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Archives a Century Ago
May 2006

The Effects of Tropical Light on White Men

Author Affiliations


Arch Dermatol. 2006;142(5):553. doi:10.1001/archderm.142.5.553

by MAJOR CHAS. E. WOODRUFF, A. M., M. D. Surgeon U. S. Army. Rebman Company, New York and London, 1905.

The author announces in his preface that the present volume is the result of his search into the data to prove or disprove the theory advanced by von Schmaedel, in a paper read before the Anthropological Society of Munich in 1895, that skin pigmentation of man was evolved for the purpose of excluding the dangerous actinic or short rays of light which destroy living protoplasm. Having massed together all the data tending to support this idea the author makes many practical deductions as to the harmfulness of over-lighted schoolrooms, workshops, the dangers incurred by blondes in migrating to the tropics, even the search for the light of Southern California or Florida is liable to make neurasthenics worse instead of better.

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