He wrote the book

In 1899, John Whitridge Williams, whose name lives on in the definitive textbook on pregnancy and childbirth, succeeded Howard Kelly as the head of obstetrics at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Kelly had split off baby-catching from the more interesting (to him) department of gynecology, which he continued to head up.

John Whitridge Williams
John Whitridge Williams

Williams, a Baltimore native, came from a medical family -- his mother's forebears had been doctors for 160 years. He trained at the University of Maryland, and then in Vienna, Berlin, and other European cities, which exposed him to a different way of looking at medicine.

Williams' Obstetrics, first published in 1903, and still in print today, came out of Williams' desire to render everything about pregnancy and birth in scientific terms. The first edition contained more than 1,000 references to other medical publications.

Williams wrote five additional editions of the book before he died in 1931, of complications from abdominal surgery.

The departments of obstetrics and gynecology were finally reunited at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1960.

The 23rd edition of Williams' Obstetrics was published in 2009.

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