December 22, 1969

Biographical Essay

Author Affiliations

From the Scientific Publications Division, American Medical Association, Chicago.

JAMA. 1969;210(12):2269-2271. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03160380083020

Sir William Osler, judged by many to be the greatest clinician of our times, was born at Bond Head, Ontario, Canada, the son of English parents who migrated to frontier Upper Canada to take up mission work.1 Osler was educated at the Anglican school in Weston; there the warden introduced him to Browne's Religio Medici, his lifelong literary companion. Although Osler had intended to take holy orders, he began the study of medicine at the University of Toronto; in 1872, he finished at McGill University. During the following two years he visited medical centers in Europe, with the longest residence in London, where he studied physiology under Burdon-Sanderson at University College. This, the first of a long series of "braindusting" excursions back and forth across the Atlantic, made him as much a part of European as American medicine.

Osler returned to Canada intending to enter general practice. However, after