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May 5, 1962

Louisiana Swamp Doctor: The Life and Writings of Henry Clay Lewis

JAMA. 1962;180(5):431. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050180077030

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More than a century ago, a young physician in Louisiana contributed a series of popular humor published in a New York weekly newspaper, Spirit of the Times. These were signed by Madison Tensas, M.D., pseudonym for Henry Clay Lewis, who was born in Charleston, S.C., in 1825. He was orphaned at the age of 6, lived for 10 years in Yazoo, Mississippi territory, and received his formal medical training at the Louisville Medical Institute, opened in 1837. Faculty members at that time included Daniel Drake, professor of pathology and practice of medicine, and Samuel D. Gross, professor of surgery. His first humorous skit was published after his return to Yazoo City following a full term at the Medical Institute. In one flight of whimsy, the swamp doctor compared his life to that of the city physician:

"The city physician wears broadcloth and looking in his hat reads 'Paris': we adorn

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