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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Pages of History – The Medical Profession of Southern California






The other day while researching the 1910 Times bombing, I discovered a digitized book that I have been trying to buy for years: Dr. George H. Kress’ “A History of the Medical Profession of Southern California.”

Notice that this is the second edition. The first edition was being prepared for publication at the time of the bombing and was destroyed in the explosion and fire.  The book had to be entirely redone for the second edition.  Copies of this book are exceedingly rare and can only be found in a few libraries (this scanned copy is from the Medical Sciences Library at UC Irvine).

As a writer, Kress is rather dry and uses the starched, stiff style of the era. But the book provides marvelous glimpses of the earliest days of the medical profession in Los Angeles, and these stories do much to dispel the notion that the past was a “kinder, simpler time.”

Here’s Kress on one of the amusing crackpots of the day, William Money, who wrote what is probably the first or second book published in Los Angeles.

Kress’ book and Abraham Flexner’s “Medical Education in the United States and Canada,” also published in 1910, do much to dispel the image of doctors – at least in this era -- as saints in white gowns.

 
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