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July 1949


Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1949;84(1):86-92. doi:10.1001/archinte.1949.00230010096018

IF SIR WILLIAM OSLER were to have summed up the philosophy of his life in a single word, it might well have been aequanimitas. It was the title he gave to his valedictory address at the University of Pennsylvania, and to his first book of essays.1 He practiced what he preached. Few men have acquired this quality of mind and soul in higher measure. It enabled him "to rise superior to the trials of life" and to meet little annoyances, as well as real sorrow, with serenity of mind. In the address, he impressed on his listeners the importance of cultivating the virtue of imperturbability, which he defined as "coolness and presence of mind under all circumstances." This quality, he pointed out, also enables its possessor to keep "his medullary centres under the highest control," so that his face will not lose its expression of serenity when annoying situations