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C ANCER TREATMENT REVIEWS 1999; 25: 133–143

Ar ticle No. ctr v. 1998.0108, available online at http://www.idealibrar y.com on

Thomas Hodgkin remembered


Amalie M. Kass

Lecturer on the History of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

This article is an edited transcript of a talk given at the symposium celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Thomas
Hodgkin, Guy’s Hospital, 2 October 1998.

It is a great pleasure to be here this morning to


commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of
Thomas Hodgkin with you. This is the third occa-
sion on which Guy’s Hospital has honoured
Hodgkin and the second in which I have had the
good fortune to participate. I have been thinking a
great deal about this sustained interest in Hodgkin’s
life and work, trying to understand why we con-
tinue to remember him. What is it that differentiates
him from the many talented men and women whose
careers were connected with this place?
As I contemplated these questions I recalled a
fantasy my late husband and I created while we
were working on our biography of Thomas Hodgkin.
We called it the Dr. Hodgkin Dinner Party. We
imagined a dinner party where Hodgkin was the
honoured guest, we listed the people we would
invite to the party, and we anticipated the conversa-
tion that would occur. Hodgkin’s accomplishments
as a physician, humanitarian, and social reformer
promised that the party would be a success.
We began with the guest of honour but right away
we ran into a problem. He might not accept our invi-
tation. Hodgkin was a modest, self-effacing man. He
sought little glory for himself and did not like to
stand out from the crowd. When the Royal College of
Physicians invited him to become a Fellow, he did not
accept the honour even though the imprimatur
Figure 1 Thomas Hodgkin. Oil painting by Thomas Sully, 1858
would have furthered his career. Hodgkin was a
(from a photograph). (Historical Society of Pennsylvania)
firmly committed Quaker, and Quakers, along with
other Dissenters, were not ordinarily admitted as
Fellows of the College. He recognized that the
College was making a special place for him and he honour his many accomplishments, Hodgkin per-
did not want to be differentiated from other qualified suaded them to give the money instead to an asylum
non-Anglicans. Many years later, when his colleagues for impoverished medical men, their widows, and
began to solicit subscriptions for a testimonial to their orphaned children.

