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D. Hayes Agnew. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B011345).

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Agnew, D. Hayes (24 November 1818–22 March 1892), surgeon and medical educator, was born David Hayes Agnew in Nobleville (Christiana), Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Agnew, a physician, and Agnes Noble. In 1833 Agnew, who grew up in a deeply religious Presbyterian household, entered Jefferson College at Cannonsburg, a stronghold of Presbyterianism in western Pennsylvania. In 1834 Agnew left Jefferson to attend Newark College, established in that year by the Delaware legislature, where his cousin, the Reverend John Holmes Agnew, was professor of languages. With other students at Newark he founded the Athenaeum Literary Society, but when his cousin left in 1835, objecting to a lottery that supported the college, Agnew left with him. After studying medicine at home under his father, Agnew entered the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1836—one of the youngest members of the class. Agnew received his M.D. in 1838. The title of his graduating thesis was “Medical Science and the Responsibility of Medical Character.”...

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Beck, Claude Schaeffer (08 November 1894–14 October 1971), surgeon and educator, was born in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, the son of Simon Beck and Martha Schaeffer. He attended public schools in Shamokin, graduating as valedictorian of his high school class in 1911. After graduating from Millersville State Normal School in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1914, he continued his undergraduate education at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, receiving his A.B. in 1916. Inspired by one of his professors, Richard Schiedt, to enter the field of medicine, Beck enrolled at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, completing his M.D. in 1921....

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Bigelow, Henry Jacob (11 March 1818–30 October 1890), surgeon and medical educator, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Jacob Bigelow, a physician, and Mary Scollay. After graduation from Harvard College in 1837, Bigelow studied medicine with his father, supplementing his preceptorship with attendance at medical lectures at Harvard and Dartmouth medical schools. Although Dr. ...

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Bryant, Joseph Decatur (12 March 1845–07 April 1914), surgeon and medical educator, was born in East Troy, Wisconsin, the son of Alonzo Ambrose Bryant and Harriet Atkins, farmers. He completed his early education in the local public schools and received his secondary education at a private academy in Norwich, New York, near his father’s boyhood home. He then moved to New York City to study medicine with George W. Avery, a local physician, and attend Bellevue Hospital Medical College, where he received an M.D. in 1868....

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Hugh Cabot. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Cabot, Hugh (11 August 1872–14 August 1945), surgeon, educator, and medical reformer, was born in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts, the son of James Elliot Cabot, an architect, naturalist, and graduate of Harvard Law School, and Elizabeth Dwight. The youngest of seven boys, Cabot was an active child, exposed to music, the Unitarian religion, the challenge of the outdoors, and his parents’ philanthropic ideals. His privileged yet altruistic upbringing underlay his future productive life....

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Cleveland, Emeline Horton (22 September 1829–08 December 1878), surgeon, medical professor, and dean at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, surgeon, medical professor, and dean at the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, was born in Ashford, Connecticut, the daughter of Chauncey Horton and Amanda Chaffee, farmers. In 1831 her family settled in a remote farming area in Madison County, New York. Cleveland received her initial education from private tutors engaged by her father at a school he fashioned on the Horton property....

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Cope, Oliver (15 August 1902–30 April 1994), surgeon and medical educator, was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, the son of Walter Cope, a prominent architect, and Eliza Middleton Kane. Young Cope was deeply influenced by his family’s Quaker principles, particularly their pacifism. He graduated from the Germantown (Quaker) Friends School in 1919 and enrolled at nearby Haverford College, also a Quaker school. After a year, however, he transferred to Harvard and received his A.B. in 1923. That fall he entered Harvard Medical School. After two years he took a leave of absence to travel around the world. He first worked as a correspondent for an English-language newspaper in Beijing, China, and was among the first Western journalists to interview General Chiang Kai-shek. Cope then journeyed along the southern rim of Asia. In Indochina he was followed by the French secret police, who suspected him of being a spy. He traveled through British India and continued westward to the Mediterranean, having walked across great stretches of Persia. The trip left him contemptuous of European imperialism and skeptical of religious missionaries. In the fall of 1926 he returned to the United States in time to re-enroll at Harvard Medical School. He received an M.D. in 1928 and for the next four years served on the surgical house staff at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston....

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Curtis, John Green (29 October 1844–20 September 1913), physiologist, surgeon, and medical educator, was born in New York City, the son of George Curtis, president of the Continental Bank, and Julia B. Bridgham. Curtis attended private schools as a child and received private tutoring to prepare him for Harvard College. He graduated from that institution in 1866 with an A.B. and again in 1869 with an M.A. On 1 April 1869 Bellevue Hospital appointed him junior assistant physician for six months, then senior assistant for six additional months, and finally house surgeon for six months. In 1870 Curtis received his medical degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons. After graduation from medical school he entered private practice and became a junior partner with Henry B. Sands. Curtis married Martha McCook Davis in 1871....

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Cutler, Elliott Carr (30 July 1888–16 August 1947), surgeon and medical educator, was born in Bangor, Maine, the son of George Chalmers Cutler, a lumber merchant, and Mary Franklin Wilson. Cutler attended both Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, receiving his medical degree in 1913. He traveled to Heidelberg. where he studied pathology for one summer. Cutler then served as surgical intern at the newly opened Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, where he assisted surgeon ...

