July 1949


Author Affiliations


Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1949;84(1):7-11. doi:10.1001/archinte.1949.00230010017003

ONE of the best documented figures in medicine, William Osler, raised his own literary monument, and it was further adorned by the personal tributes so freely outpoured in his memory; then, all received the final floodlighting of Cushing's biography.1 As it happens, the literature is extremely distracting for my object. The more of it one reads, the longer one postpones the achievement of that "flighty purpose" which Osler was so eminently able to overtake.

From the mass of literary scaffolding which has been discarded in producing Osler's memorials, I have chosen the manuscript books containing Osler's early autopsy descriptions. Apparently, there were five, but only two have been preserved.2 Osler used all these books when he was writing his textbook in Baltimore, but when the missing ones went astray is not known.

Of all the specimens of his own handwriting, few more vividly and directly remind one of

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