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William Darlington. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B05853).

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Darlington, William (28 April 1782–23 April 1863), physician, botanist, and author, was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of Edward Darlington, a farmer who also found time to serve in the Pennsylvania legislature, and Hannah Townsend. Wanting to escape the drudgery of farm work that had restricted his schooling to a few winter months each year, at age eighteen Darlington persuaded his father to pay the necessary fees for his apprenticeship to study medicine with John Vaughan in Wilmington, Delaware. In return, his father required that he give up his inheritance of a share of the family farm....

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Fowler, Orson Squire (11 October 1809–18 August 1887), phrenologist and publisher, was born in Cohocton, Steuben County, New York, the son of Horace Fowler, a farmer, and Martha Howe. He was graduated from Amherst College in 1834 and in 1835 married Eliza Brevoort Chevalier, a widow, by whom he had two children. Though educated for the ministry, he devoted himself to phrenology, the “science” of the mind that was formulated by Franz Joseph Gall and introduced to the United States by Johann Gaspar Spurzheim. Phrenology postulated that, because the brain was the organ of the mind and shaped the skull, there was an observable concomitance between the mind (talents, disposition, character) and the shape of the head. In an analysis, a phrenologist examined the latter to determine the former. Immediately after graduation Fowler started his professional career as itinerant practical phrenologist in New England. Using charts and a phrenological bust, he lectured on phrenology and analyzed heads, sizing “organs” or “faculties” such as amativeness, combativeness, firmness, and ideality to determine character. It was believed that each faculty manifested itself through its own cerebral organ, the size of which indicated its functional power. The size of the organ, it was believed, could be increased or decreased by exercise....

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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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Lloyd, John Uri (19 April 1849–09 April 1936), pharmacist and author, was born in West Bloomfield, New York, the son of Nelson Marvin Lloyd, an engineer, and Sophia Webster, a schoolteacher. The eldest of three sons who would become leading manufacturers of botanical medicines, Lloyd left the Genesee Valley with his parents when he was only four to settle in northern Kentucky. In this rustic environment he evinced an early interest in the flora around him and developed the habit of surreptitiously borrowing his mother’s kitchenware to fashion crude but instructive experiments with natural products....

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Thomas, Lewis (25 November 1913–03 December 1993), physician, biologist, administrator, and writer, was born in Flushing, New York, the son of Joseph Simon Thomas, M.D., and Grace Peck, a nurse. In his memoir, The Youngest Science: Notes of a Medicine Watcher (1983), Thomas describes accompanying his father on house calls as a boy, a habit that proved decisive in his choice of career. After going to school in Flushing and completing his preparatory education at the McBurney School in Manhattan (1927–1929), Thomas attended Princeton University (1929–1933) and Harvard Medical School, graduating cum laude in 1937. He held a variety of posts before his commission as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. On 1 January 1941 he married Beryl Dawson in New York; the couple had three daughters. During World War II Thomas was assigned to a Naval Medical Research Unit at the Rockefeller Institute in New York; he was also stationed in Guam and Okinawa (1944–1945), where he conducted research in virology....