cover image Thomas Hodgkin

Thomas Hodgkin

Louis Rosenfeld. Madison Books, $24.95 (362pp) ISBN 978-0-8191-8633-1

Hodgkin's (1798-1866) fame as the discoverer of the disease that bears his name has obscured the English Quaker physician's accomplishments as a scholar, educator, ethnologist and social reformer--particularly as the ``father and founder of the Aborigines' Protection Society,'' which worked to end exported abuses of native peoples around the British Empire. With unobtrusive erudition, Rosenfeld, associate professor of pathology at New York University, vividly portrays Hodgkin's exemplary though idiosyncratic character and multiple activities in an era of economic and sociological ferment that extended to medical practice and education. After years at London's renowned Guy's Hospital as a ``morbid'' (pathologic) anatomist, he was forced to resign by an elitist, regressive medical establishment that disapproved of his proposed reforms, both social and medical. Deprived of research resources, he continued his humanitarian campaigns until his death in 1866 in Jaffa, where he had gone to work on behalf of poor and persecuted Jews. Photos. (Dec.)