household, entered Jefferson College at Cannonsburg, a stronghold of Presbyterianism in western Pennsylvania. In 1834 Agnew left Jefferson to attend Newark College, established in that year by the Delaware legislature, where his cousin, the Reverend John Holmes Agnew, was professor of languages. With other students at Newark he founded the Athenaeum Literary Society, but when his cousin left in 1835, objecting to a lottery that supported the college, Agnew left with him. After studying medicine at home under his father, Agnew entered the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1836—one of the youngest members of the class. Agnew received his M.D. in 1838. The title of his graduating thesis was “Medical Science and the Responsibility of Medical Character.”...

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Ainsworth, Fred Crayton (11 September 1852–05 June 1934), military surgeon and adjutant general, was born in Woodstock, Vermont, the son of Crayton Ainsworth, a modestly prosperous businessman and machinist, and Harriet Carroll, a seamstress and Woman’s Christian Temperance Union activist.

During 1869 and 1870 Ainsworth attended but did not graduate from Dartmouth College. Upon returning to Woodstock, he studied medicine for three years, then enrolled in the medical school of the City University of New York. He graduated with honors in 1874, served a brief residency on the Bellevue Hospital medical staff, and then won an appointment as an assistant surgeon in the Medical Department of the U.S. Army. In November 1874 he reported to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for his first army assignment as a surgeon....

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Ainsworth, Mary (01 December 1913–21 March 1999), developmental psychologist, who devised an experimental procedure called the Strange Situation to investigate attachment patterns in young children, was born Mary Dinsmore Salter in Glendale, Ohio, the daughter of Charles Salter, a successful businessman, and Mary Dinsmore Salter. She spent most of her childhood in Toronto, Canada, where she attended the University of Toronto, which awarded her a B.A. (1935), an M.A. (1936), and a Ph.D. (1939), the last two for work at the Department of Psychology. She mainly worked with the child psychologist William E. Blatz, whose security theory, research on children's emotional development, and use of naturalistic observation methods inspired her subsequent work on attachment. Mary Salter was a lecturer at the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto from 1939 until 1942, when she was commissioned in the Canadian Women's Army Corps, attaining the rank of major. In 1946 she returned to the University of Toronto as assistant professor and further developed her psychodiagnostic skills (co-authoring a book on the evaluation of results obtained with the Rorschach inkblot test in the process). In 1950 she married Leonard Ainsworth, a graduate student in psychology, and moved with him to London, England. There, she worked with the psychoanalytically trained child psychiatrist John Bowlby at the Tavistock Institute. At that time, Bowlby was investigating the detrimental effects on young children of being placed in institutions providing foster care and of prolonged separation from primary caregivers in general. Breaking with then-prevalent psychoanalytic assumptions, Bowlby intended to investigate the effects of actual life events on the course of child development. Ainsworth and Bowbly initiated a lifelong collaborative association; Ainsworth contributed two chapters to Bowlby's seminal ...

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Albright, Fuller (12 January 1900–08 December 1969), endocrinologist, was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of John Joseph Albright, an industrialist and philanthropist, and Susan Fuller. Fuller Albright came from a patrician background; he attended Nichols Day School, one of two schools founded by his father. He showed himself to be a well-rounded scholar and athlete, matriculating at Harvard College at age sixteen. He volunteered to join the U.S. Army during World War I and at officer’s training school contracted influenza, a likely forerunner of the postencephalitic Parkinsonism that progressively impaired his functioning in later years. He attended Harvard Medical School and began his residency training at the Massachusetts General Hospital, the institution where he remained throughout his career except for two sabbatical years, one spent in Vienna and the other at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He married Claire Birge in 1933; they had two children....

