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Am J Public Health Nations Health. 1933 April; 23(4): 394–395. PMCID: PMC1558306

The History of Dermatology

Reviewed by Mazÿck P. Ravenel

The History of Dermatology-By William Allen Pusey, M.D. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas, 1933. Price, $3.00.

The author states in his preface that there is no history of dermatology in English, and has undertaken to supply this need. Everyone knows that there is no one better fitted to write such a book than Dr. Pusey. Not only does he know his subject, but he knows how to write in an interesting and orderly manner.

The book begins with ancient dermatology, Egypt to Greece, 3000 to 300B.C. It brings us down through Graeco-Roman, Arabian and medieval dermatology, Rome to the Renaissance, 300 B.C. to 1500 A.D., and so on to the present.  Dermatology began to find itself, so to speak, 1750 to 1825, clinical and laboratory dermatology 1800 to 1850.  The first phase of modern dermatology in Continental Europe and in Great Britain and the United States is placed from 1850 to 1900. The author, while giving full credit to those anatomists who studied the skin, the sweat glands, etc., gives to Astruc credit as the true founder of modern dermatology.  British dermatology is credited chiefly to Willan (1757-1812), but it is recognized that the founder of French dermatology, Lorry, of Paris, was the first to regard the skin as a living organ of the body with relationships to all other parts.The efforts of Lorry and Willan therefore combined to start the modern stream of dermatology.

Most interesting sketches are given of many of the great dermatologists. The first dermatological society in the world was founded in New York in1869, and has had a continuous existence to the present. Dermatology in America derived its inspiration from Europe, and James C. White, a disciple of Hebra, is described as being the strongest force in shaping its earlycourse. The author states that spirotrichosis and tularemia are the two diseases which have been discovered and completely worked out in the UnitedStates. A very useful part of the book is a historical index of dermatology, written largely by Dr. Herbert Rattner. The text is well illustrated with photographs of the majority of the men who have been prominent in this line. A good index adds greatly to the value of the book. The printing and make-up are characteristic of the fine work to which we have been accustomed from Charles C. Thomas.

MAZYCI P. RAVENEL"                               

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