0305-7372/99/030133 + 11 $12.00/0 © 1999 W.B. SAUNDERS COMPANY LTD


134 A. M. KASS

Then there was the possibility that if he came to


the celebration, he would not be very sociable.
Hodgkin had a tendency to be rather stiff and
humourless. And though he did not like to call atten-
tion to himself, he remained dedicated to eighteenth-
century Quaker customs with which many other
Friends had compromized and which today would
seem anachronistic. He continued to use Quaker
terms, thee and thou, First day and Second day, and
to dress in strict Quaker-like fashion, simple dark
clothing and broad-brimmed hat. On these issues he
did not mind looking and acting differently, because
he thought sacrifice for religious principles builds
character. It most decidedly was part of his character.
But, assuming Hodgkin came to our party, who
from our contemporary world would we invite? With
this we had no problems for despite some of
Hodgkin’s personal idiosyncrasies, his extraordinary
wide range of interests in a variety of areas would
assure us a stellar guest list. We could chose among
physicians, scientists, medical educators, experts in
public health, philanthropists, anthropologists, sociol-
ogists, geographers and explorers, world travellers,
even urban planners. We could include representa-
tives of some of the people he had tried to help –
Liberians, Jews, Syrians, North American Indians,
New Zealand Maoris, and descendants of many South
African tribes. We would most decidedly invite mem-
bers of the Hodgkin family whose pride in their illus- Figure 2 John Hodgkin, Sr., c. 1800. Oil portrait attributed to John
Opie. (Friends House, London)
trious ancestor would have been equalled by his
satisfaction with their accomplishments. Hodgkin
had no children of his own, but his younger brother, there were others of outstanding ability. The Royal
John Hodgkin, was the father of 11 children and Medical Society provided an opportunity for stu-
Thomas, known as ‘Uncle Doctor’ by his nieces and dents to deliver papers to a knowledgeable audience
nephews, enjoyed and reciprocated their esteem and and to discuss ideas that often challenged commonly
affection. Devotion to family was another of his fun- accepted medical theories (Hodgkin presented a
damental principles. paper on the uses of the spleen, which would later
The conversation would be stimulating though contribute to his ideas about the disease that bears
perhaps one-sided. Hodgkin was fairly didactic in his name). Medical students flocked to Edinburgh
personal interchange and was quite certain of the from other parts of the English-speaking world, and
importance and righteousness of the various social Hodgkin formed important lifelong friendships with
causes in which he was engaged. But he was also some of them. He interrupted his studies in
unusually knowledgeable. He had been well edu- Edinburgh to spend a year in Paris where the med-
cated. His parents had insisted on the value of learn- ical professors were demonstrating the importance
ing and had been his earliest teachers. His father, a of pathological anatomy as the key to understanding
schoolmaster and calligrapher, had instructed him in disease. In addition to attending the lectures at the
Greek, Latin, and English composition. He was Ecole de Médecin, Hodgkin spent long hours at the
tutored in French. He had the advantage of early dissection table – the availability of cadavers in
acquaintance with scientists and social activists in France, in contrast to restrictions in Britain, con-
the Quaker community. His medical training was as tributed to French preeminence in pathology.
good as was available at the time. After an appren- Hodgkin was also attracted to bedside teaching in
ticeship to an apothecary firm in Brighton, he spent a the Paris hospitals which offered a large array of dis-
year walking the wards at Guy’s and then enrolled, eases to be observed. He became a particular favorite
in 1820, at the University of Edinburgh, by far the of Laënnec who had recently developed the stetho-
best medical school in Britain. Though some of the scope as a diagnostic tool providing information
Edinburgh faculty were already superannuated, about the lungs and heart that could be correlated
THOMAS HODGKIN REMEMBERED 135

This formal education in the classics, languages,


and medicine would assure those present that our
guest of honour could hold his own in conversation.
Just as important was the process of self-education
that marked Hodgkin’s entire life. He maintained a
voluminous worldwide correspondence through
which he gathered information about his many inter-
ests, medical and humanitarian. The letters were a
reflection of an unusually inquisitive mind and an
insatiable desire to correct social injustice. In addi-
tion to his friends and associates in medicine and
social reform, he did not hesitate to write to people
whom he did not know but who might supply him
with information. In the Hodgkin archive we found
letters to or from American politicians, the Chief
Justice of New Zealand, African colonists, and
Canadian Indian chiefs, to name just a few.
What then might be the primary topics of conver-
sation? We would probably begin with discussions of
medicine and especially with Hodgkin’s medical
accomplishments at Guy’s where he spent twelve
years. It was here that he delivered the first system-
atic lectures in pathologic anatomy ever given in
Britain. They were later published in two volumes. It
was here that he performed, and then carefully
described in meticulous notes, more post-mortem
examinations than had been recorded at the hospital
to that date. It was here that he created a medical
museum that greatly facilitated instruction and pre-
served interesting specimens found at autopsy. He
prepared many of the specimens himself and pro-
moted the art of wax anatomical models. He also
published a catalogue to the Museum that was a
landmark contribution to medical instruction and
tells us much about nineteenth-century medical
knowledge. It was on the basis of his pathological
studies at Guy’s that he published many important
papers, including a description of retroversion of the
Figure 3 Stethoscope thought to have belonged to Thomas
aortic valve (his paper preceded the better known
Hodgkin. (Gordon Museum, Guy’s Hospital Medical School)
paper by Corrigan), another on carcinoma, and still
another on appendicitis. He assisted Joseph Lister,
father of Lord Lister, in the development of the
with observations at autopsy. Hodgkin subsequently achromatic microscope and used that improved
introduced the stethoscope to London hospitals at a instrument to study and describe the biconcave
meeting of Guy’s Physical Society. structure of erythrocytes and the striated appearance
The year Hodgkin spent in Paris, plus additional of voluntary muscles. Not only was he unusually tal-
months in the French capital following receipt of his ented, he was unusually productive.
medical degree from Edinburgh in 1823, and a tour The cholera epidemic that reached England in the
of Italy and Switzerland where he met many medical autumn of 1831 would be a subject for lively conver-
notables, further contributed to his education and sation at our party. Many of London’s prominent
prepared him to assume a leading role in medical cir- physicians fled the city but Hodgkin remained to care
cles when he returned to London. In 1826, he was for patients at the hospital and in the squalid neigh-
appointed Inspector of the Dead and Curator of the bourhoods nearby. We could assume that epidemiolo-
Anatomical Museum of Guy’s Hospital Medical gists, sanitary engineers, and infectious disease
School, which had recently separated from St physicians would want to reminisce with him about
Thomas’ and was exhibiting the enthusiasm and the epidemic and about the essay he published in an
excitement often attendant on a new enterprise. attempt to allay the excessive fear that was gripping
136 A. M. KASS

