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William Osler

Sir William Osler (July 12, 1849 - December 29, 1919) was a Canadian physician. He has been called one of the greatest icons of modern medicine, the Father of Modern Medicine, which is what he himself considered Avicenna to be.

He was born in Bond Head, Canada West (now Ontario) and studied and taught at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, where he obtained his medical degree in 1872. In 1884 he was appointed Chair of Clinical Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. in Philadelphia and in 1889 he became the first Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. In 1905 he was appointed to the Regius Chair of Medicine at Oxford, which he held until his death. Osler was created a baronet in 1911 for his great contributions to the field of medicine.

Osler was a prolific author and a great collector of books relevant to the history of medicine. His most famous work is the Principles and Practice of Medicine, which appeared in many editions and translations for over 50 years. After his death, his book collection formed the nucleus of McGill University's Osler Library of the History of Medicine, which opened in 1929. Sir William and Lady Osler's ashes rest there among his beloved books.

Throughout his life Osler was a great admirer of the 17th century physician and philosopher Sir Thomas Browne.

Osler lent his name to a number of diseases and symptoms.


Bliss, Michael. William Osler : a life in medicine / by Michael Bliss. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, c1999. ISBN 0802043496

Cushing, Harvey. The life of Sir William Osler / by Harvey Cushing. Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1925.

External links

  • About the Osler Library
  • Project Gutenberg e-text of Sir William Osler's lectures on The Evolution of Modern Medicine
  • Biography on

Last updated: 02-10-2005 08:10:57
Last updated: 02-22-2005 16:15:51