The Medical Almanac
Now you Merely Acknowledge calendric resonances, the anniversary view of histmy, and catalogue them by Alphabetical Priority. -John Barth, Letters The history of medicine is a microcosm for the whole of human history. Its advances parallel progress in science and philosophy, civilization and ethics. Its pageantry mirrors all the triumphs and follies of human history. Osler commented that "the really notable years in the annals of medicine are not very numerous. "l And indeed most calendars and alma nacs record but few medical milestones. The present collection has been made over a period of years. Its method is that of a commonplace book: "What have we to do but to set down this holy man's name in the calen dar of saints?"2 The persons herein represented include pre dominantly physicians, anatomists, and barber surgeons, with some few pharmacist-apothecaries and alchemists, an occa sional chemist, biochemist, or physiologist, an infrequent nurse, and a rare medical school botany professor of materia medica. The milestones cover the dates of great discoveries, first (and often contested) operations, publications, and pres entations. The feast days of holy patrons of those suffering various diseases are recalled, along with the dates of birth (and sometimes baptism), of medical graduation, and of the deaths of famous physicians. (It will be remembered that, with the exception of the feast of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist, saints are celebrated on the dates of their death-their birth into eternal life.