Figure 4 Guy’s Hospital, 1817. Engraved by G. Cooke & H. Lekeux. (British Museum)

the nation. Hodgkin believed that cholera was not


highly contagious, but he recognized that there was
increased incidence among the elderly and especially
among the poor. To prevent further spread he urged
measures to change social conditions – temporary
relief to reduce poverty and ongoing programmes
creating jobs and improving education. Our late
twentieth-century guests would undoubtedly find
these recommendations more acceptable than did
many of Hodgkin’s conservative colleagues.
Of course, the paper published in the Transactions
of the Medico-Chirurgical Society in 1832, describing
seven cases with an unusual appearance of the lymph
glands and spleen would be a compelling topic of
conversation. I would want to know what Hodgkin
thought of the eponym given the disease he was the
first to describe, since it was not until 1865, more than
thirty years later, that the term Hodgkin’s Disease
was first applied. Sir Samuel Wilks, also a pathologi-
cal anatomist and physician at Guy’s, had made simi-
lar observations of “a peculiar enlargement of the
lymphatic glands frequently associated with enlarge-
ment of the spleen,” and in two papers, one pub-
lished in 1856, the other in 1865, Wilks acknowledged
that Hodgkin had preceded him in recognizing a dis-
tinct disorder. In the second of his papers, Wilks
somewhat begrudgingly named the disease for his
predecessor, adding that by so doing he had saved
Figure 5 Cover page of A Catalogue of the Preparations in the the profession from “a name even more uncouth than
Anatomical Museum of Guy’s Hospital. morbus Hodgkin,” that is, Wilks’ Disease.
THOMAS HODGKIN REMEMBERED 137

Figure 6 Cover page of “On Some Morbid Appearances of the


Absorbent Glands and Spleen.”

Would Hodgkin have been pleased to be remem-


Figure 7 Sir Samuel Wilks. Lithograph. (Guy’s Hospital Medical
bered in this fashion or would he have disdained the
School)
honour? He might well be astonished that, over the
years, so many people have come to Guy’s to study
his specimens, using new technologies to verify the social concerns and would surely interest the public
accuracy of his observations. He would certainly be health specialists and social workers at our party. In
surprised by the scientific understanding of 1835 he delivered, and later published, a series of lec-
Hodgkin’s Disease that has accumulated in the inter- tures titled “On the Means of Promoting and
vening years. One of the astonishing aspects of Preserving Health” at the Spitalfields Mechanics
Hodgkin’s paper is the degree to which it confirmed Institute. Mechanics Institutes were initiated in the
his unusual ability to recognize, without microscopic nineteenth century by well-meaning social reformers
assistance, much less the use of sophisticated mod- to provide lectures and libraries where working men
ern day techniques, the minute changes in the had access to information that could improve their
appearance of lymph nodes and spleen that distin- lives. Hodgkin recognized that it was more impor-
guished them from changes that might be expected tant to preserve health and prevent disease than to
in cases of tuberculosis or carcinoma or associated cure or alleviate actual sickness. His lectures ran the
with drainage of inflamed tissues. gamut from instruction about personal hygiene, diet,
Hodgkin might be less surprised by some of the ventilation, and household cleanliness to the dangers
therapeutic agents now employed against the dis- of alcohol and tobacco, and even extended to advice
ease. In his paper, he suggested that if patients were on child rearing. Mechanics Institutes were not pop-
to come within his care, he “should be inclined to ular with many well-placed men who feared they
endeavour as far as possible to increase the general would subvert the proper order of society.
vigour of the system, to enjoin the utmost protection In a lecture to the Hunterian Society, he proposed
from the inclemencies and vicissitudes of the a prepayment scheme of medical care for the work-
weather, to employ iodine externally and to push the ing poor that would interest advocates of healthcare
internal use of caustic potash as far as circumstances reform, which in the United States is a major contem-
might render allowable.” Perhaps caustic potash porary political issue.
only sounds worse than some of the chemotherapeu- According to Hodgkin’s scheme, public medical
tic agents prescribed today. officers would be adequately paid to work in dispen-
During the Guy’s years, Hodgkin undertook sev- saries financed by small weekly contributions from
eral medical projects that were intertwined with his the subscribers. Patients could choose any physician
138 A. M. KASS

