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March 1970

The Guilding Lamp of History

Am J Dis Child. 1970;119(3):199. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1970.02100050201001

While reading an address by Dana W. Atchley, MD,1 delivered when he was accepting the Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians, I ran across the following quotation:

It is rather disturbing for those of us who are on the far side of the generation gap to recognize that the young are relatively unaware of history. Perhaps they fail to subject their views to the cleansing discipline of historical perspective.

The quotation touched me with peculiar poignancy. Over a good many years I have participated time and again in the oral examinations of the American Board of Pediatrics. Quite often a candidate will disclose detailed knowledge of a relatively recent discovery of such great importance that it has changed the entire significance of the disorder under discussion. Under these circumstances I have been apt to comment:

Yes, it was a wonderful event for those who practice medicine when