Oliver Wendell Holmes

Bryce Traister (University of British Columbia)
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Born in 1809 to a conservative Protestant minister, Oliver Wendell Holmes was America's famous “poet-doctor.” A Harvard graduate (where he was class poet of 1829), he trained to be a medical doctor in Boston and Paris before becoming an anatomy professor, first at Dartmouth from 1839-1840, and then at Harvard from 1847 until his death in 1894. Whether he was more poet than doctor remains debatable, as he wrote poetry, prose, criticism, history, and memoir from 1830 until his death, whilst his medical “practice” was largely confined to the training of doctors (although several of his medical research projects were path-breaking contributions to modern epidemiology). He is largely, and somewhat inaccurately, remembered today as a c…

725 words

Citation: Traister, Bryce. "Oliver Wendell Holmes". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 March 2001 [https://staging.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2184, accessed 02 October 2023.]

2184 Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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