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October 21, 1961

A Brief Account of Henry Gray, F.R.S., and His Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical, During a Century of Its Publication in America

JAMA. 1961;178(3):357. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040420097044

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For more years, probably, than he is willing to admit, the author has edited the American edition of Gray's Anatomy. Now he has collected the rather skimpy biographical material about the originator of this book and followed the extraordinary developments and occasional vicissitudes of an important medical treatise, the anatomical Bible for many generations of first-year medical students.

Gray is an excellent example of the failure of recognition of a prophet in his own country and time. We have only the most meager and biographical data of Gray, whose premature death was recorded in a few perfunctory obituary notices published in England. Just what set him on his course of fascinated exploration of anatomy, what gave him the capacity to collect, collate, condense, and then present the great mass of anatomical detail required for understanding medicine, no one has any clear idea.

No history of anatomy over the last 100

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