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October 1997

MOVEMENTS IN SURGICAL HISTORY: An American Text-Book of Surgery

Arch Surg. 1997;132(10):1148. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430340102019

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IN THE ALMOST 4-century evolution of American surgery, a relatively select number of textbooks can be regarded as landmark publications. Within this elite grouping, William W. Keen's (1837-1924) and James W. White's (1850-1916) An American Text-Book of Surgery (1892) deserves special recognition. An important text because of its strong advocacy of Listerian principles in surgery, the preface notes "especial prominence has been given to surgical bacteriology, and to the most recent methods of treatment, particularly in relation to asepsis and antisepsis." The work fully discusses how to sterilize sutures and describes the various methods of disinfecting instruments, hands, and the field of operation. In addition, An American Text-Book of Surgery has particular importance because it was the first surgical textbook written by many authors in which only American surgeons were involved. Among the contributors were Charles H. Burnett (1842-1902), Phineas S. Conner (1839-1909), Frederic S. Dennis (1850-1934), Charles B. Nancrede

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