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Bailey, Pearce (22 July 1902–23 June 1976), neurologist and federal health science administrator, was born in New York City, the son of Pearce Bailey, a prominent neurologist, and Edith L. Black. Bailey’s choice of a career was doubtless influenced by the fact that his physician father was president of the American Neurological Association in 1913 and was a cofounder of the Neurological Institute at Columbia University in New York City. After graduation from Princeton University with an A.B. in 1924, Bailey pursued postgraduate studies at Columbia University, from which he received an M.A. in psychology in 1931. He then studied at the Université de Paris, where he earned a Ph.D. in psychology in 1933; took an honors course in chemistry at the University of London in 1934; and earned an M.D. at the Medical College of South Carolina at Charleston in 1941....

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Cobb, Stanley (10 December 1887–25 February 1968), physician, neurologist, and psychiatrist, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the son of John Candler Cobb, a developer of Boston’s South Bay, and Leonore Smith of New York. A solitary child, handicapped by stammering, Cobb was tutored at home during his early years. He enjoyed observing birds and animals and developed a lifelong interest in natural history. His interest during his teenage years in pursuing a medical career received impetus from the comment of a distinguished surgeon, who on observing Cobb’s deftness in skinning a shrew, remarked, “With that ability you should go into medicine!” (White, p. 13)....

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Dana, Charles Loomis (25 March 1852–12 December 1935), neurologist, was born in Woodstock, Vermont, the son of Charitie Scott Loomis and Charles Dana, a prosperous merchant. He received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in 1872, then studied medicine briefly at Dartmouth before moving to Washington, D.C. There he served for several years as secretary to Senator ...

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Denny-Brown, Derek Ernest (01 June 1901–20 April 1981), neurologist, was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, the son of Charles Brown, who was in the insurance business, and Marian Denny. The couple hyphenated their names at the time of their marriage. Denny-Brown was raised and educated in New Zealand and attended medical school at Otago University in Dunedin from 1919 until 1924. After graduation he was appointed lecturer and demonstrator in anatomy at the school. Subsequently he traveled to England and received an appointment as Beit Memorial Fellow for Medical Research, permitting him to work for three years in the laboratory of Sir Charles S. Sherrington at Oxford. Denny-Brown’s work was seminal, demonstrating the slow motoneuron discharge of the stretch reflex, differences in the properties of red and white muscles, and the principle of the subliminal fringe. He received the degree of doctor of philosophy from Oxford in 1928. Denny-Brown then became a resident medical officer at the National Hospital, Queen Square, London, England, and subsequently was appointed as lecturer at the National Hospital from 1931 to 1939 and as registrar in neurology at Guy’s Hospital from 1931 to 1935. From 1935 until 1941 he was assistant physician, National Hospital, and Neurologist, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London. As a clinical he studied the effects of removing small portions of brain tissue in monkeys and demonstrated that he could replicate disorders seen in humans with injury to these areas of the brain....

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Dercum, Francis Xavier (10 August 1856–23 April 1931), neurologist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Susanna Erhart and Ernest Albert Dercum, a German liberal émigré. After graduating in 1873 from Philadelphia Central High School (which later awarded him an M.A.), he attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving an M.D. in 1877....

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Geschwind, Norman (08 January 1926–04 November 1984), neurologist and neuroscientist, was born in New York City, the son of Morris Geschwind and Hanna Ruth Blau. Geschwind lost his father when he was four; his mother raised him and his elder brother Irving, who also became a prominent medical researcher. Geschwind attended the Etz Chaim Yeshiva and then the Boys’ High School in Brooklyn. At the age of sixteen he was admitted to Harvard College on a full scholarship, but he was soon drafted into the infantry during World War II. He returned to Harvard to receive an A.B. in 1947, magna cum laude, and an M.D. in 1951, cum laude. A Moseley Travelling Fellowship and then a U.S. Public Health Service Fellowship allowed him to spend three years with Sir Charles Symonds at the National Hospital in London. There he met Patricia Dougan, whom he married in 1956; they had three children....

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Goldstein, Kurt (06 November 1878–19 September 1965), neurologist and psychiatrist, was born in Katowice, Poland, then a part of Germany, the son of Abraham Goldstein, the prosperous owner of a lumberyard, and Rosalie Cassirer. Quiet, serious, and bookish as a boy, Goldstein earned the nickname “Professor” from his classmates at the local public school. Born Jewish, he strongly identified with the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and German Romanticism and regarded his Judaism more as a “destiny” than a “mission” (Robert Ulrich, in ...

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William A. Hammond. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-1558).

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Hammond, William Alexander (28 August 1828–05 January 1900), neurologist, was born in Annapolis, Maryland, son of John Wesley Hammond, a doctor, and Sarah Pinckney. He attended St. Johns College and then the Medical College of the University of the City of New York, where he received the M.D. in 1848. After a year as resident physician at the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, he married Helen Nisbet and enlisted as an assistant surgeon in the United States Army....

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Jelliffe, Smith Ely (27 October 1886–25 September 1945), neurologist, psychoanalyst, and medical editor, was born in New York City, the son of William Munson Jelliffe and Susan Emma Kitchell, both teachers. Jelliffe entered the civil engineering program at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and left without graduating in 1886 to enroll in the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. He received his M.D. with honors in 1889 and interned for a year at St. Mary’s Hospital, Brooklyn, after which he traveled to Europe for a year. There he studied medicine and botany and visited cultural and historical sites. On his return in 1891, Jelliffe opened a general practice in his parents’ home in Brooklyn. To pay off his debts he did part-time clinical and pathological work in a hospital. His botanical studies in Europe had also qualified him to be a sanitary inspector for the Brooklyn Board of Health and to teach materia medica and botany at the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy at night. In 1894 Jelliffe married his longtime fiancée, Helena Dewey Leeming. The couple moved to New York City where they had five children. A year after his wife’s sudden death in 1916, he married Belinda Dobson; they had no children....

