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June 17, 1968


JAMA. 1968;204(12):1139. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140250119019

John Conrad Otto brought the first definitive account of hemophilia to the attention of physicians in America and Europe although descriptions of familial bleeders were contained in the writings of the ancients. Otto was born near Woodbury, NJ, into a family of physicians of Swiss-German stock. His father served in the Revolutionary War, whereas his grandfather attended the American Army at the encampment at Valley Forge and was in charge of the hospital during the tragic winter of 1778.1 Otto graduated AB from the College of New Jersey (Princeton) at 18 and was apprenticed to Benjamin Rush the following spring. In 1796, he graduated MD from the University of Pennsylvania, presenting an inaugural essay on epilepsy.

Otto, closely affiliated with Rush, began the practice of medicine in Philadelphia, and was physician to the Dispensary, the Orphan Asylum, and the Magdalen Asylum. He succeeded Rush as attending physician at the