Veterinarians were the first to describe melanomas, as occurring in horses, in 1784. Dupuytren1 is credited with having been the first to recognize the disease in man. However, Laennec was the earliest authority to describe and name them in the memoir which he read before the Society of the Faculty of Medicine of Paris in 1806.
Paget2 was probably the first to call attention to the ability of moles to degenerate into malignant growths. Later, Virchow3 recognized both a sarcomatous and a carcinomatous structure in many degenerated moles. He employed the term ``melanoma'' to describe the entire group.
Unna4 presented his theory in favor of epithelial origin of nevus cells, and thus all melanomas arising from these cells were considered to be of epithelial origin. The promulgation of this theory stimulated considerable investigation in an attempt to determine the origin of these lesions, and various theories
FARRELL HJ. CUTANEOUS MELANOMASWITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO PROGNOSIS. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1932;26(1):110–124. doi:10.1001/archderm.1932.01450030113016