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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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Astwood, Edwin Bennett (29 December 1909–17 February 1976), physiologist and endocrinologist, was born in Hamilton, Bermuda, the son of Earnest Millard Astwood, a jeweler, watchmaker, and optometrist, and Imogene Doe. Astwood spent his childhood and received his early education in Bermuda, where his family had a longstanding business interest. Because of his family’s religious ties, Astwood was sent to Washington Missionary College in Ohio. Deciding to study medicine after receiving his college degree in 1929, Astwood attended the Medical College of Evangelists at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California....

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Auer, John (30 March 1875–30 April 1948), pharmacologist and physiologist, was born in Rochester, New York, the son of Henry Auer, a German-born brewer, and Luise Hummel. After secondary education in church and public schools in Chicago, he received his B.S. from the University of Michigan in 1898 and his M.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1902. He spent a year as a medical house officer (intern) at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and in 1903 he moved to the brand new Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, which became Rockefeller University in 1965....

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Bard, Philip (25 October 1898–05 April 1977), physiologist, was born in Hueneme, California, the son of Thomas Robert Bard, a land and oil developer and one term senator, and Mary Beatrice “Molly” Gerberding of San Francisco, the youngest child of Christian Otto Gerberding, who arrived in San Francisco from Bremen, Germany, in 1850....

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Bazett, Henry Cuthbert (25 June 1885–12 July 1950), physiologist, was born in Gravesend, England, the son of Henry Bazett, a clergyman and later a physician, and Eliza Ann Cruickshank. He attended Dover College and Wadham College, Oxford University, receiving his B.A. (1908), M.S. (1913), and M.D. (1919). He also trained at Saint Thomas’s Hospital. In 1912 Bazett was awarded a Radcliffe traveling fellowship, which allowed him to spend a postgraduate year at Harvard University. He returned to England in 1913 and at the outbreak of World War I joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. In 1917 he married Dorothy Livesey; they had a son and a daughter. He served with distinction in France and in 1918, after his discharge, was appointed an officer of the Order of the British Empire....

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William Beaumont. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B029105).

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Beaumont, William (21 November 1785–25 April 1853), physician and physiologist, was born in Lebanon, Connecticut, the son of Samuel Beaumont and Lucretia Abel, farmers. Little is known about his early life, except that he attended a local common school and disliked farming. At age twenty-one he left home and settled several months later in Champlain, New York, a village near the Canadian border. For three years he taught school and read borrowed medical books in his spare time. In the fall of 1810 he moved to St. Albans, Vermont, to learn medicine as an apprentice to an established physician, Benjamin Chandler, still the most common means of acquiring a medical education. While living in the Chandler household and performing chores for the doctor, Beaumont learned by observing and doing. He rode to see patients with his preceptor, assisted in operations, compounded drugs, and occasionally filled in during Chandler’s absence....

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Beecher, Henry Knowles (04 February 1904–25 July 1976), medical researcher, was born Henry Knowles Unangst in Wichita, Kansas, the son of Henry Unangst, a night watchman and carpenter, and Mary Julia Kerley. Young Henry grew up in modest circumstances in Wichita and nearby Peck, Kansas, in a family that did not place much emphasis on intellectual attainment. He worked odd jobs to pay his way at the University of Kansas, receiving an A.B. in 1926 and an A.M. in 1927 from that institution. In 1928 Henry left Kansas to enter Harvard Medical School. But, before leaving, he changed his surname to Beecher—an identifier that would be more widely recognized and admired in Boston than Unangst. He was, in fact, related to the famous abolitionist Beecher clan through his maternal grandmother, Maria Kerley, whose maiden name was Beecher....

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Békésy, Georg von (03 June 1899–13 June 1972), physiologist, was born in Budapest, Hungary, the son of Alexander von Békésy, a member of the diplomatic service, and Paula Mazaly. He received his early education in Munich, Constantinople, and Zurich and his high school education in Budapest. He then enrolled at the University of Bern, Switzerland (1916–1920), and later at the University of Budapest, where he earned a Ph.D. in physics (1923). His doctoral research was on interference microscopy, a branch of optics. Jobs in that field were scarce at the time, and therefore he elected to work as a communications engineer in the research laboratory of the Hungarian telephone system. It was the only laboratory still equipped after World War I because the government was forced by postwar treaties to maintain the telephone and telegraph lines that crisscrossed the country....

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Benedict, Francis Gano (03 October 1870–14 May 1957), chemist and physiologist, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Washington Gano Benedict, a businessman, and Harriet Emily Barrett. In about 1878 the family moved to Orange Park, Florida, and in 1881 to Boston, Massachusetts, where Benedict attended public schools and took piano lessons because of his parents’ interest in music....

