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Special Millennium Article
January 2000

The Roots of Dermatologic Thought Originated in a Botanic Garden

Arch Dermatol. 2000;136(1):28-29. doi:10.1001/archderm.136.1.28

You see, sweet maid, we marry

A gentler scion to the wildest stock,

And make conceive a bark of baser kind

By bud of nobler race: this is art

Which does mend nature; change it rather, but

The art itself is nature.—William Shakespeare, 1564-1616

Now at the turn of the century and of the millennium, dermatology is more than 2 centuries old, but its maturity is troubled by uncertainties and interferences, mined by losses and intrusions, appropriations and forgotten values. The Cassandras of dermatology predict millenary disasters. The mourners of medicine cry about a patient who is not yet deceased. Yet patients continue to exist with their needs, and human curiosity furnishes the drive to search for new solutions to their and our problems. At this turn of the millennium, which coincides with a critical stage in dermatology and medicine in general, rather than consulting the stars, we can better understand our future by analyzing the historical, cultural, and scientific conditions that, slightly less than 2 centuries ago, gave birth to dermatology and permitted it to flourish.

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