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November 1996

Moments in Surgical History

Arch Surg. 1996;131(11):1229. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1996.01430230111019

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John Collins Warren (1778-1856) was professor of anatomy and surgery at Harvard University and a surgeon at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Among his many achievements were introducing into the United States the operation of staphylorrhaphy for the treatment of fissure of the soft palate and having performed the first reported operation in surgical history in which anesthesia was used (1846). Warren is also remembered for writing the first American textbook on surgical oncology, the classic Surgical Observations on Tumours (1837). Divided into 14 sections plus a glossary of distinguishing characteristics of tumors, Warren included such topics as "epidermoid tumours," "tumours of the secreting glands," and "abdominal tumours." The treatise contains 16 hand-colored illustrations by the well-known American engraver David C. Johnston (1799-1865).

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