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Drake, the Many-Sided Physician

Arthur G. King, MD
JAMA. 1985;254(15):2117-2119. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360150093032.
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sylvis nuncius was the motto chosen by Daniel Drake in 1828 for the Western Journal of Medical and Physical Sciences. Translatable as "Messenger From the Backwoods," it accurately describes the man himself. He made known to the world that Cincinnati was emerging from a frontier settlement into an important focus of agricultural, mercantile, and cultural development. Fully as important as the message was the messenger, a citizen as well as a great physician.

In 1800 Cincinnati was a frontier village of 750 people depending for survival on Fort Washington and its garrison. The Treaty of Greenville, by which the Indians had agreed to withdraw beyond a line a little west of Cincinnati, was only five years old. The economic devastation following the American Revolution had sent people west to start a new life. Of these a few were restless adventurers who craved a continuation of the stirring events of only


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