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June 1961

The Centenary of Thomas Addison (1793-1860): His Contributions to Dermatology

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology, Northwestern University Medical School (Dr. Herbert Rattner, Chairman).

Arch Dermatol. 1961;83(6):934-935. doi:10.1001/archderm.1961.01580120046010

The year 1960 marks the centenary of the death of Thomas Addison. He was born in 1793 at Long Benton near Newcastle, England. In 1815 Thomas Addison received his M.D. degree from the University of Edinburgh, entitling his inaugural thesis De Syphilide. Soon afterwards he moved to London where he studied dermatology with the celebrated Thomas Bateman (1778-1821). He became so proficient in dermatology, that after the death of Bateman the position of chief in dermatology at the Public Dispensary was offered to Addison. However, Addison dreaded the label of specialist, and he did not accept this honored position. For, with Addison, the investigation of any disease meant the full exercise of his abilities till he had mastered the subject, and having done this he could not rest till he broke fresh ground for tillage. He always held that the true physician must understand surgery well, and that the good