Anesthesia is one of the few major medical specialties whose origins and discovery can be clearly identified. Moreover, its history is full of excitement, with many individuals claiming credit for its discovery, and large groups of enthusiasts supporting one or another of the claimants. Stories associated with its origins have their good guys, the not-so-good guys and opportunists. It is no wonder that many anesthesiologists hold fond memories of one or more aspects of its history. Furthermore, history enthusiasts may visit many sites related to individuals and events associated with the discovery of anesthesia. Ours is also one of the few medical specialties with museums, professional societies, conferences and peer-reviewed medical journals devoted to supporting interest in the history of anesthesia. These institutions exist not only in the United States but also in several overseas nations.

In 1982, a...

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