Richard Kahn–physician and medical historian

Richard Kahn (1940–) is an internist and medical historian who grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Rutgers University and Tufts University School of Medicine, where his interest in medical history began.  After internship at Maine Medical Center in Portland, he spent two years in the U.S. Public Health Service and then returned to MMC for a residency in Internal Medicine.  Practicing in Rockport, Maine, he has had academic teaching appointments at Tufts, Dartmouth, and the University of Vermont medical schools and has always tried to interest his students and residents in medical history.  He has been active in several organizations devoted to medical history, most notably the American Association for the History of Medicine and the American Osler Society, and has spoken at these and other organizations at least 100 times over the years.  He received the Osler Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.  Assisted by his wife Patricia, a medical librarian, Kahn began work on the Jeremiah Barker papers more than 30 years ago with the rediscovery of the Barker Manuscript at the Maine Historical Society Library in Portland, and has continued ever since, culminating at last in the publication of Diseases in the District of Maine 1772–1820.  Interestingly, his own practice, from 1972 to retirement in 2018, exactly parallels Barker’s practice 200 years ago, from 1772 to 1818.  

“The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the coming of the dusk.” Hegel