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March 2, 1963

A syllabus of medical history.

JAMA. 1963;183(9):812. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700090132044

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In recent years I have discovered a relatively small sect of physicians and medical scientists whose second religion is the history of medicine. Their labors usually are avocational, but the results are as productive as during any period of American medicine. Manuscripts and documents of the past have been rediscovered or rereviewed and subsequently studied or translated, leading to a fresh viewpoint and sometimes a new interpretation. In addition to those whose intellectual efforts are published from time to time, there is a much larger group of physicians and other interested scholars, who have professed no formal interest in medical history, but who are responsive to communications that appear regularly in the Editorial pages of JAMA or, occasionally, in other periodicals. Much to my surprise, no other item in The Journal elicits the unremitting and generally favorable comments than do the historical essays. As long as the response through unsolicited

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