Keen, William W. (William Williams), 1837-1932

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Surgeon of Philadelphia.

From the description of Letter, 1864, Jan. 27 : Philadelphia, to Dr. Brinton. (Duke University). WorldCat record id: 34847965

William Williams Keen (1837-1932) was a prominent neurological pathologist from Philadelphia, and the first brain surgeon in the United States. Keen gained national attention for his then-secret surgery performed on President Grover Cleveland in 1893.

From the description of William Williams Keen's material related to the operation of President Cleveland, 1893-1918. (College of Physicians of Philadelphia). WorldCat record id: 776159038

From the description of For a book on artistic anatomy or better anatomy for artists : holograph, [ca. 1900] / William Williams Keen. (College of Physicians of Philadelphia). WorldCat record id: 777848153

William W. Keen was a surgeon and was president of the American Philosophical Society, 1908-1918.

From the description of Reminiscences for his children, 1912, 1915. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 122608697

Surgeon and professor of surgery. Brown class of 1859.

From the description of Papers, [ca. 1861-1930]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122348846

William Keen was a Philadelphia physician.

From the description of Autographs album, 1838-1863. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania). WorldCat record id: 122316676

Distinguished Philadelphia surgeon and neurologist; surgeon for the 5th Massachusetts, performed the 1st successful removal of a brain tumor in the U.S. in 1887; president of the International Society of Surgery.

From the description of W.W. Keen letters, 1923-1926. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 77133435

William W. Keen was a surgeon and served as president of the American Philosophical Society, 1908-1918.

From the guide to the Reminiscences for his children, 1912, 1915, 1912-1915, (American Philosophical Society)

William Williams Keen, surgeon and neurologist, was born on 19 January 1837 in Philadelphia. He was the third son of merchant William W. Keen and Susan (Budd) Keen. Keen married Emma Corinna Borden in 1867; they had four daughters, Corinne, Florence, Dora, and Margaret. William W. Keen died on 7 June 1932.Keen graduated from Brown University in 1859. He entered Jefferson Medical College in 1860, left in 1861 to become Surgeon to the 5th Massachusetts Regiment, then returned to Jefferson and received his M.D. in 1862. He then became Acting Assistant Surgeon in the U.S. Army and worked in a succession of military hospitals, including the Turner's Lane Hospital in Philadelphia, where he studied gunshot wounds and other neurological problems with S. Weir Mitchell and George R. Morehouse.From 1864-1865, Keen studied medicine in Europe. From 1866 to 1875, he taught pathology at Jefferson Medical College and was the head of the Philadelphia School of Anatomy. He was also Professor of Artistic Anatomy at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1876-1889). From 1884 to 1889, Keen was Professor of Surgery at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. From 1889 to his retirement in 1907, he was Professor of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College.In 1887, at St. Mary's Hospital in Philadelphia, Keen performed the first successful removal of a brain tumor in th.

e United States. He was the first physician to perform a decompression ofthe skull and also the first physician in Philadelphia to use Lister's antiseptic surgical practices. Keen was interested infocal epilepsy and microcephaly as well.William W. Keen edited Gray's Anatomy in 1883 and wrote numerous articles and monographs, including, in conjunction with J. William White, the American Text Book of Surgery (1892). Keenwas the author of A System of Surgery (1906-1921) also.He was elected to fellowship in the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1867 and was its president (1900-1901). Keen was also a member and president of many other professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, American Philosophical Society, American Surgical Association, and the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery. In 1920, he was president of the International Society of Surgery and presided over the society's 1923 meeting in Paris.

From the description of Personal correspondence, 1885-1929 (span), 1885-1897 (bulk). (College of Physicians of Philadelphia). WorldCat record id: 122465029

William Williams Keen (1837-1932) was a prominent neurological pathologist from Philadelphia, and the first brain surgeon in the United States. A graduate of Philadelphia Central High School and Brown University (1859), Keen received his MD from Jefferson Medical College (now Thomas Jefferson University) in 1862. Throughout his accomplished career, Keen worked as the Acting Assistant Surgeon in the Union Army during the Civil War from 1862 to 1864; lectured on pathology and surgery at Jefferson Medical College from 1866 to 1875 and 1889 to 1907; formed the Philadelphia School of Anatomy in 1875; and published on a variety of surgical topics. Some of Keen’s works include Reflexive Paralysis: The Result of Gunshot Wounds (1864) and Gunshot Wounds and Other injuries to Nerves (1864), both co-authored with S. Weir Mitchell and George R. Morehouse relating their observations of surgeries conducted during the Civil War. Keen also wrote or edited numerous anatomical works published in Gray’s Anatomy in 1887 and 1938, as well as co-authored the book Surgery its Principles and Practices with James White, considered a seminal text on the subject upon its publication in 1892.

