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Davison of Duke: His Reminiscences

Peter C. English, MD, PhD
JAMA. 1981;246(3):282. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320030066039.
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Two devoted students have collected the reminiscences of Wilburt Cornell Davison, first dean and pediatrician at Duke University Medical School. In addition to the autobiographical material, much of which is devoted to Davison's pre-Duke years, Jay Arena (an early leader in poison control) and John McGovern (a pediatric allergist) have assembled 100 pages of correspondence (largely between Davison and the editors), eulogies, and obituaries. What emerges from the volume is the lively spirit and charm of the dean called "Dave," whose motivating force Arena and McGovern believe was indispensible to the building and growth of Duke.

William Osler figured prominently in Davison's training. Osler advised Davison's studies while the American was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University (1913-1915), guided his clinical initiation at the Radcliffe Infirmary, and frequently selected Davison's reading material. On Osler's recommendation, he was admitted as a fourth-year student at Johns Hopkins in 1916, and there is


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