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Archibald Bruce. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B03753).


Bruce, Archibald ( February 1777–22 February 1818), physician, mineralogist, and editor, was born in New York City, the son of William Bruce, a British army medical officer, and Judith Bayard Van Rensselaer. Despite his father’s expressed wish, Bruce pursued medical education and practice. After taking an A.B. at Columbia College in 1797, he continued his studies in New York and then moved on to Edinburgh (M.D., 1800). As was common in this period, his medical education included exposure to the natural sciences, and Bruce developed a lifelong interest in mineralogy. After completing his M.D., he extended his European stay with travels on the Continent to study mineralogy and collect materials for his own mineralogical cabinet....


Saugrain De Vigni, Antoine François (17 February 1763–18 or 19 May 1820), naturalist, mineralogist, surgeon, and physician, was born in Paris, France, the son of Antoine Claude Saugrain, a bookseller, and Marie Brunet. Little is known of Saugrain’s education other than through a 1787 letter of introduction to ...


Smith, John Lawrence (16 or 17 Dec. 1818–12 October 1883), chemist, mineralogist, and physician, was born near Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Benjamin Smith, a wealthy merchant; his mother’s name is unknown. At a very young age, even before he could read, John Lawrence Smith demonstrated precocity in mathematics. After attending private schools and receiving a classical education at the College of Charleston, in 1835 he entered the University of Virginia, where he concentrated on science, mathematics, and engineering. Returning to Charleston in 1837, he worked for one year on a Charleston-to-Cincinnati railroad engineering project before entering the Medical College of Charleston and completing requirements for his M.D. degree in 1840. He studied in Europe for several years with Justus Liebig (who inspired him to focus his research efforts on chemistry), J. B. Dumas, Matthieu Joseph Bonaventure Orfila, and Élie de Beaumont. Also at this time he initiated a lifelong association with ...