Keen also gained national attention for his then-secret surgery performed on President Grover Cleveland in 1893. In mid-June 1893, White House physician Dr. Robert Maitland O’Reilly diagnosed a large growth along the roof of President Cleveland’s as a malignant tumor. An alarmed Frances Folsom Cleveland (President Cleveland’s wife) subsequently requested family friend Dr. Joseph Decatur Bryant to inspect President Cleveland. Concluding that the growth needed to be removed, Dr. Bryant summoned a team of prominent surgeons, including William Williams Keen. On July 1st, 1893, surgery on the President’s mouth took place aboard the yacht Oneida, and the growth was removed through the partial removal of the President’s jaw. According to Keen’s notes recounting the events of the day, “Dr. Janeway had watched [President Cleveland’s] pulse and his general condition. Dr. [Ferdinand] Hasbrouck administered the gas and Dr. [Robert Maitland] O’Reilly the ether and Dr. [Joseph Decatur] Bryant performed the operation assisted by Doctor [William Williams] Keen and Dr. [John F.] Erdmann.”

Given the tumultuous financial situation facing the United States at the time, the President’s surgery was kept secret so as not to further destabilize the already fragile markets. The President’s trip on the Oneida was billed as a “fishing trip” by the White House, and all efforts were made to disguise the intent of the President’s absence from Washington. Some journalists, most notably E. J. Edwards, caught wind of the true reason for President Cleveland’s Oneida trip, and on August 29th, 1893, The Philadelphia Press ran Edwards’ article recounting the event, titled, “The President A Very Sick Man.” Edwards’ claims were summarily dismissed by the White House, and his journalistic integrity was attacked by both the Cleveland administration and his contemporaries in the Democrat-supporting newspapers of the day. As a result, the truth on the details of the surgery remained murky for nearly twenty five years.

That was until William Williams Keen, with the permission of President Cleveland’s former wife, published his account of President Cleveland’s surgery in a Saturday Evening Post article on September 22nd, 1917. Keen had refreshed himself with the details of the surgery by corresponding with Frances Folsom Cleveland Preston (having remarried in 1913), Annette Bryant (wife of Joseph Decatur Bryant), Kasson C. Gibson (the doctor overseeing President Cleveland’s dental cast), Elias Cornelius Benedict (owner of the Oneida), and even E. J. Edwards regarding Edwards’ sources of information. The resulting article was widely disseminated, and many of Keen’s friends and colleagues sent him enthusiastic letters thanking him for the clarification. The article also confirmed many of E. J. Edward’s initial reports, vindicating the journalist’s work, for which Edwards was very grateful to Keen. Keen subsequently wrote a longer account of the surgery, which became a monograph and sent to friends, colleagues, and interested parties.

Sources:

-Algeo, Matthew. The President is a Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea and Vilifies the Courageous Newspaperman Who Dared Expose the Truth . Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2011.

-Stone, James L. "W. W. Keen: America's Pioneer Neurological Surgeon." Neurosurgery 17 (6) (1985): 997-1010.

-Thomas Jefferson University, "10 Notable Jefferson Alumni from the Past: William Williams Keen." Accessed August 15th, 2011. http://jeffline.tju.edu/SML/archives/exhibits/notable_alumni/william_keen.html