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DaCosta, John Chalmers (16 November 1863–15 May 1933), professor of surgery, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of George T. DaCosta and Margaretta Beasley. His father was president of the Camden & Atlantic Railroad; his mother taught him much of the history of Elizabethan England by the time he was eight. At the age of nine he was accidentally struck in the right eye, which led to a unilateral loss of sight. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1882 and from Jefferson Medical College in 1885. After residency training in Old Blockley (Philadelphia General) Hospital, he became assistant physician to the insane department of that institution and in 1887 to the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane. These experiences laid the groundwork for his lifelong interest in neurology....

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Davidge, John Beale (1768–23 August 1829), surgeon, medical educator, and founder of the University of Maryland, was born in Annapolis, Maryland, the son of Henry Davidge, a captain in the British army, and Honor Howard. His father died while he was small, and his mother apprenticed him to a cabinetmaker, but Davidge was eventually able to pursue medical studies with the financial support of friends. He enrolled in St. John’s College in Annapolis, where he received his M.A. in 1789. After graduation he studied medicine in Annapolis under James and William Murray. He continued his medical education, specializing in anatomical study, at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow, receiving his M.D. from the latter on 22 April 1793. Davidge married Wilhelmina Stuart, of the Firth of Solway, Scotland, in 1793; they had one son. After she died he married Rebecca Troup Polk, widow of Josiah Polk; they had three daughters....

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Charles Richard Drew. Oil on canvas, 1953, by Betsy Graves Reyneau (after Robert S. Scurlock). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Harmon Foundation.

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Drew, Charles Richard (03 June 1904–01 April 1950), blood plasma scientist, surgeon, and teacher, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Richard Thomas Drew, a carpet-layer, and Nora Rosella Burrell. Drew adored his hard-working parents and was determined from an early age to emulate them. Drew’s parents surrounded their children with the many opportunities available in Washington’s growing middle-class black community: excellent segregated schools, solid church and social affiliations, and their own strong example. Drew’s father was the sole black member of his union and served as its financial secretary....

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Dudley, Benjamin Winslow (12 April 1785–20 January 1870), surgeon and medical educator, was born in Spottsylvania County, Virginia, the son of the Reverend Ambrose Dudley, a Baptist minister, and Ann Parker Dudley. The couple moved with their seven children to Lexington, Kentucky, in 1786, when Benjamin was a year old (seven additional children were born to the Dudleys after the move to Lexington). Dudley’s medical education began in early 1800 under the mentorship of ...

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Fenger, Christian (03 November 1840–07 March 1902), surgeon, pathologist, and teacher, was born on the Brejninggaard estate in North Jutland, Denmark, the son of Hans Frederik Fenger and Frederikke Mathilde Fjelstrup, prosperous farmers. An uncle, Carl Emil Fenger, a physician and faculty member at the University of Copenhagen, may have influenced Fenger’s ultimate choice of profession. First, however, young Fenger entered the Polytechnic Institute in Copenhagen to study engineering. After the first year his father urged him to go into medicine, and so he entered the university’s medical school, obtaining his license to practice in 1867 and his M.D. in 1874, with a thesis on cancer of the stomach....

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Gerster, Arpad Geyza Charles (22 December 1848–11 March 1923), surgeon and medical educator, was born in Kassa, Hungary (later Slovakia), the son of Nicholas Gerster, a master chandler, and Caroline Schmidt-Sándy. At age seventeen he graduated from the Kassa Gymnasium. Robert Ultzmann, a local medical student, drew his interest to medicine, and Gerster entered the University of Vienna in October 1866 to study for that profession. The noted Theodor Billroth was his professor of surgery. In March 1872 Gerster graduated with the degrees of doctor of medicine, master of obstetrics, and doctor of surgery....

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Gross, Samuel David (08 July 1805–06 May 1884), surgeon and medical educator, was born near Easton, Pennsylvania, the son of Philip Gross and Johanna Juliana Brown, farmers. Samuel, one of six children, was raised in the Pennsylvania Dutch country speaking the Americanized German dialect. Gross first learned English at twelve and retained an accent throughout his life. His father died when Samuel was nine; his mother, a devout Lutheran, exercised a strong moral influence on her son....

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Lisabeth G. Svendsgaard

Lahey, Frank Howard (01 June 1880–27 June 1953), surgeon, was born Francis Howard Lahey (he later changed his first name to “Frank”) in Haverhill, Massachusetts, the son of Thomas Benjamin Pierce Lahey, a contractor, and Honora Frances Powers. Thomas Lahey, partner in the successful bridge-building firm Fletcher and Lahey, thought his son would assume his place in the family business, but young Frank aspired early on to have a career in medicine. After attending Haverhill High, he entered Harvard Medical School, earning the degree doctor of medicine in 1904. He then served as intern and house surgeon at Long Island Hospital before moving on to Boston City Hospital, where he worked as surgeon from 1905 to 1907. He became resident surgeon of the Haymarket Square Relief Station in 1908. That same year he was appointed instructor in surgery at Harvard; he held positions there from 1908 to 1909, then again from 1912 to 1915. In 1909 Lahey married Alice Church Wilcox; they had no children....