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May 21, 1982

Osier, 'E. Y. D.,' and Hysteria

Author Affiliations

From the Huntington Hospital, Huntington, NY, and the School of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook.

JAMA. 1982;247(19):2698-2699. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320440046033

IN ADDITION to his many other attributes, Sir William Osler (1849-1919) was highly regarded as a neurologist. His books, The Cerebral Palsies of Children1 and On Chorea and Choreiform Affections,2 elegantly attest to this. He was the author of occasional pseudonymous papers and letters under the nom de plume of Egerton Yorrick Davis, "late US Army Surgeon."3 E. Y. Davis, often abbreviated as "E. Y. D.," was Osler's alter ego, his fanciful half that expressed the humorous, jesting side of his nature—a quirk that often got him into trouble.4(pp239-242),5,6 No doubt "Yorrick" was borrowed from Shakespeare's Hamlet—"Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy."

Reproduced in the Figure is a mock consultation note written by Osler while professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University and signed "E. Y. D." Although undated, the address allows us to place