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April 29, 1968


JAMA. 1968;204(5):394-395. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140180044014

John Benjamin Murphy, one of the great clinical teachers during the maturation of surgery in America and as popular abroad as at home, was born of Irish parents on a farm near Appleton, Wis. His father had left County Limerick during the potato famine of the late 1840's.1 Young Murphy completed seven years of elementary education in a one-room district school with one teacher for all grades; thereafter, he attended the Appleton High School and supplemented his meager allowance by working part-time at the village pharmacy. He became acquainted with the leading practitioner, H.W. Reilly, first as an interested attendant and later as an apprentice. Access to medical books enabled him to study anatomy and physiology; his curiosity in biology led him to dissect birds, rabbits, and squirrels from the fields. His formal medical education was completed in one year at Rush Medical College, after which he proceeded to