within the dispensary. Hodgkin himself had been


physician to the London Dispensary and knew
whereof he spoke.
In 1836, Hodgkin was named a member of the
Senate of the newly created University of London, a
post that united his interests in medical education
with his reformist proclivities and would stimulate
conversation about the problems of medical educa-
tion today. In the 1830s, a group of influential, lib-
eral-minded Englishmen had begun agitating for
university degrees for non-Anglicans who, up to that
time, were excluded from higher education on reli-
gious grounds. (This of course was another reason
why Hodgkin had gone to Edinburgh.) Eventually,
London University received a charter and was
empowered to bestow degrees in medicine, law, and
arts to those who qualified, without regard to reli-
gious persuasion. Hodgkin was named one of 36
Senators who set standards of matriculation and
requirements for degrees. Actual instruction was
given at the colleges and medical schools. Hodgkin’s
appointment coincided with his desire to eliminate
discriminatory practices and to open university edu-
cation to all religious groups, as well as to improve
medical education more generally. He had delivered
a stunning critique of English medical education to a
meeting of the Physical Society of Guy’s Hospital
shortly after joining the staff, and was known to
advocate strict qualifications for admission to med-
ical school, as well as increased clinical teaching as a
replacement for the didactic lectures that were the
hallmark of the British system.
I am sure that those familiar with the vagaries of Figure 8 Benjamin Harrison, Jr. (Guy’s Hospital Medical School)
institutional politics would want to talk with
Hodgkin about the great tragedy of his medical
career: his failure to be promoted to the assistant astute man would have taken care to moderate some
physicianship when the post became vacant in 1837. of his activities but Hodgkin did just the opposite.
Many would sympathize with the injustice he suf- He became a vocal spokesman on behalf of North
fered in an episode that ended badly for Guy’s and American Indians and other indigenous groups
for Hodgkin. He had every reason to expect the threatened by European expansionists and he testi-
appointment after twelve years of outstanding serv- fied before a Select Committee of the House of
ice to the hospital and medical school. Unfortunately Commons that was investigating the treatment of the
he had not anticipated the animosity of Benjamin natives in the British colonies. Hodgkin was espe-
Harrison, the powerful Treasurer who controlled cially critical of the Hudson’s Bay Company which
appointments. Harrison was a staunch Tory and an was giving guns and alcohol to the Canadian Indians
outspoken Evangelical Anglican. Depth of convic- in exchange for furs which brought large profits to
tion was the only shared aspect of their otherwise the company. Harrison was an influential director of
contrasting views. A clash between the two men was Hudson’s Bay Company and he was deeply angered
almost inevitable, if religious and political views by the exposé which seemed entirely appropriate to
have a role in science and medicine. Hodgkin. Added to these disagreements was the fact
In addition to Hodgkin’s determined espousal of that Hodgkin had been absent from the hospital for
Quaker beliefs and practice, which did not sit well several months, recovering from a nervous disorder.
with Harrison, his participation in social reform, This too became a bone of contention between him
exemplified by the Spitalfields Lectures and Senate and Harrison. Though Hodgkin believed he had
of the University of London, was completely anti- completely regained his health and could assume
thetical to Harrison’s beliefs. A more politically new duties without difficulty, Harrison had doubts –
THOMAS HODGKIN REMEMBERED 139

