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March 9, 1984

Drs Lewis and Kelly

Author Affiliations

Emory University Hospital Atlanta

JAMA. 1984;251(10):1277. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340340019007

To the Editor.—  First, we are all in debt to Dr Marc H. Hollender for unearthing the remarkable 1899 article, "The Gynecologic Consideration of the Sexual Act," by Denslow Lewis, MD.1 One cannot help being impressed in considering how Dr Lewis compiled such information in the late 19th century.However, my main purpose in writing is to assuage those gynecologists who may have been upset on reading what one of their heroes—Dr Howard A. Kelly—said in response to Dr Lewis' original presentation. Kelly was a product of his era, and he was a prude to the core. Even the title of his main biography2 (written by an acquaintance of many years) is telling. There is no denying his immense contributions to gynecology and surgery, but during his lifetime, he was constantly embroiled in social issues. H. L. Mencken was a contemporary in Baltimore and once wrote of Kelly,