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Books, Journals, New Media
March 25, 1998

Medical HistorianMaking Medical History: The Life and Times of Henry E. Sigerist

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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JAMA. 1998;279(12):961-962. doi:10.1001/jama.279.12.961-JBK0325-2-1

Four decades after the death of Henry E. Sigerist and a half-century after his departure from the American academic scene, the man acknowledged in his prime to be the world's leading medical historian is the subject of this essay collection. Editors Fee and Brown seek to reacquaint readers with Sigerist's work and, more ambitiously, to further the process of "the renaissance of his reputation and . . . recovery of his legacy."

The overarching theme of this volume is the dual and sometimes complementary nature of Sigerist's career in medical history and his role in the movement to reform radically the American health care system, a theme vividly illustrated by contrasting photographs of Sigerist seated at his chairman's office desk at the Johns Hopkins University Institute of the History of Medicine. While the dust jacket depicts a scholar surrounded by vellum-bound rare books, gazing pensively into space, the frontispiece from a 1939 cover of Time magazine shows him staring penetratingly into the camera, a large globe of the world behind him and the caption "His philosophy: History spirals toward Socialization."

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