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November 11, 1939


JAMA. 1939;113(20):1815-1816. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800450037014

The famous paper of the plant physiologist Ferdinand Cohn entitled "Bacteria, the Smallest of Living Things" introduced scientific bacteriology; it was first published in Berlin, Germany, in 1872 and has just been issued in an English translation in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine and as a separate reprint.1 Morris C. Leikind has added an informative and interesting preface. The paper was translated in 1881 by Charles S. Dolley, who, by the way, spent several years as a student in Europe, at the university in Leipzig and at the zoological station in Naples. Dolley, while yet a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, read Cohn's paper in the original German. Recognizing at once its importance for the entire field of biology and bacteriology, he published the translation which is the basis of this new edition.

Cohn's systematic investigations of the life of the microbe world began in