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The Frustrated Benevolence of ¿Dr. Anonymous:¿ Unraveling a Myth in the Early History of Angina Pectoris

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Thursday, April 02, 2020
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3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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Paul Kligfield, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
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Trent History of Medicine Lecture Series

Shortly after William Heberden published his clinical description of angina pectoris in 1772, he received a letter from an unnamed man who recognized his own symptoms. Suspecting his sudden death was imminent, Heberden's benevolent correspondent offered his body for postmortem examination to reveal the cause of the disease. Although the letter published was signed simply "Unknown," the mastery of medical terms and astute observations of the author led to his discovery as a contemporary physician, who has come to be known as "Dr. Anonymous." Curiosity, serendipity, bibliomania, and historical research over the past 40 years have led to the discovery of the surprising true identity of "Dr. Anonymous" and to an understanding of the life and times of Heberden's actual correspondent.

Contact: Rachel Ingold