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November 1976

Major Contributions of British Dermatologists—1876 to 1976

Author Affiliations

From St John's Hospital for Diseases of the Skin, London.

Arch Dermatol. 1976;112(ANIVERSARY):1659-1660. doi:10.1001/archderm.1976.01630360027007

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In the final quarter of the 19th century, the epicenter of dermatology was located in Germany, Austria-Hungary, and France, even though a century earlier Robert Willan had brought order to the subject for the first time. This was probably attributable to the important status given to professors of dermatology there as a consequence of their responsibility for the treatment of syphilis, as well as to the preeminent position of their medical schools. Britain was an off-shore island both geographically and dermatologically, and had never been eager to accept continental European customs before very careful scrutiny (no one can be surprised that it has taken Britain more than 20 years to become a member of the European Economic Community). No similar position of authority from their knowledge of syphilis was given to British dermatologists.

Although a number of physicians had confined their practice to skin disease for many years, the London

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