12 Jul 1849-29 Dec 1919
William Osler was born in Bond Head, Ontario in 1849. He received his M.D. in 1872 from McGill University and studied in London, Berlin, and Vienna from 1872 to 1874. He joined the faculty of McGill in 1874, and left in 1884 to become professor of clinical medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Osler was recruited by John S. Billings in 1888 to be physician-in-chief of the soon-to-open Johns Hopkins Hospital and professor of medicine at the school of medicine being planned. He revolutionized the medical curriculum of the United States and Canada, combining the best of the English and German systems. He adapted the English system to egalitarian American principles by teaching all medical students at the bedside. Believing that students learn best by doing, he felt that clinical instructions should begin with the patient and conclude with the patient. He stressed that books were supportive tools to this end and required that all students do a rotation in the bacteriology laboratory. Osler introduced the German postgraduate training system, instituting a general internship of one year to be followed by a residency of several years. His book The Principles and Practice of Medicine, first published in 1892, was based upon the advances in medical science of the previous 50 years and remained the standard text on clinical medicine for the next 40 years. He left Johns Hopkins in 1905 to accept the Regius Professorship of Medicine at Oxford University.
1888-1905 - Johns Hopkins Hospital
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Scope and Content:
The William Osler Collection spans his entire medical career. Series include correspondence, personal and biographical materials, collected notes on medical conditions, publications, and photographs. There is an extensive group of letters from Osler to Henry Barton Jacobs covering the period 1905-1919. The majority of the Osler Papers at the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives are notes, case histories, letters, photographs, and journal articles on a vast range of diseases and medical conditions. The collection also includes material culture objects associated with William Osler and a few personal documents related to his son Revere Osler. A larger collection of Osler's personal papers is located in the Osler Library at McGill University in Montreal.
Restrictions on Access: This collection may contain some restricted records. Materials pertaining to patients, students, employees, and human research subjects, as well as unprocessed collections and recent administrative records, carry restrictions on access. For more information about the policies and procedures for access, see the Archives Policy on Access and Use.
Restrictions on Use: When citing material from this collection, credit The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. For permission to reproduce images, contact the holder of the copyright.