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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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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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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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Walter C. Alvarez. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B029601).

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Alvarez, Walter Clement (22 July 1884–16 June 1978), physician, medical researcher, and medical columnist, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Luis Fernandez Alvarez, a physician, and Clementina Schuetze. When Alvarez was three, his family moved to Hawaii, where his father was a government physician in two isolated Oahu villages. Alvarez was eleven when his father established a Honolulu hospital for lepers and attempted to develop a serum to combat the disease. While assisting his father, Alvarez resolved to become a physician....

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Ames, Nathaniel (22 July 1708–11 July 1764), almanac maker, physician, and innkeeper, was born in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, the son of Captain Nathaniel Ames, an astronomer and mathematician, and Susannah Howard. Probably after an apprenticeship with a country doctor, Ames became a doctor. With the likely assistance of his father, in 1725 Ames produced the first almanac to carry his name, though he was a youth of only seventeen. The almanac soon became well known and remained a staple product in New England, appearing annually for a half century....

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Ames, Nathaniel (09 October 1741–20 July 1822), almanac writer, physician, and political activist, was born in Dedham, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel Ames and Deborah Fisher Ames. The senior Nathaniel strongly influenced his son with his deep interest in the “new science” of Isaac Newton and his activities as a physician, tavern proprietor, and compiler of a notable almanac. At sixteen Nathaniel, Jr., entered Harvard College and in January 1758 began to keep a diary. His lively, absorptive mind responded to new ideas, particularly Professor ...

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Antony, Milton (07 August 1789–19 September 1839), physician and educator, was born presumably in Henry County, Virginia, the son of James Antony, Sr., a military officer, and Ann Tate. At sixteen, he became an apprentice under physician Joel Abbott of Monticello, Georgia. At nineteen he enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine but, owing to economic circumstances, had to leave without a diploma. He married Nancy Godwin in 1809. They had eleven children....

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Appleton, Moses (17 March 1773–05 May 1849), physician, was born in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, the son of Isaac Appleton and Mary Adams. Nothing is known of his early life except that he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College with an A.B. in 1791. He then taught school in Medford, Massachusetts, until 1793 when he entered Harvard Medical School. Appleton graduated after two years with a B.M. (the only medical degree awarded by Harvard at that time), and following a preceptorship with Dr. ...

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Archer, John (05 May 1741–28 September 1810), physician, patriot, and public official, was born in Maryland, either near Brinckley’s Mills, Cecil County, or near the present town of Churchville, Harford County, the son of Thomas Archer, a farmer and ironworks agent, and Elizabeth Stevenson. Archer attended the West Nottingham Academy in Cecil County and the College of New Jersey (Princeton), from which he received the A.B. degree in 1760 and the M.A. in 1763. Thereafter he taught school in Baltimore and studied theology. However, after a second examination by the Presbytery of New Castle, in 1764, the presbytery decided that it “cannot encourage him to prosecute his tryals for the Gospel ministry any further,” and he turned his attention to medicine. He became a pupil of Dr. ...

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Arnold, Richard Dennis (19 August 1808–10 July 1876), physician, was born in Savannah, Georgia, the son of Joseph Arnold and Eliza Dennis, occupations unknown. Despite hardships accompanying the deaths of both parents during childhood, Arnold, who had been an only child, received an excellent preliminary education and graduated with distinction from Princeton in 1826. He immediately began a medical apprenticeship under William R. Waring, a distinguished preceptor and member of an illustrious Charleston and Savannah family of physicians. After receiving his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1830, Arnold served for two years as a resident house officer in Philadelphia’s old Blockley Hospital before returning to Savannah where in 1833 he married Margaret Baugh Stirk. Their only child, Eleanor, born the next year, became the lifelong object of her father’s loving solicitude following her mother’s untimely death from pulmonary tuberculosis in 1850....

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Eric Howard Christianson

Aspinwall, William (23 May 1743–16 April 1823), physician, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the son of Lieutenant Thomas Aspinwall and Joanna Gardner. His loss of an eye from an archery accident in youth threatened a promising career, but earning a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 1764 and teaching in local schools gave him courage. He resolved to study medicine in 1767 and apprenticed himself to Dr. ...

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Atkins, Robert (17 October 1930–17 April 2003), physician and diet specialist, was born Robert Coleman Atkins in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Eugene Atkins, a confectioner who later owned a bar and cigar store, and Norma Tuckerman. The great-grandson of Russian-Jewish immigrants on both sides, Atkins grew up in Dayton, Ohio, to which his family moved in 1941. He shared his mother's social ambitions and taste for fine art. A diligent student, he came in second in a statewide scholarship test in 1947. That year he enrolled as a premedical student at the University of Michigan where, in his sophomore year, he was elected to the honor society Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated in 1951, spent the summer as a waiter and stand-up comic at a resort in the Catskills, and went on to enroll in Cornell University Medical College in New York City, from which he received an M.D. in 1955. Atkins served residencies in cardiology at the University of Rochester's Strong Memorial Hospital and Columbia University's St. Luke's Hospital in New York City, and in 1960 he opened a private office in Manhattan....

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John L. Atlee. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B02018).

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Atlee, John Light (02 November 1799–01 October 1885), physician and surgeon, was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the son of Colonel William Pitt Atlee and Sarah Light. With the exception of the winter of 1813–1814, when he attended Gray and Wylie’s Academy in Philadelphia, he received his early schooling in Lancaster. In 1815 he began the study of medicine under Samuel Humes, continuing there while attending the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania; he received his M.D. in 1820. He returned to Lancaster to establish himself in practice and remained there for the rest of his life. In 1822 he married Sarah Howell Franklin, daughter of Judge Walter Franklin of Lancaster County; they had three children....

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Washington L. Atlee. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B02019).

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Atlee, Washington Lemuel (22 February 1808–06 September 1878), physician and surgeon, was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the son of Colonel William Pitt Atlee and Sarah Light. After an unsuccessful apprenticeship in a dry-goods store, he went at age sixteen to study medicine with his brother, ...