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December 1959


Author Affiliations


Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959;104(6):966-973. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270120122016

It is a great and sobering and somewhat paralyzing honor to be asked to deliver the Frank Billings Lecture this year. How great an honor it is was not sufficiently obvious to me until I had looked over the names of the lecturers and the substance of their discourses since Dr. Joseph L. Miller 1 inaugurated the series, in 1930.

I was tempted to give a historical review of Frank Billings and of this lectureship until I found that this had been done to perfection by Dr. William S. Middleton,2 in 1956, and by Dr. C. Sidney Burwell,3 in 1957.

So, without a further introduction, I will do what Winston Churchill described himself as doing in his first political address, at Bath. He said, "Hardening my heart, summoning my resolution, I let off my speech."

About twenty-five years ago, Dr. Wolferth and I became interested in a phenomenon