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Best, Charles Herbert (27 February 1899–31 March 1978), physiologist, was born in West Pembroke, Maine, the son of Herbert Huestis Best, a doctor, and Luella May Fisher. Best’s parents were Canadian-born, and Best later spent his adult life in Canada. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a bachelor’s degree in physiology and biochemistry in 1921 and worked for professor of physiology J. J. R. Macleod as a summer research assistant in preparation for enrolling in a master’s program. Macleod asked Best and another student, E. C. Noble, to spend part of their time assisting physician Frederick Grant Banting, a recent alumnus who wanted to test an idea he had for isolating an antidiabetic substance thought to be secreted by the pancreas. Best won a coin toss with Noble to see who would help Banting first; Noble later found it convenient to let Best stay to do his share of the work....

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Bishop, George Holman (27 June 1889–12 October 1973), neurophysiologist, was born in Durand, Wisconsin, the son of George Stephen Bishop, who worked in lumber and farming, and Harriet Amanda Holman. The Bishop family lived in Wisconsin until 1905, when they moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for their children’s schooling. Bishop displayed precocious abilities as a young child growing up on the family’s farm outside of Ann Arbor. He was adept at creating solutions to any problem encountered, including a machine for faster preparation of beehives and the wiring of the farm house for electricity. His ability to visualize and create exacting measurements aided him during a stint at a saw mill run by his father in Louisiana, where at the age of fifteen Bishop took over the position of foreman and quickly accomplished the production of perfectly fitted tongue and groove boards....

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Henry Pickering Bowditch. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B03340).

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Bowditch, Henry Pickering (09 April 1840–13 March 1911), physiologist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Jonathan Ingersoll Bowditch, a successful Boston merchant, and Lucy Orne Nichols. Bowditch enjoyed a comfortable, cultured childhood in Boston and later in West Roxbury, where his family moved when he was thirteen. In preparation for college Bowditch attended a school organized by Epes S. Dixwell, graduating in 1857. After graduating from Harvard College in 1861, Bowditch matriculated at the Harvard-affiliated Lawrence Scientific School in Cambridge to study chemistry and natural history in preparation for a possible career in medicine. His studies were interrupted in November 1861 when he joined the First Massachusetts Cavalry as a second lieutenant. His unit engaged in a number of actions, including one at New Hope Church on 27 November 1863 where Bowditch was shot in the arm while leading a charge. Although honorably discharged in February 1864, he soon rejoined the army as a major in the Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry. He resigned his commission in June 1865 and returned to the Lawrence Scientific School, where he resumed studies of comparative anatomy under ...

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Brödel, Paul Heinrich Max (18 June 1870–26 October 1941), medical illustrator and anatomist, was born in Leipzig, Germany, the son of Paul Heinrich Louis Brödel, an employee of the Steinweg piano works, and Christiane Henriette Frenzel. As a child, Max Brödel showed talent in both music and the visual arts, and at age fifteen he enrolled in the Königliche Kunstakademie und Kunstgewerkeschule zu Leipzig. Required by the Leipzig art school to learn at least one graphic technique, Brödel always acknowledged the importance of his training in lithography. In 1888, he began working part-time as an illustrator for the renowned physiologist Carl Ludwig. At the time, the Leipzig medical school drew physicians and investigators from around the world for advanced training and research opportunities, and, while working for Ludwig, Brödel met the American anatomist ...

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Walter Bradford Cannon. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Cannon, Walter Bradford (19 October 1871–01 October 1945), physiologist, was born in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, the son of Colbert Hanchett Cannon, a railroad official, and Sarah Wilma Denio, a schoolteacher who died when Walter was ten years old. Cannon attended public schools in Milwaukee and St. Paul, where his high school English teacher, May Newson, encouraged him to seek a scholarship at Harvard College and helped him to secure financial aid. At Harvard Cannon studied biology and zoology under professors ...

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Carlson, Anton Julius (29 January 1875–02 September 1956), physiologist, was born in Bohuslan, Sweden, the son of Carl Jacobson and Hedvig Andersdotter, farmers. Carl Jacobson died when his six children were still very young, after which the modest family farm was lost and his children went to work for neighbors to support the family. From as young as age seven, Carlson spent the summer months herding sheep on neighboring farms but also took time to learn from his mother, a devout Swedish Lutheran, how to read and write, and to appreciate the value of work. At age sixteen, leaving his mother, whom he would never see again, and speaking no English, Carlson immigrated to the United States to join his older brother Albin as a carpenter’s helper in Chicago....

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Alexis Carrel. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Carrel, Alexis (28 June 1873–05 November 1944), scientist, was born Marie Joseph Auguste Carrel in Sainte-foy-Lès Lyon, France, the son of Alexis Carrel-Billiard, a manufacturer of textiles, and Anne-Marie Ricard. In 1890 Carrel entered the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Lyon, completing his training in 1900. While still a medical student, he began research on the problems of joining severed blood vessels. His interest in this area was supposedly aroused because surgeons had failed to save the life of Marie-François-Sadi Carnot, the French president who was fatally wounded by an assassin while visiting Lyon in 1894. Carrel’s triangulation method (1902) required inserting single threads at three points on the circumference of each vessel, pulling gently on each thread so that the circular vessels became triangular, and finally sewing the straight edges together....