or at least he used this as an excuse to question social justice. Hodgkin had been reared to take an
Hodgkin’s fitness. active role on behalf of these concerns. But he was
Harrison had his own favourite for the post, also part of a broader movement among thoughtful
Benjamin Babington. Babington was not a bad choice Victorian men and women to redress the social ills
though he could not equal Hodgkin’s past accom- that accompanied industrialization and urbaniza-
plishments or future potential. Neither would he tion. It was an era that saw a proliferation of commit-
make trouble for the Treasurer and other members of tees and societies, accompanied by a profusion of
the establishment. At one point in the affair, Harrison pamphlets, speeches, and letters to the newspapers,
offered to split the position between the two men, all dedicated to one worthy cause or another. But
probably knowing that Hodgkin could never accept Hodgkin put his own stamp on the causes he advo-
such an insulting arrangement. When the Governors, cated. For one thing, he had an unusually strong
who were pretty much under Harrison’s thumb, sense of his personal obligation to redress injustice.
voted in favour of Babington, Hodgkin resigned, For another, he was willing to be the instigator of
thereby ending his career in medical research and change, to organize support for the causes in which
teaching. There was a brief stint at St. Thomas’ where he believed, and to stick with them, sometimes in the
he worked hard to improve the system of medical face of unpopularity, even when the cause no longer
lectures and the medical museum, but at the end of a attracted interest from others. Commitment and
year he was not reappointed, another unexpected determination were essential ingredients in these
blow to his pride. He did continue to publish on activities.
diverse medical topics including, to demonstrate And here, of course, is where the non-medical
that diversity, diabetes, curvature of the spine, people who came to the Hodgkin Dinner Party
Abyssinian tape worm, and coronary artery disease, would take a special part in the conversation. Some
plus proposals for reform of the medical profession would want to explore his ideas on the colonization
and of the medical poor laws and for a revised sys- of freed slaves in Africa, an idea which they might
tem of apothecary weights and measures. have difficulty understanding. Hodgkin was
While this incident was a major blow to opposed to slavery in the United States and in the
Hodgkin’s career, it did assure the success of our British colonies but he was uncertain about the
hypothetical dinner party as he was then able to effects of immediate and total emancipation. Instead
devote himself with increasing fervour to a myriad he advocated a gradual end to slavery and the estab-
of humanitarian activities, some of which had lishment of colonies of ex-slaves in Africa where they
engaged him since boyhood. Many had their roots in would be expected to introduce Christianity and the
the traditional Quaker commitment to peace and principles of self-improvement and self-government

Figure 9 Minute Book. British African Colonization Society. (Rhodes House, Oxford University)
140 A. M. KASS

