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A Moment in History

Self-portrait, Henry Vandyke Carter, MD (Public Domain)
Self-portrait, Henry Vandyke Carter, MD (Public Domain)

Henry Vandyke Carter, MD
(1831 – 1897)

English physician, surgeon, medical artist, and a pioneer in leprosy and mycetoma studies.  HV Carter was born in Yorkshire in 1831. He was the son of Henry Barlow Carter, a well-known artist and it is possible that he honed his natural talents with his father. His mother picked his middle name after a famous painter, Anthony Van Dyck. This is probably why his name is sometimes shown as Henry Van Dyke Carter, although the most common presentation of his middle name is Vandyke.

Having problems to finance his medical studies, HV Carter trained as an apothecary and later as an anatomical demonstrator at St. George’s Hospital in London, where he met Henry Gray (1872-1861), who was at the time the anatomical lecturer. Having seen the quality of HV Carter’s drawings, Henry Gray teamed with him to produce one of the most popular and longer-lived anatomy books in history: “Gray’s Anatomy”, which was first published in late 1857.  The book itself, about which many papers have been written, was immediately accepted and praised because of the clarity of the text as well as the incredible drawings of Henry Vandyke Carter.

While working on the book’s drawings, HV Carter continued his studies and received his MD in 1856.

In spite of initially being offered a co-authorship of the book, Dr. Carter was relegated to the position of illustrator by Henry Gray and never saw the royalties that the book could have generated for him. For all his work and dedication, Dr. Carter only received a one-time payment of 150 pounds. Dr.  Carter never worked again with Gray, who died of smallpox only a few years later.

Frustrated, Dr. Carter took the exams for the India Medical Service.  In 1858 he joined as an Assistant Surgeon and later became a professor of anatomy and physiology. Even later he served as a Civil Surgeon. During his tenure with the India Medical Service he attained the ranks of Surgeon, Surgeon-Major, Surgeon-Lieutenant-Colonel, and Brigade-Surgeon.

Dr. Carter dedicated the rest of his life to the study of leprosy, and other ailments typical of India at that time. He held several important offices, including that of Dean of the Medical School of the University of Bombay. In 1890, after his retirement, he was appointed Honorary Physician to the Queen.

Dr. Henry Vandyke Carter died of tuberculosis in 1897.

Personal note: Had history been different, this famous book would have been called “Gray and Carter’s Anatomy” and Dr. Carter never gone to India. His legacy is still seen in the images of the thousands of copies of “Gray’s Anatomy” throughout the world and the many reproductions of his work available on the Internet. We are proud to use some of his images in this blog. The image accompanying this article is a self-portrait of Dr. Carter. Click on the image for a larger depiction. Dr. Miranda

Sources:
1. “Obituary: Henry Vandyke Carter” Br Med J (1897);1:1256-7
2. “The Anatomist: A True Story of ‘Gray’s Anatomy” Hayes W. (2007) USA: Ballantine
3. “A Glimpse of Our Past: Henry Gray’s Anatomy” