Tag Archives: George Dunea

Lucrezia Borgia—victim of her times

George Dunea   The only confirmed Lucrezia portrait painted from life. Attributed to Dosso Dossi, c. 1519, National Gallery of Victoria. Via Wikimedia. For five hundred years, society has unfairly blackened the name of Lucrezia Borgia—in history, literature, even in opera. Living at a time when girls could be disposed of at their parents’ whim, […]

The assassination of President McKinley: death from traumatic gunshot pancreatitis?

Portrait of William McKinley. by Albert C. Fauley, 1896. Via the Ohio State House. On September 6, 1901, the 25th president of the United States, William McKinley, was shot twice with a concealed weapon by the anarchist Leon Czolgosz at the Temple of Music on the grounds of the Pan-American exposition in Buffalo, New York. […]

Frederick Delius and his neurological disease

Photograph of Frederick Delius. 1907. From Monographien moderner musiker. Via Wikimedia. The life of the English composer Frederick Delius and his tragic encounter with the spirochaeta pallida has been extensively documented. He was born in 1862 in the industrial Yorkshire town of Bradford. His family had come to England from Germany but was originally Dutch, […]

Felix Mendelssohn, musical prodigy

Oil portrait of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, painted in 1846 by Eduard Magnus. From the Berlin State Library. Via Wikimedia. Felix Mendelssohn made his musical debut at age nine. Born in Hamburg in 1809, he came from a distinguished German family that moved to Berlin in 1902. His grandfather and father had been successful businessmen who […]

Franz Liszt, best piano player in Europe

Composer and pianist Franz Liszt. Photo by Franz Hanfstaengl. 1858. Via Wikimedia. Like Mozart and Mendelssohn, Franz Liszt was a musical prodigy. He played the piano when he was five years old. At eight, he could read difficult music, and two years later he was composing music himself. By age twelve he was ranked one […]

Diane de Poitiers, a case of mammary narcissism

A Lady in Her Bath, by Francois Clouet, 1571. National Gallery of Art, Washington. The woman in partial undress shown by Francois Clouet as A Lady in Her Bath is believed to be the famous mistress of the French King Henry II, Diane de Poitiers.1 Born in 1499 in the château of St. Vallier on […]

Sir John Pringle, public health and military medicine pioneer

Sir John Pringle. Oil painting. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) At the end of the eighteenth century, Scottish doctors were more popular with patients than English ones because “their useful knowledge contrasted with the ornamental learning of English physicians who were Anglican or Oxbridge trained.”1 By 1825 almost 70% of all fellows […]

Leonhard Thurneysser: scholar, alchemist, and miracle doctor

Leonard Thurneysser. Via The National Library of Medicine. A highly controversial figure even in his time, Leonhard Thurneysser remains to this very day for some a revered scientist and for others a resolute quack. Born 1531 in Basel, he was the son of a goldsmith and followed in his father’s profession. He also studied with […]

Encephalitis lethargica

Front page of Encephalitis lethargica. Its sequelae and treatment by Constantin Von Economo, 1931. Via Wikimedia. Encephalitis lethargica was a worldwide epidemic during the years 1918-1930 that resembled influenza. It was first described in Vienna in 1916 by Constantin von Economo in thirteen patients suffering from unusual neurological symptoms that he thought constituted a new […]

Selman Waksman, “father of antibiotics” and conquest of tuberculosis

[Dr. Selman Waksman, half-length portrait, facing left at work in the laboratory] / World Telegram & Sun photo by Roger Higgins. 1953. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Selman Abraham Waksman came to the United States in 1910 and worked for a few years on a farm in New Jersey. Born in a rural […]