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October 1951


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology and Syphilology, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (Dr. Donald M. Pillsbury, Director).

AMA Arch Derm Syphilol. 1951;64(4):417-424. doi:10.1001/archderm.1951.01570100034004

NO BRANCH of medicine lends itself so well as dermatology to the use of visual-education aids. Very early in the history of the specialty the need was felt for graphic representation to accompany the authoritative treatises, and it is not too much to say that the modern phase of dermatology began with successful methods of illustration. In this photographic age one tends to forget that the camera is not the only, nor even always the best, means of recording skin disease. My purpose is to review the early collections of engravings and lithographs which our predecessors found to be of greatest value in stabilizing the nosology of the specialty in its formative days.

Although occasional isolated woodcuts representing skin disease, particularly syphilis, have existed for centuries,1 the first systematic grouping of illustrations and descriptions of disease was accomplished by the great English physician Robert Willan (1757-1812). As early as

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