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This article was published in The American Surgeon Volume 77, Issue 5, May 2011, Pages 662-664.

The published version is available at PMID: 21679611. Copyright © Ingenta


Thomas Dent Mutter, a beloved teacher, respected colleague, devoted husband, surgical pioneer, and legendary collector, emerged from a tragic childhood as an ambitious young physician who would leave a permanent imprint on medical education (Fig. 1). Dr. Mutter is best known in the Philadelphia area for the museum of medical curiosities, which bears his name. Overflowing with various medical memorabilia, anatomical and pathological specimens, casts, models, watercolors, and historical instruments, the Mutter Museum often overshadows the numerous other contributions Dr. Mutter made during his shortened life.1 A quote from Henry Brooks Adams is quite apropos, ‘‘A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.’’