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March 2, 1990

Men and Books

Author Affiliations

Children's Mercy Hospital Kansas City, Mo

Children's Mercy Hospital Kansas City, Mo


by William Osier, 67 pp, $21 postpaid, ISBN 0-937543-01-2, Durham, NC, The Sacrum Press; Durham, NC, Emeritus Books [Box 3044, 27705], distributor, 1987.

JAMA. 1990;263(9):1281-1282. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440090119040

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


In 1912 William Osler was Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford. Over a three-year period, he wrote 26 essays for the Canadian Medical Association Journal about doctors of the past and books written by or about them.

These essays, which he called "Men and Books," would be lost to most readers were it not for Dr Earl F. Nation. In 1959 he collected the essays and had 250 copies of the collection printed privately. The current work, of which only 1000 copies were printed, originated from one of Dr Nation's copies. The new book is a collector's item, with an attractive binding and good-quality paper.

The essays reveal glimpses of Osler's activities at Oxford, his insight into medical history, and, above all, his passion for books. He tells of book auctions he attended at Sotheby's in London, of fine book collections, and how he managed to obtain treasures for small