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June 1926


Arch Derm Syphilol. 1926;13(6):737-760. doi:10.1001/archderm.1926.02370180002001

'Tis opportune to look back upon old times, and contemplate our forefathers.—Sir Thomas Browne.

"It is the physicians's fate soon to be lost to memory. Some of his work, and with it his name, may remain, but the memory of the man himself is soon lost." It would be difficult to find a more fitting illustration of Pusey's statement than Robert Willan. To many physicians even his name is unknown. Dermatologists and historians of medicine know his name and that of his book "On Cutaneous Diseases." They know that while "the classification of diseases of the skin has been a favorite occupation of dermatologists for a century or more," Willan's classification "was used by the bulk of English practitioners"37 for half of that time. They call him the "founder of English dermatology,"37 "the founder of modern dermatology"55 and "the most celebrated of the dermatologists."36