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Barnes, William Harry (04 April 1887–15 June 1945), physician and otolaryngologist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of George W. Barnes, a menial laborer, and Eliza Webb. Young Barnes and his two sisters lived poverty-stricken lives on Lombard Street, a very poor area of the city. He decided at an early age to become a physician, a decision unheard of and regarded as preposterous in his neighborhood. His parents tried to discourage him from pursuing what to them seemed like an absolutely impossible dream for a poor black youth, hoping rather to get him to focus his attention on getting realistic employment. Determined, he walked ten miles every day to and from school and from his after-school work as a porter and messenger for jewelry shops. During summers he worked as a porter in hotels. Seeing people who lived a far different and more elegant lifestyle than his own galvanized him to work himself out of poverty. In 1908 he graduated from Philadelphia’s Central High School with a collegiate bachelor of arts degree and decided to compete for a four-year scholarship to medical school offered by the University of Pennsylvania. He spent the entire summer of 1908 in serious study, took the competitive examination, passed it, and became the first black person to ever win that scholarship. Four years later, in 1912, he received an M.D. and began an internship (1912–1913) at Douglass and Mercy hospitals in Philadelphia. Also in 1912 he married Mattie E. Thomas; they would have five children....

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Burnett, Charles Henry (28 May 1842–30 January 1902), otologist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Eli Seal Burnett and Hannah Kennedy Mustin. He received his early education in Philadelphia, and in 1860 he entered Yale College, graduating with an A.B. in 1864. While at Yale Burnett was an active participant in undergraduate social and academic organizations....

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Elsberg, Louis (02 April 1836–19 February 1885), laryngologist, was born in Iserlohn, Westphalia, Prussia, the son of Nathan Elsberg and Adelaide (maiden name unknown). Elsberg’s family emigrated in 1849 to the United States, where his father established a small shop in Philadelphia. Following graduation from Philadelphia’s Central High School in 1852, Elsberg taught for two years at a private academy in Winchester, Virginia....

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Green, Horace (24 December 1802–29 November 1866), laryngologist, was born in Chittenden, Vermont, the son of Zeeb Green and Sarah Cowee, farmers. He received practically no formal education as a child. As a young man, he studied medicine with his brother Joel, a physician in Rutland, for several years before entering the Medical School at Middlebury (later known as Castleton Medical College). After receiving his M.D. in 1825, he returned to Rutland and joined his brother’s practice; with the exception of a brief period in 1830–1831, when he attended lectures and dissertations at the University of Pennsylvania, he practiced with his brother for the next ten years. In 1829 he married Mary Sigourney Butler, with whom he had one child....

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Jarvis, William Chapman (13 May 1855–30 July 1895), laryngologist, was born in Fortress Monroe, Virginia, the son of Nathan Sturges Jarvis, an army physician, and Jane B. Mumford. After his father died from disease in 1862, Jarvis and his mother relocated to Baltimore, Maryland. As a boy he developed a fascination for mechanical objects and exhibited considerable ability in drawing and tinkering with them. After completing his secondary education in a private school in Baltimore, he matriculated at the University of Maryland, where he decided to become a physician. He received an M.D. there in 1875 and spent the next two years at Johns Hopkins University doing postgraduate work in biology and chemistry....

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Shambaugh, George E., Jr. (29 June 1903–07 February 1999), otolaryngologist, was born George Elmer Shambaugh, Jr., in Chicago, Illinois, the son of George Shambaugh, Sr., a pioneering and Edith Capps Shambaugh. After graduating from the University High School of the University of Chicago, he attended Amherst College, from which he graduated in 1924. Shambaugh then entered medical school at Harvard and received his medical degree in 1928. He spent his internship at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston (1928–1930) and had residencies at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (1930–1932) and at Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago (1932–1933). During his residencies, Shambaugh discovered more effective means of detecting otosclerosis, a condition resulting from an abnormal growth formation within the bone structure of the inner ear that was present at birth and that eventually caused deafness. The study of its treatment would prove to be the focal point of his professional career. In 1927 Shambaugh married Marietta “Mitzi” Susan Moss, with whom he had two children....

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Solis-Cohen, Jacob da Silva (28 February 1838–22 December 1927), physician and pioneer laryngologist, was born in New York City, the son of Myer David Cohen and Judith Simiah da Silva Solis. In 1840 the family moved to Philadelphia, where, twenty years later, Solis-Cohen received an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He began his medical residency in 1861 at Old Blockley in Philadelphia but resigned the same year to enlist as a private in the Union army at the outbreak of the Civil War. He was soon commissioned as a lieutenant in the infantry and later appointed as assistant surgeon in the Twenty-sixth Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers. He served the regiment in ...