From the guide to the William Williams Keen's Material Related to the Operation of President Cleveland, 1893, 1905, 1915-1918, (College of Physicians Historical Medical Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Keen, William W. (William Williams), 1837-1932. Correspondence to Paul Philippe Cret, 1929. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Keen, William W. (William Williams), b. 1837. Letter : Philadelphia, to Moses Allen Starr, 1893 June 15. University of Chicago Library
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the Secretary. Correspondence, 1890-1926. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
creatorOf Pathological Society of Philadelphia (1857- ). Minutes of transcriptions and business; Sept. 29, 1857 to Apr. 14, 1887, 1857-1887. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the Secretary. Committee reports, 1867-1911. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
creatorOf Hay, John, 1838-1905. Correspondence, 1854-1914, "LaFarge" to "Lincoln". Brown University, John Hay Library
referencedIn Kelly, Howard A. (Howard Atwood), 1858-1943. Dr. Howard A. Kelly letters to William Orton Tewson [manuscript], 1922-1923. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Mitchell, S. Weir (Silas Weir), 1829-1914. Correspondence, 1851-1928. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
creatorOf American Philosophical Society. Correspondence with Henry Charles Lea, 1906-1912. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Pleadwell, F. L. (Frank Lester), 1872-1957. Papers, 1910-1953 and undated. Duke University, Medical Center Library & Archives
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the Librarian. Letters received, 1884-1932. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
creatorOf Keen, William Williams, 1837-1932. Autographs album, 1838-1863. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
creatorOf Keen, William W. (William Williams), b. 1837. W.W. Keen letters, 1923-1926. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Keen, William W. (William Williams), b. 1837. Letter, 1864, Jan. 27 : Philadelphia, to Dr. Brinton. Duke University, Medical Center Library & Archives
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the President. Correspondence in connection with matters concerning the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 1912-1916. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
creatorOf American Philosophical Society. Correspondence with Edgar Fahs Smith, 1887-1926. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Brown University. Library. Records of the Library, 1783-1958. Brown University, John Hay Library
creatorOf College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Committee on the Directory for Nurses. Records, 1881-1936. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn William Woodville Rockhill papers, 1826-1941. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Harrison, Ross G. (Ross Granville), 1870-1959. Ross Granville Harrison papers, 1820-1975 (inclusive), 1889-1959 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Harrison, Ross G. (Ross Granville), 1870-1959. Ross Granville Harrison papers, 1820-1975 (inclusive), 1889-1959 (bulk). Yale University Library
creatorOf Leidy, Joseph, 1823-1891. [Letters and drawings, 1847?-1890, collected by Joseph Willcox] College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the Superintendent. Letter book of Charles Perry Fisher, Librarian and Superintendent, 1909-1926. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn Cushing, Harvey, 1869-1939. Harvey Williams Cushing papers, 1745-1965 (inclusive), 1887-1939 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Cushing, Harvey, 1869-1939. Harvey Williams Cushing papers, 1745-1965 (inclusive), 1887-1939 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of Finance and Accounting. Records concerning special funds, bequests, and estates, 1858-1992. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the President. Letters, papers, etc. concerning the business of the College, 1909-1913 (span), 1910-1912 (bulk). College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company correspondence and records, 1832-1944. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Mitchell family. Papers, 1806-1949. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
creatorOf Colburn, Isaac Davis. Letter, [1859?], (no day, no month, Thursday), Brown University, to William Williams Keen. Brown University, John Hay Library
referencedIn William Crawford Gorgas Papers, 1857-1919, (bulk 1904-1913) Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
referencedIn Donaldson, Henry Herbert, 1857-1938. Diaries and papers, 1869-1938. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Walter, Herbert Eugene, b. 1867. Herbert Eugene Walter papers, 1885-1948 and n.d. Brown University, John Hay Library
creatorOf Keen, William W., (William Williams), 1837-1932. Correspondence with Henry Charles Lea, 1905-1912. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Library Committee. Records, 1846-1919. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn Henry Herbert Donaldson diaries and papers, 1869-1938, 1869-1938 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Keen, William W. (William Williams), b. 1837. For a book on artistic anatomy or better anatomy for artists : holograph, [ca. 1900] / William Williams Keen. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn Poppenheim, Louisa Bouknight, 1868-1957. Correspondence, 1871-1955. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. Ru 33: Office Of The Secretary, Outgoing Corres..
