Epilogue and Continuing the Legacy
- Osler remained vigorous and active until age 70 when he was stricken with pneumonia, a likely complication of the flu pandemic. His funeral took place on December 31st 1919. His most cherished book, Sir Thomas Browne’s “Religio Medici”, which he kept at his bedside for over 50 years, was placed on top of his coffin for the funeral service. The same book was also placed on Grace’s coffin, when she died about a decade later
Continuing the Legacy
- In spite of his exceptional life and manifold accomplishments, Osler’s humble request was “let my epitaph say that I taught medical students on the wards”
- Osler’s personal library of some 8,000 invaluable medical, historical and literary works was donated to McGill University, now known as the Osler library of the History of Medicine. To this day it continues to grow and flourish as a resource for students and scholars worldwide.
- The first major biography of Osler was published in 1925 by Dr. Harvey Cushing, the “Father of Neurosurgery”, a former Rhode’s Scholar, student, and colleague of Osler’s. The lengthy 2 volume set in which Cushing documented almost every aspect of Osler’s life was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for literature.
- In 1999, Professor Michael Bliss published the 2nd major biography of Osler. Examining the historical record, some 70 years after his death, he hoped to find evidence to puncture the myth of “the saintly Dr. Osler”. But, try as he might, after 10 years of research, Bliss was unable to uncover any such evidence
- Over the years his speeches and extensive writings have continued to be analyzed, commented on and published as new anthologies, philosophical works, biographies, essay, aphorisms, teachings, etc.
- So, the great legend and legacy of Osler continues and it is for the above reasons and more, that this Society was formed, to perpetuate this legacy and to benefit and inspire future generations of doctors and people from all walks of life