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February 21, 1977

Memoirs of a Pioneer Surgeon

JAMA. 1977;237(8):808. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270350068033

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Personal recollections are the foundations of history. An observer declares, "This is what I saw, this is what I did, and this is the way I interpret things." Such primary sources provide the indispensable raw data that the historian critically examines and, with their help, builds up a picture of the past.

Dr Middleton's Memoirs comprises such primary source material. He was born in 1866 in southern Utah, a true son of the frontier. Lacking all the advantages of modern life, he wrested an education despite great difficulties and, after getting a medical degree, started as a literal "horse and buggy doctor," to rise to great professional prominence in his state. He described not only his practice but his extensive postgraduate education in this country and abroad and modestly tells of his rise to professional leadership. He retired from practice in 1932 and died in 1938. He wrote the memoirs