The Strange Case of "Dr. Anonymous:" A History of Medicine Event

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Please join us on Tuesday, April 11 at 5:30 p.m. for the next Trent History of Medicine Lecture Series.

"The Strange Case of 'Dr. Anonymous:' A Mystery in the Early History of Coronary Artery Disease Passion, Discovery, and Serendipity in Book Collecting" with Paul Kligfield, MD

The event will be held in the Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room, Rubenstein Library Room 153.  No registration is required. A small reception will follow.

This event will also be live streamed online via this link for those unable to attend in-person. A recording will be made available via our website after the event.

William Heberden’s classic description of angina pectoris in the 18th century contained no speculation as to its cause, now known to be coronary artery disease.  Shortly after publication of his paper by the Royal College of Physicians, he received a letter from a man offering his body for autopsy to help search for a pathologic basis for his symptoms.  Indeed, death occurred within weeks of his correspondence and autopsy was performed by John Hunter.  The writer’s clinical description of his own symptoms of angina and impending sudden death was so medically accurate that historians have identified him as an unknown physician, described as “Dr Anonymous.”  Nearly half a century of interest in the history of cardiology, combined with passion and serendipity in medical book collecting, have now uncovered the true identity of Heberden’s previously unknown correspondent.  Come and share the discovery.

Paul Kligfield, MD, is Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, whose interests in the history of medicine include the development and early use of the stethoscope, the origins and technology of the electrocardiogram, and the development of the pathophysiologic understanding of angina pectoris. Dr. Kligfield has served on the Board of Governors of the American College of Cardiology, as President of the International Society for Computerized Electrocardiography, as President of the New York Cardiological Society, as a Director of the New York Heart Association, as Secretary and Trustee of the New York Academy of Medicine, and as President of the American Osler Society. He is a member of The Grolier Club of New York and an admitted bibliophile and recovering bibliomaniac.

Please visit the Josiah Charles Trent History of Medicine Room to view the exhibit A Library of Cardiology: The Paul Kligfield Collection on display through April 17, 2023.