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February 1961

Dermatological Origins

Author Affiliations


Professor of Medical History in the Department of Anatomy and Chief of Division of Medical History.

Division of Medical History, Department of Anatomy, University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine.

Arch Dermatol. 1961;83(2):204-213. doi:10.1001/archderm.1961.01580080034003

Dermatology of a sort has existed as far into the past as any other aspect of medicine. This, of course, was the result of the dimension and superficial location of the human integument. However, dermatology, as a recognized, scientifically orientated medical specialty, was relatively late in its development. The obstacles to development were numerous, and for extensive periods of time dermatology was static. Occasionally it pursued a dead-end course, and all too frequently it was given only partial attention by men of great ability, who might have hastened its advancement had they been willing to devote themselves to this single subject rather than to consider dermatology as a subspecies of medicine. Finally, dermatology, by reason of its peculiarly visual character, suffered more than any other medical subject from lack of a proper mode of verbal expression and consequent difficulty of communication between its practitioners.

The origins of dermatology, therefore, do

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