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April 2, 1973

Joseph M. Toner (1825-1896) as a Medical Historian

JAMA. 1973;224(1):107-111. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220140075015

The quarter century after 1865 witnessed a notable increase in the amount of historical writing about American medicine, and also a striking improvement in its quality, for authors now chose broader themes and employed printed and manuscript sources more assiduously than their predecessors. [...]

One of those who encouraged, and in his career illustrated, this quickening interest in medical history was Joseph Meredith Toner, a well known practicing physician of Washington, DC, a leader in the profession who became president of both the American Medical Association and the American Public Health Association, a scholarly man with a taste for literary and antiquarian pursuits. As the author of historical monographs, the collector of a large library, and the promoter of commemorative events, he made important contributions to the history of medicine in the generation preceding that dominated by Mitchell and Osler.

Born in Pittsburgh in 1825 of an Irish Catholic family settled