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March 3, 1962


JAMA. 1962;179(9):722-723. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050090050013

Abraham Colles (1773-1843) is remembered for his anatomical description of the perineal fascia, the diagnosis and treatment of fracture of the wrist, and clinical observations on syphilis. Born a few miles from Kilkenny in southeastern Ireland into a well-to-do family who operated a marble quarry, Abraham entered Trinity College, Dublin, at the age of 17. Since Irish medicine had not reached its zenith and did not until a generation later, Edinburgh, one of the great centers for medical education, was selected for graduate training. Colles spent two sessions at Edinburgh and was rewarded by the M.D. degree at the conclusion.

Any aspiring surgeon in the early 19th century, endowed with energy and ambition, most surely would have chosen Sir Astley Cooper in London for postgraduate experience. Colles was no exception. After a few months in the anatomical laboratory with Cooper, he returned to Dublin and was recognized to be the