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September 24, 1960


JAMA. 1960;174(4):408-409. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03030040062020

Thomas Wakley (pronounced Wakely) was born in Devon, England, on July 11, 1795. His body was interred in the catacombs of Kensal Green Cemetery (London's greatest outdoor museum) late in May, 1862. The fame of Wakley is specifically identified with the founding and direction of the British Journal "Lancet." Equally famous, even notorious, are his polemics and documented crusadings,1 obviously on the side of right and justice. Wakley was only 28 years of age when he published the first issue of "Lancet." For almost 40 years he was a protagonist in the medical and lay press for those causes that he judged to be worthy of support. This led him into conflict with his professional peers, as well as with the civil courts. The laws for libel were more lenient a century ago, otherwise he might have spent a great deal of his time in jail or in

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