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Alexander, Franz Gabriel (22 January 1891–08 March 1964), psychoanalyst, was born in Budapest, Hungary, the son of Bernard Alexander, a college professor, and Regina Brössler. After receiving his B.A. from Budapest’s Humanistic Gymnasium in 1908, he briefly studied archaeology and philosophy at the University of Budapest before enrolling in its medical school. In 1910 he became a research associate in physiology at the university’s Institute for Experimental Pathology, where he conducted experiments correlating the work of the brain to its metabolism. In 1913 he received his M.D. and joined the university’s Institute for Hygiene as a research associate in bacteriology. In 1914 he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Austro-Hungarian army and placed in charge of a Red Cross medical unit. Three years later he took command of a bacteriological field laboratory assigned to prevent malaria on the Italian front and was awarded the Merit Cross for Distinguished Service. After World War I he returned to the university as a research and clinical associate in psychiatry and neurology in its neuropsychiatric clinic....

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Alexander, Hattie Elizabeth (05 April 1901–24 June 1968), microbiologist and pediatrician, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of William Bain Alexander, a merchant, and Elsie May Townsend, both of Scottish ancestry. The family remained in Baltimore throughout Alexander’s relatively happy and comfortable childhood. She attended Baltimore’s Western High School for Girls prior to enrolling in Goucher College, to which she won a partial scholarship. While at Goucher, her enthusiasm for a variety of sports—hockey, baseball, basketball—exceeded that for academics, and she was an unimpressive student. Nevertheless, she exhibited marked, though largely unapplied, skill in Dr. Jessie King’s bacteriology class, and fellow students in the Goucher yearbook declared that “ambition fires her; hygiene claims her; kindness portrays her.”...

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Allen, Edgar (02 May 1892–03 March 1943), endocrinologist and physiologist, was born in Canyon City, Colorado, the son of Asa Allen, a physician and Edith Day. In 1900 the family relocated to Providence, Rhode Island, where Allen grew up. After the death of his father, when Allen was in his early teens, his mother supported the family by working as a librarian and with the help of her children, who held a succession of odd jobs. Allen supported himself through Brown University by waiting on tables, tending furnaces, and teaching swimming among other things. Upon graduating in 1915, he entered the graduate school, from which he received an M.A. in biology with special emphasis on embryology in 1916, after which he continued on for his Ph.D. World War I intervened, however, and he left for France, where he served with a mobile unit of the Sanitary Corps. Allen married Marion Robins Pfeiffer, then a student at Pembroke, the women’s college of Brown, in 1918; the couple had two daughters....

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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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Allison, Richard (1757–22 March 1816), physician, was born on a farm near Goshen, in Orange County, New York. His parents are unknown. Like most American physicians of his time, he studied his profession as an apprentice. He joined the Continental army in March 1778, serving as a surgeon’s mate for the Fifth Pennsylvania Regiment. In January 1783 he was transferred to the First Pennsylvania Regiment, with which he served until the war ended later that year....

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Allport, Floyd Henry (22 August 1890–15 October 1978), psychologist, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of John Edward Allport, a small businessman and country doctor, and Nellie Edith Wise, a former schoolteacher described by her son as a rather pious woman. Allport grew up in Indiana and Ohio, where he attended many camp meetings and revivals. He received an A.B. from Harvard University in 1914 and two years later began graduate work there in anthropology, later shifting to psychology. When the country entered World War I, he joined the army. Shortly before his field artillery unit left for France in October 1917, Allport married Ethel Margaret Hudson, a nurse; the couple had three children....

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Allport, Gordon Willard (11 November 1897–09 October 1967), psychologist, was born in Montezuma, Indiana, the son of John Edwards Allport, a physician, and Nellie Wise. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and, following the example of his older brother Floyd Henry Allport, who also became an eminent psychologist, he attended Harvard University. As an undergraduate, he concentrated on both psychology and social ethics (the predecessor of sociology at Harvard), and he spent much of his spare time in social service during World War I. Upon his graduation in 1919, he spent a year teaching English and sociology at Robert College in Constantinople (now Boğaçızı University in Istanbul). Returning to Harvard, he continued to be influenced by his brother Floyd, then an instructor, and by Herbert Langfeld, who encouraged him to follow his own sense of direction. Allport received his Ph.D. in psychology in 1922....