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If those of us who were practicing medicine twelve or fifteen years ago were asked to-day what John Shaw Billings had done to make him so well known, many of us, we feel very sure, would answer that his great life work was that connected with the Surgeon-General's Library at Washington, and with those wonderfully practical guides to medical literature, the "Index Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General," its offshoot, the "Index Medicus," and the "National Medical Directory." And we would be justified in this, for he practically created that library, and was at its head for nearly a third of a century; in more senses than one, he made the "Index Catalogue," and was responsible, with the late Dr. Fletcher, for the "Index Medicus." These accomplishments are certainly worthy of commemoration. Still, these were mere incidents in the life work of John Shaw Billings, as one will realize
John Shaw Billings: A Memoir.. JAMA. 1915;LXIV(21):1784. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02570470068032