The Johns Hopkins Gazette: September 30, 2002
September 30, 2002
VOL. 32, NO. 5


Historian Owsei Temkin To Be Honored

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

On Saturday, Oct. 5, the Department of the History of Science, Medicine and Technology, in the School of Medicine and the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, will sponsor an all-day symposium honoring famed historian Owsei Temkin.

The death of Temkin on July 18, a few months before his 100th birthday, breaks the last academic link with the founding fathers of the History of Medicine and one of the few remaining ties to the original faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Based on enormous scholarship and research, Temkin's work concentrated on the Western tradition of medical ideas and the ways in which medicine and surgery changed over the centuries. Trained at the University of Leipzig, Temkin came to the Institute of the History of Medicine at Hopkins in 1932, working alongside William H. Welch. In 1958, he became the director of the institute and the William H. Welch Professor of the History of Medicine.

For more than 35 years, Temkin introduced Hopkins students to the fascinating and challenging history of the medical sciences. Even in his retirement, Temkin continued his scholarship, publishing his final book, On Second Thought and Other Essays on the History of Medicine and Science, with Johns Hopkins University Press last January. Two of his former students, Barbara and Martin Wasserman, 1968 SOM graduates, established the Owsei Temkin Scholarship Fund in his honor.

The symposium on Oct. 5 reflects the broad range of Temkin's interests in medicine and history, which include the Hippocratic tradition, clinical and laboratory medicine from the 17th to the 19th centuries, and the history of ideas about health and disease. Distinguished scholars from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom will be speaking on historical themes and questions influenced by Temkin's work.

The event will be held from 9:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Mountcastle Auditorium in the Pre-Clinical Teaching Building, East Baltimore campus. It will be followed by a reception at the Institute of the History of Medicine in the Welch Library.

For details about the symposium, go to history_of_science/Temkin.htm or contact Christine Ruggere, curator of the Historical Collection Institute of the History of Medicine, at 410-955-3159 or