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September 26, 1966

Pursuit of the Purple

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Hospital, Minneapolis.

JAMA. 1966;197(13):1074-1080. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110130074021

Let me acknowledge my keen sense of privilege in the invitation to initiate a lectureship which I understand is planned as an annual event. I am indeed grateful for this high honor.

I could scarcely expect my audience to be aware of my passion for color. If any of you might think that the title of my talk detects need of a spinalfluid Wassermann, please relax—I have only the straightforward intent of discussing first a small store of information blended from etymology, biography, and history and then a few more recent and perhaps more definitive observations. As we are well aware, etymology often melts insensibly with history at large. The search for the origin of a single word is likely to lead one backward through distant time and human events. For my part, a pursuit of this type adds zest to medical research.

Historical Aspects  If one may speak