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January 24, 1977

Physician Signers of the Declaration of Independence

JAMA. 1977;237(4):388-389. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270310074019

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Theory and Practice in American Medicine: Historical Studies From the Journal of the History of Medicine & Allied Sciences,  edited by Gert H. Brieger, 272 pp, with illus, $12, paper $4.95, New York, Science History Publications, 1976.The bicentennial year has focused attention on the history of American medicine, with the result that many important studies have been recently published. Two new books deserve special notice and special commendation. The first deals with the physicians who signed the Declaration of Independence. Everyone knows that among the 56 signers were "several" physicians, and that Benjamin Rush was among them. But who were the others? And what do we know about them? A group of outstanding historians, under the editorship of George E. Gifford, Jr, has produced a brief but splendid volume that describes each of the five signers. In the essays, we get interesting biographical sketches of the individual physicians and,