Preface to the Symposium

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  • Department of Tropical Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115

As convener and moderator of this Anglo-American Symposium, an event now 2 years in the making, I am pleased and privileged to welcome the entire company in this unusually large and distinguished gathering.

The occasion is unique. Never before have the British and American Societies of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene met in congress, and never before has either Society sponsored a Symposium on the history of our field. This last seems an odd omission on the part of our learned Societies, for even the ancients considered the Muse of History, Clio, as chief among the Muses. Clio's primacy must have been well earned though, because, as G. R. Elton, an eminent contemporary historian has said, history “… comprehends everything that man has thought, done, or suffered.” Our object today, however, comprehends more modest goals: we will pause briefly to consider the work of nine physician-scientists, nine milestones spanning 200 years, several countries, and various major diseases.

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