that Englishmen such as he valued. This notion led


Hodgkin to be instrumental in the British African
Colonization Society, a counterpart to the American
Colonization Society which had established Liberia
as a refuge for freed American slaves. Most antislav-
ery activists in Britain and the United States rejected
colonization and Hodgkin was roundly criticized by
many people who would have been his allies on
other social issues. Nonetheless, he persuaded the
British Colonization Society to send money and sup-
plies to Liberia during the 1830s and a decade later
he was the first to suggest that Liberia should sepa-
rate itself from the American society and become an
independent nation. When independence was
declared in Monrovia and the newly elected presi-
dent of Liberia came to England, Hodgkin acted as
his host and facilitated British recognition of the new
nation.
Though Hodgkin favoured colonization by
African- Americans in Africa, which he viewed as a
return to their ancestral home, he was deeply trou-
bled by the effects of European settlers on native peo-
ples throughout the world. I have already mentioned
his concerns for the Canadian Indians. As a youth he
had composed a long essay criticizing the explorers
and settlers whose greed, guns, diseases, and alcohol
threatened to exterminate the Indians of North and
South America. He also criticized Christian mission-
aries for their proselytizing zeal among people still
unacquainted with the material benefits of western
civilization.
Hodgkin’s concerns were not exclusively humani- Figure 10 Title Page for The Colonial Intelligencer.
tarian – he was also driven by his interest in social
science and ethnology. Extermination of the native
people would preclude understanding the physical evolved into the Royal Anthropological Institute),
and cultural history of mankind. Thus the anthropol- and his role as Honorary Secretary of the Royal
ogists who came to the party would find much in Geographical Society. In all these efforts Hodgkin
common with him. His concern led Hodgkin to cre- voiced the conviction that the so-called “feeble
ate the Aborigines Protection Society, a group that races” were God’s creatures and should not be
claimed to speak for all people threatened by exploited by the representatives of more civilized
European expansionism, which at one time included societies. Hodgkin was fighting a losing battle.
natives on just about every other continent. Hodgkin Imperialism became a powerful force during the lat-
was tireless on behalf of the Aborigines Protection ter part of the nineteenth century and Hodgkin and
Society, accumulating data from correspondents his associates could not stem that tide. The social sci-
around the world and replying with detailed recom- entists and the humanitarians at our party might find
mendations for improved treatment of the natives. his ideas for the preservation and gradual improve-
He edited the society’s journal, composed memo- ment of these people rather naive, but they would
randa to the Colonial Office, and testified before have the benefit of hindsight.
Parliamentary committees. There were many other humanitarian enterprises,
These same concerns explain Hodgkin’s participa- displaying the same desire to help others. Some were
tion in the Ethnology Section of the British personal benefactions – to North American Indians, a
Association for the Advancement of Science. He Maori boy, Liberian merchants, and escaped
rarely missed the annual meetings where he pre- American slaves, all of whom had come to England
sented several remarkable papers, in medicine as and needed assistance. Hodgkin was generous to a
well as ethnology. It explains his leadership in forma- fault, occasionally duped by people who took advan-
tion of the Ethnological Society of London (which tage of his trusting nature. There was the Syrian
THOMAS HODGKIN REMEMBERED 141

Figure 11 Thomas Hodgkin, photograph, c. 1860. (Hodgkin family


collection) Figure 12 Sir Moses Montefiore. (Signed lithograph in Narrative of
a Journey to Morocco)
Medical Aid Association which sent British physi-
cians to Beirut and Damascus where they were fuelled by their common commitment to assist the
meant to provide modern medical care, train local needy in all parts of the world.
doctors, and in time to establish a hospital. It was Hodgkin became physician to two Jewish friendly
another exercise in futility which died as funding societies that provided medical care to poor Jews in
and interest diminished, but also an example of the the east end of London, undoubtedly because of
breadth of Hodgkin’s humanitarian concerns mixed Montefiore’s influence. He was repeatedly invited by
this time with his medical interests. Montefiore to accompany him and his wife on over-
And then there were the Jews. One of Hodgkin’s seas missions for the relief of persecuted Jewish com-
nieces recalled that, of all his concerns, the munities. Montefiore was world renowned as
Aborigines and the Jews took first place in his heart. spokesman on their behalf. But it was not until 1857
There are several explanations for this, including the that Hodgkin felt he could responsibly leave London
analogy between Quakers and Jews as outsiders in for extended periods.
British society, the poverty of many Jews living in There followed five journeys in which Hodgkin
London, and the discrimination and oppression acted as physician, companion, amanuensis, and
experienced by Jews in other parts of the world. associate in philanthropy to Montefiore. They went
Certainly it was Hodgkin’s personal friendship with twice to Palestine, where Montefiore was engaged in
Sir Moses Montefiore, the outstanding leader of nine- many projects to improve the plight of the small
teenth-century Anglo-Jewry, that led to many of his group of Jews then living in Jerusalem. They went to
efforts on behalf of the Jews. They had met in Rome Rome in a vain attempt to persuade the Pope to
in 1824 when Hodgkin was briefly employed as per- release a Jewish boy who had been baptized as a
sonal physician to Abraham Montefiore, Moses’ Catholic, removed from his family, and was being
younger brother, who was terminally ill with tuber- trained for the priesthood. They went to
culosis. An enduring friendship ensued, largely Constantinople to secure the Sultan’s permission to
142 A. M. KASS

