Bruce and the African Trypanosomes

A. J. Duggan Wellcome Museum of Medical Science, The Wellcome Building, 183 Euston Road, London, England

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To describe, in the time available, David Bruce's most important contributions to science leaves little room for biography or a character-sketch of the man himself. Yet a few details must be given to enable us to gauge the interplay of his scientific ingenuity, massive industry and fortune, good and bad, which led him towards his numerous discoveries. Bruce himself realised the importance of this combination and he wrote during a very active part of his life “We cannot always draw prizes when we put our hand in the lucky bag.”

Bruce was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1855, and was educated at the High School in Stirling, Scotland, developing a great zest for natural history. After he had qualified in medicine at Edinburgh he went into practice at Reigate, in the south of England, and there in 1881 met the lady who was to become his wife, Mary Elizabeth Steele, whose father had been a partner in the practice and who passed on to her his considerable artistic talent.

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