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Billings, John Shaw

Born: 1838 AD
Died: 1913 AD
Nationality: American
Categories: Librarians, Physicians

1838 – Born on the 12th of April in Switzerland county, Indiana.

       – American surgeon and librarian whose organization of U.S. medical institutions played a central role in the modernization of hospital care and the maintenance of public health.

1857 – Graduated from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio).

1860 – Graduated from Medical College of Ohio (Cincinnati).

1864 – During the American Civil War he served as a surgeon in the field and in hospitals.

1864-1895 – While on the staff of the U.S. surgeon general, Washington, D.C., Billings developed the library later known as the Army Medical Library.

       – Under successive directors it grew into the Surgeon General’s Library and ultimately the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical reference centre.

       – Director of the Library of the SGO.

1879 – His attempt to construct a logical classification system for the library resulted in his founding of the Index Medicus, a monthly guide to current medical literature, and publication of the first edition of the Index Catalogue, 16 vol.

       – The first of their kind, both indexes long remained predominant medical references, and the Index Medicus is still regarded as one of the primary medical bibliographies in the United States.

1880 – Created the Index Catalogue of the Surgeon General’s Office.

       – Served as Professor of hygiene in the University of Pennsylvania.

1889 – Credited with designing the original buildings of The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

1890 – He acted as supervisor for the U.S. Census.

1896 – Billings also designed and served as medical adviser to the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, and administered national programs for collecting vital statistics.

       – In the field of public health, he led a successful effort to eradicate yellow fever in the United States.

       – He spent the last 17 years of his life as the first director of the New York Public Library.

1913 – He died on the 11th of March in New York, New York.