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February 1, 1980

Franz Ingelfinger, MD: a redoubtable character

JAMA. 1980;243(5):409-414. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300310005003

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Tall, thin, stoop-shouldered, bald, his presence seems to fill the small, bare-walled office on the fourth floor of the Beth Israel Hospital's Yamins Building in Boston. His name is not on the office door; no Bigelow is on the floor. Only a part-time secretary is there.

Here is where Franz Joseph Ingelfinger, MD, researcher, clinical internist, and gastroenterologist, the first Conrad Wesselhoeft Professor of Medicine at Boston University's School of Medicine, and editoremeritus of the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the world's oldest journals in continuous existence, still works.

Though under Joseph Garland, the New England Journal's circulation increased from 20,000 in 1947 to 100,000 in 1967, with his innovations, Ingelfinger further expanded circulation, so that it was a whopping 170,000 when he stepped down in June 1977. Journal business manager Milton Paige, Jr, and Ingelfinger's secretary-assistant of 27 years (now retired), Mary Howe, say of "The Boss":