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January 2, 2002

Osler's Financial and Linguistic Resources

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2002;287(1):45-46. doi:10.1001/jama.287.1.40

To the Editor: I believe that there are several inaccuracies in Dr Tremblay's1 review of Hinohara and Niki's Osler's "A Way of Life" and Other Addresses With Commentary and Annotations," which provides exhaustive descriptions of Osler's more obscure historical and literary references. First, Tremblay incorrectly states that Osler was one of the wealthiest doctors in North America. Osler inherited little wealth from his clergyman father. He did receive a consistent, perhaps even substantial, income from his textbook, which was augmented by his meager hospital-based salary. Although he was in great demand as a consultant, he never generated large incomes from his practice. In his correspondence he frequently referred to lack of funds, especially in reference to buying old works of literature and medicine. His brothers were quite wealthy and often gave him the money to buy books for his library, which totaled 8000 volumes by the time of his death in 1919. He always had financial security, but he was not as wealthy as many of the practicing clinicians and surgeons of his day.

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