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June 12, 1967

William Harvey and the Circulation

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Scientific Publications, American Medical Association, Chicago.

JAMA. 1967;200(11):961-963. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120240089013

The discovery of the circulation marked a turning point in the history of thought, and consequently, William Harvey will always hold a dominant place among the immortals of medical science. Yet, when we compare him with many figures of lesser prominence, biographical data are quite sparse and primary documents, on which all biography must ultimately rest, relatively scanty. A biographer, therefore, in portraying Harvey, must emphasize the relationships into which he entered, the people with whom he came in contact, and the events in which he participated. Sir Geoffrey Keynes, the outstanding authority on Sir Thomas Browne as well as on Harvey, has just published the Life of William Harvey,1 which will long stand as the definitive biography. Perhaps a more appropriate title might have been "The Life and Times" of William Harvey.

Keynes depicts Harvey in relation to his friends, professional colleagues, and patients; to his sovereigns James