referencedIn American Philosophical Society Archives. Record Group IIh, 1892-1896 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf [William W. Keen, biographical materials] University of Wisconsin - Madison, General Library System
creatorOf College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Censors. Records, 1836-1931. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
creatorOf Keen, William Williams, 1837-1932. Papers, [ca. 1861-1930]. Brown University, John Hay Library
creatorOf Keen, William W. (William Williams), b1837. Personal correspondence, 1885-1929 (span), 1885-1897 (bulk). College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn Keen family. Supplement to Papers, [ca. 1915-1931]. Brown University, John Hay Library
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. Ru 26: Office Of The Secretary, Incoming Corres..
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company contracts, 1831-1979 (inclusive) 1880-1940 (bulk). Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Stewart, F. E. (Francis Edward), 1853-1941. Papers, 1866-1938. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Keen, William W. (William Williams), 1837-1932. Correspondence with Edgar Fahs Smith, 1902-1937. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Chace, George Ide, 1808-1899. Letter, 1877, December 10, to Dr. William Williams Keen, Providence, Rhode Island. Brown University, John Hay Library
referencedIn George Sarton additional papers, 1901-1956. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Keen, William W. (William Williams), 1837-1932. Letter to Agnes Repplier, 1919. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Dock, George, 1860-1951. Ephemera and papers separated from books in the Barlow Medical Library collection, 1878-1935. University of California, Los Angeles
creatorOf Kelly, Howard A. (Howard Atwood), 1858-1943. Papers, 1888-1935 and undated. Duke University, Medical Center Library & Archives
referencedIn Elihu Thomson Papers, 1865-1944 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf William Williams Keen's Material Related to the Operation of President Cleveland, 1893, 1905, 1915-1918 College of Physicians Historical Medical Library
creatorOf Hay, John, 1838-1905. Correspondence, 1854-1914, "Johnston" to "La Farge" Brown University, John Hay Library
creatorOf Keen, William W. (William Williams), b. 1837. Surgical reprints : [collection of offprints and reprints assembled for the Barlow Medical Library] / W.W. Keen. University of California, Los Angeles
creatorOf Ludlow, J. L. (John Livingston), 1819-1888. Unilocular ovarian cyst; opening spontaneously at the umbilicus and later into the peritoneal cavity., 1870-1871, [Case report by J.L. Ludlow and W.W. Keen]. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn Abbe, Robert, 1851-1928,. Memoranda of Dr. Benjamin Rush : scrapbook, 1781-1927. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
creatorOf Keen, William W. (William Williams), b. 1837. William Williams Keen's material related to the operation of President Cleveland, 1893-1918. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn Mitchell, S. Weir (Silas Weir), 1829-1914. Biographical project, 1914-1931. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Building Committee (1904-1914). Records, 1903-1915. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn Scientists and science collection, 1870-1948. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn William Roscoe Thayer additional papers, 1796-1927 (inclusive), 1877-1927 (bulk). Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection, circa 1800-circa 1998, bulk 1863-1974 Historical Collections, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia
referencedIn Harvard University Archives Photograph Collection: Portraits, ca. 1852-ca. 2004 Harvard University Archives.
creatorOf Linnard, J. M. Letter, 1862 Aug. 14, West Philadelphia, to Hon. Wm. D. Kelley. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn Mitchell, John K. (John Kearsley), 1859-1917. Letters, 1892-1914. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn Osler, William, Sir, 1849-1919. Letters, 1885-1919. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the Treasurer. Correspondence, 1877-1904. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. Ru 52: Assistant Secretary, Incoming Correspondenc.
creatorOf Reminiscences for his children, 1912, 1915, 1912-1915 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the Secretary. Correspondence concerning Robert Abbe, 1919-1939 (span), 1928-1929 (bulk). College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn William Roscoe Thayer papers, 1762-1927 (inclusive), 1872-1921 (bulk). Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn American Philosophical Society Archives, 1743-1984 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Walter B. Cannon Papers, 1905-1928 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Jones, Samuel, 1735-1814. Papers, 1759-1914. Brown University, John Hay Library