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Levi-Montalcini, Rita (22 April 1909–30 December 2012), Nobel Prize–winning neuroembryologist, was born Rita Levi in Turin, Italy, the youngest of four children of Adamo Levi, an electrical engineer and mathematician, and Adele Montalcini, a painter. She later added her mother’s maiden name to her surname. Born into a Jewish middle-class family, young Rita was aware of the different roles men and women played in the family and in society. Her caring but domineering father made all the household decisions, while her submissive mother would willingly accept her husband’s decisions without challenges. However, Rita had several women as role models or sources of inspiration. Her two aunts had doctoral degrees in literature and in mathematics, respectively, and helped foster her confidence in women’s intellectual capacity. When her governess’s tragic death from cancer inspired Rita to go into medicine, her cousin Eugenia enthusiastically supported and joined her to take up medical studies. She also had the backing of her mother and her twin sister, Paola....

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Myerson, Abraham (23 November 1881–03 September 1948), psychiatrist and neurologist, was born in the ghetto village of Yanova, Lithuania (then part of Russia), the son of Morris Joseph Myerson, a schoolteacher of socialist leanings who became a peddler, then a junk dealer, after emigrating to the United States in 1885, and Sophie Segal. The family first settled in New Britain, Connecticut, moving in 1892 to Boston’s South End, where Myerson grew up in poverty. Following his graduation from Boston’s English High School in 1898, he worked for seven years in his brother’s shop, where he cut pipe....

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Putnam, James Jackson (03 October 1846–04 November 1918), neurologist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Gideon Putnam, a physician, and Elizabeth Cabot Jackson. He graduated from Harvard College in 1866 and from Harvard Medical School in 1870. After an internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, he studied neurology in Leipzig, Vienna, and London; he was influenced by Carl Rokitansky, Theodor Meynert, and, especially, John Hughlings Jackson....

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Ranson, Stephen Walter (28 August 1880–30 August 1942), neuroanatomist and neurologist, was born in Dodge Center, Minnesota, the son of Stephen William Ranson, a physician, and Mary Elizabeth Foster. Known as Walter, the serious young man determined very early to follow the medical tradition set by his father and two siblings who had medical training. He attended the University of Minnesota (1898–1901), spent the fourth year at the University of Chicago with the neurologist ...

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Sachs, Bernard (02 February 1858–08 February 1944), pediatric neurologist, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Joseph Sachs, a teacher and boardingschool owner, and Sophia Baer. Sachs’s parents, who were Bavarian Jews, emigrated to Philadelphia in 1847, at a time of much revolutionary unrest in Europe. By 1859 the family had moved to New York. Sachs’s father sold the school when his health failed and moved the family back in 1867 to Germany, where he died two years later. Sachs’s mother died of diabetes three years after the family had returned in 1869 to New York. Here Sachs was raised by an aunt....

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Seguin, Edward Constant (1843–19 February 1898), neurologist, was born in Paris, the son of Edouard Seguin, a pioneer in special education. His father brought the family to Ohio in 1850, due to the political crisis in France. Edward attended schools in Cleveland and Portsmouth, Ohio. After graduating from high school, he served a year-long apprenticeship as a wheelwright, as family circumstances precluded a college education. Moving to New York in 1861, he began medical studies with his father as preceptor, attending three courses of lectures at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. These were interrupted by Civil War service from 1862 to 1864 as a dresser for the United States Sanitary Commission and as a medical cadet in the United States Army. Seguin received his medical degree in 1864 and returned to the army as a surgeon for eight months in 1864–1865, contracting lung disease in the process. He served as intern and house physician at New York Hospital from 1865 to 1867. When the lung disease returned, Seguin resigned this post and enlisted for another term of army duty. This was apparently arranged with the special help of the surgeon general, who assigned Seguin to New Mexico posts where he would have the chance to recover his health....

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Spitzka, Edward Charles (10 November 1852–13 January 1914), neurologist and psychiatrist, was born in New York City, the son of Charles A. Spitzka, a watchmaker, and Johanna Tag. After study at the College of the City of New York, Spitzka attended the Medical School of the University of New York, receiving the M.D. degree in 1873. As was customary in the period, Spitzka sought further training in Europe. From 1873 to 1876 he studied with notable scientists, serving for a time as assistant to the holder of the chair of embryology in Vienna. This period of intense academic pursuit, coupled with the European standard of scholarly excellence, greatly influenced Spitzka’s subsequent thinking and attitude about his field and his peers. During his European stay he met and married (1875) Catherine Wacek; they had one child, a son, ...

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Tilney, Frederick (04 June 1875–07 August 1938), neurologist, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Katharine Amelia Hutchinson and Thomas Joseph Tilney, a lawyer. He received a B.A. from Yale University in 1897, having specialized in the study of literature. Tilney then worked as a reporter and in the editorial department of the ...

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Timme, Walter (24 February 1874–12 February 1956), neurologist and endocrinologist, was born in New York City, the son of Frederick J. E. Timme, a Lutheran minister, and Emma Wirth. After graduating in 1893 from the City College of New York, Timme worked as a mathematics teacher before turning to biology. He enrolled in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, from which he received an M.D. in 1897. Timme began a general practice, and in 1898 he joined the staff of Columbia’s Vanderbilt Clinic, where he had the opportunity to study nervous and mental diseases. He married Ida Helen Haar in 1901; they had no children....