purchase land for a hospital in Palestine (then part of obelisk that marks it today. In his final letter home,
the Turkish Empire), and they went to Morocco Hodgkin had written that he did not expect to live
where Montefiore persuaded that Sultan to release and that he “lamented the little service” he had done.
two Jews falsely accused of murder and to guarantee The grave however is more accurately inscribed to “a
better treatment for the Jews in his land. On each of man distinguished alike for scientific attainments,
these journeys, Hodgkin provided medical care, took medical skill and self-sacrificing philanthropy.”
notes of ethnological and geographical interest, This brings me back to the question I posed at the
developed plans for the improvement of the people beginning of my talk. Why do we continue to
he saw, and dispensed personal charities of his own. remember and to honour Hodgkin, apart from
Travel was difficult. The Montefiores and Hodgkin interest in the disease that bears his name?
slept in tents in the deserts of Morocco and Palestine, Certainly the success of our dinner party is part of
braved poor food and unsafe water, and endured all the explanation, suggesting that he appeals to many
the discomforts of the ships that crossed the different people, each with an individual interest
Mediterranean. that coincides with one of Hodgkin’s. At the end of
It was on the second journey to the Holy Land, in the twentieth century, when specialization is a
1866, that Hodgkin became fatally ill with a dysen- feature of our professional lives, and often of our
teric disorder. He died in Jaffa April 4th, to the personal lives, it is refreshing, and perhaps intimi-
intense grief of his good friend, who arranged for a dating, to meet a man who engaged in such a broad
permanent gravesite and commissioned the granite array of activities.

Figure 13 and 14 Hodgkin Grave, Jaffa, Israel (Photograph J. Seide, Janus, 48:53–61, 1959)
THOMAS HODGKIN REMEMBERED 143

We remember him because he was so good, and


tried so hard to do good. Not always successfully,
sometimes with a limited sense of reality, but always
with pure motives. It is inspiring to meet a true ideal-
ist, especially in an era when idealism is often either
ignored or disparaged. We admire his consistency
and his refusal to sacrifice principle for expediency.
We remember him because so many of the prob-
lems he sought to remedy remain unsolved: health-
care for the poor and adequate compensation for the
physicians who care for them, the relationship of sci-
entific knowledge to clinical practice, even the evils
of tobacco and alcohol. Hodgkin tried to improve
care for the mentally ill, to make prisoners into use-
ful citizens, to relieve poverty and unemployment.
He participated in the Society for the Improvement
of Factory Children and in an attempt to help the
chimney sweeps. The night before departing on the
final journey to Palestine, he completed a manuscript
“On the Dwellings of the Poor” in which he enunci-
ated the need for better housing.
Finally, we remember him because of the poignant
quality of his life and his death. I have spoken of the
failure to be promoted at Guy’s. His personal life was
also full of disappointments. The nervous disorder
that attacked him several times was discouraging.
He had loved his cousin Sarah Godlee from child-
hood but could not marry her because of a Quaker
rule forbidding first-cousin marriages. Hodgkin
tried desperately to persuade the Quakers to rescind
the rule, but when he did not succeed, he acquiesced Figure 15 Blue plaque at 35 Bedford Square, London.
rather than leaving the Society. It was not until he
was fifty-two years old that he married a widow
whose good nature softened some of the harsh edges
of his personality and provided him with a gen- ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
uinely happy home in Bedford Square.
His death too has a poignant quality. He became ill The figures in this article are reproduced with per-
in a foreign land, was cared for by strangers, and was mission from ‘Perfecting the World, the life and
buried thousands of miles from his family. I like to Times of Dr. Thomas Hodgkin 1798–1866’, A. M.
think that the epitaph on his grave makes up for the Kass and E. H. Kass; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,
sadness of that distance – “Humani nihil a se alienum 1988. The Journal fully upholds the rights of the
putabat” – Nothing of humankind was foreign to him. original copyright holders.