creatorOf Keen, William W. (William Williams), b. 1837. Reminiscences for his children, 1912, 1915. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Jefferson Medical College. Correspondence with Henry Charles Lea, 1880-1908. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Thomson, Elihu, 1853-1937. Papers, 1853-1955. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Keen, William W. (William Williams), b. 1837. Letter : Philadelphia, to Moses Allen Starr, 1893 June 15. Texas Christian University
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Abbe, Robert, 1851-1928, person
correspondedWith Allen, Harrison person
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correspondedWith Baird, Spencer F. person
associatedWith Benedict, E. C. (Elias Cornelius), 1834-1920. person
associatedWith Borden, S. Elizabeth. person
associatedWith Borden, Susan Easton. person
associatedWith Brinton, John H. (John Hill), 1832-1907. person
associatedWith Brown University. Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Bryant, Joseph D. (Joseph Decatur), 1845-1914. person
associatedWith Cannon, Walter B., (Walter Bradford), 1871-1945 person
associatedWith Carter, Henry Rose, 1852-1925 person
associatedWith Chace, George Ide, 1808-1899. person
associatedWith Cleveland, Frances Folsom, 1864-1947. person
associatedWith Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908 person
associatedWith Colburn, Isaac Davis. person
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. corporateBody
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associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the President. corporateBody
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associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the Secretary. corporateBody
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associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the Secretary. corporateBody
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the Superintendent. corporateBody
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associatedWith Cushing, Harvey, 1869-1939. person
associatedWith De Kruif, Paul, 1890-1971. person
associatedWith Donaldson, Henry Herbert, 1857-1938. person
associatedWith Edwards, E. Jay (Elisha Jay), 1847-1924. person
associatedWith Erdmann, John F. (John Frederick), 1864-1954. person
associatedWith Freeman, Corinne. person
associatedWith Freeman, Walter J. person
associatedWith Gibson, Kasson C. person
associatedWith Gibson, Kasson C., Dr. person
correspondedWith Gorgas, William Crawford, 1854-1920 person
associatedWith Harrison, Ross G. (Ross Granville), 1870-1959. person
associatedWith Hasbrouck, Ferdinand. person
associatedWith Hasbrouck, Ferdinand, Dr. person
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associatedWith Hench, Philip S. (Philip Showalter), 1896-1965 person
correspondedWith Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878 person
associatedWith Houghton Mifflin Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Jefferson Medical College. corporateBody
associatedWith Jones, Samuel, 1735-1814. person
associatedWith Kean, Jefferson Randolph, 1860-1950 person
associatedWith Keen, Emma Corinna Borden. person
associatedWith Keen family. family
associatedWith Keen, Florence. person
associatedWith Kelly, Howard A. (Howard Atwood), 1858-1943. person
associatedWith Lazear, Jesse William, 1866-1900 person
associatedWith Lea, Arthur H. person
associatedWith Leidy, Joseph, 1823-1891. person
associatedWith Levis, Richard J., 1827-1890. person
associatedWith Linnard, J. M. person
associatedWith Ludlow, J. L. (John Livingston), 1819-1888. person
associatedWith Meister, Joseph, 1876-1940. person
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associatedWith Mitchell, S. Weir (Silas Weir), 1829-1914. person
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associatedWith Osler, William, Sir, 1849-1919. person
associatedWith Pasteur, Louis, 1822-1895. person
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associatedWith Poppenheim, Louisa Bouknight, 1868-1957. person
associatedWith Reed, Walter, 1851-1902 person
correspondedWith Rhees, William J. person
correspondedWith Rockhill, William Woodville, 1854-1914 person
correspondedWith Sarton, George, 1884-1956 person
associatedWith Starr, M. Allen (Moses Allen), 1854-1932. person
associatedWith Stewart, F. E. (Francis Edward), 1853-1941. person
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correspondedWith Thayer, William Roscoe, 1859-1923 person
associatedWith Thomson, Elihu, 1853-1937. person
associatedWith United States. Army corporateBody
associatedWith Walter, Herbert Eugene, b. 1867. person
associatedWith Walter Reed Memorial Association. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
United States
Philadelphia (Pa.)
(Washington, D.C.)
United States
Philadelphia (Pa.)
Subject
Medicine
Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908--Health
Medicine--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
Medical education
Exchanges Of Publications
Physicians
Smithsonian Exchange
Natural history
Scientific organizations
White House
Medical education--United States
Anatomy
Smithsonian Publications
Carcinoma--Surgery
Lectures, Popular
Surgery
Anatomy, Artistic--History
Physicians--Correspondence, reminiscences, etc
Scientific publications
Occupation
Physicians--United States
Function

Person

Birth 1837-01-19

Death 1932-06-07

Information

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