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PERSPECTIVES IN BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE Volume II · Number 3 · Spring ig$g AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH GEORGE HOYT WHIPPLE, M.D.* An invitation to write an autobiography takes away some of the doubts which arise when an individual considers this very personal piece ofbusiness . Others share with me the propriety ofthis move. Ifanything which I can say will prove of some value to young workers in this wide field, then the pleasure more than compensates for the effort. I was born (1878) in Ashland, a small town in north-central New Hampshire in the lake district. I feel very fortunate that I grew up in the country. As a result of this environment , I became interested in wild life and camping, also hiking, snowshoeing, skating, bob sledding, canoeing, fishing, hunting—all this was an essential part of my life. My physical development and stamina were favorably influenced by these factors. A continuing interest in hunting, fishing, and camping has carried throughout my life and I feel sure has increased my capacity for work, study, and teaching. My father and his father were general medical practitioners. My mother's father, George Hoyt, was a businessman in Ashland. My father * The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, 260 Crittenden Boulevard, Rochester 20, New York. 253 and maternal grandfather died when I was two years old and my Grandfather Whipple a year later. My two grandmothers were both intelligent, determined women who ran their households very competently. Grandmother Hoyt, with whom we lived, took large responsibility for my development and discipline. My mother had great interest in my education and was determined that it be ofthe best type. I have no memory ofany conscious decision during my growth period to become a doctor. No one tried to influence me; yet, when I was asked what I intended to do, I always replied that I was going to be a doctor. This was true in grade school, preparatory school, and college. Gradeschool work went along at an average pace, but in the last year there were disciplinary troubles. This resulted in a transfer to high school in Tilton, New Hampshire, commuting daily by train. That year's work was quite satisfactory and prepared me to enter Phillips Andover Academy. Preparatory school life was wholly given to classwork, as we lived in Andover. Mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology were very interesting . Greek, Latin, German, and French courses, as they were then taught, were largely memory tests and were most difficult for me. Ifany good came from these struggles with languages, perhaps it was stern training in doing uninteresting but necessary tasks. The summers ofthis period were spent earning money in a drugstore and various summer hotels. I sometimes think I learned as much during the summer work periods as during the school terms. At Yale, my courses were more diversified. Again, I enjoyed the science courses and endured the foreign-language courses, which demanded very long study periods. When the minimum of these language courses was completed, life became much brighter. In my Senior year (1900), I came in contact with an unusual man who exerted a strong influence on me— Lafayette Mendel.Work with him in biochemistry was exciting and never to be forgotten. In collegeI becamedeeply interestedinathletics—rowingand gymnastic work especially—a member ofthegymnastic team, and oarsman on house and class crews. I planned to teach athletics for a year or so between college and medical school, as I was almost entirely self-supporting. I spent a year at the Holbrook Military Academy in Ossining, New York, where I taught mathematics and sciences and had charge ofthe athletic and gymnastic training. I found time to study Gray's Anatomy and learn much of 254 George Hoyt Whipple · Autobiographical Sketch Perspectives in Biology and Medicine · Spring 2959 the bones, muscles, vessels, and nerves with the new vocabulary. This year matured me, and I was able to take full advantage ofthe medical school training which began the following year atJohns Hopkins. The summers of this period were spent working on summer steamers which operated in Sunapee and Squam lakes in New Hampshire. This type ofwork was strenuous, interesting, and rewarding. My mother's interest in...


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