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John Blake dies, former Chief of NLMs History of Medicine

The distinguished former chief of NLM's History of Medicine Division, John B. Blake, PhD, died September 24, 2006 in Adamstown, Maryland, of pancreatic cancer. He was 83. Blake earned a BA with honors in history at Yale University, and completed his MA and PhD in history at Harvard University. He was a Commonwealth Fund Fellow in the history of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine and also served as a curator in the Division of Medical Sciences at the U.S. National Museum (a forerunner of today's National Museum of American History) before coming to NLM. While chief of HMD (1961-82), Dr. Blake received the Director's Award and Regents' Award, and the NIH Merit Award. Dr. Blake also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association for the History of Medicine in 2001.

He published extensively throughout his career, producing an impressive body of books and articles on such topics as vaccination, literary style in medical writing, and American colonial medicine. His other passion was forest conservancy. He and his wife, Jean, entered their Civil War-era dairy farm in Maryland in the Forest Stewardship Program and signed a long-term agreement to conserve the farm as woodland. Dr. Blake later chaired the Frederick County (MD) Forest Conservancy District Board (1991-2001), and the Blakes were named Maryland Tree Farmers of the Year in 1992. Dr. Blake received the MFA's Forestry Activist of the Year Award in 2002, and in 2004 the Blakes jointly received the Maryland Forest Association's first ever Lifetime of Service to Forestry Award. Dr. Blake is survived by his wife, four children and eight grandchildren.


Last reviewed: 29 September 2006
Last updated: 29 September 2006
First published: 29 September 2006
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