Correspondences with Welch, Cushing, Garrison, and Ackerknecht
Edited By Marcel H. Bickel
7Preface Henry E. Sigerist (1891–1957) is recognized as the foremost historian of medicine of his time. He was, in addition, an activist in the fight for a reform of the American health system and, last but not least, a scholar with an exceptional breadth of interests and with engaging hu- man qualities. Sigerist was born in 1891 in Paris, the son of Swiss parents. After schooling in Paris and Zurich he started out with studies of Oriental languages in Zurich and London, then studied medicine in Zurich and Munich. After obtaining his MD in 1917 he entered the field of the history of medicine as an independent scholar in Zurich and became so productive and successful that in 1925 he was called to fill the first chair of medical history in Leipzig as the successor of the famous Karl Sudhoff. After successful years at his new department he was offered the Chair of the first American institute of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. Glad to leave Germany before a Nazi takeover he moved to Baltimore in 1932. His Institute soon became the center of medico-historical activities in America, and the his- tory of medicine became professionalized. Sigerist became the outstand- ing scholar in the field, creating a wealth of publications; he also proved a successful organizer as well as an engaged propagator of new forms of health care systems, based on his conviction that health care was a right rather than a privilege. After 15 fruitful...
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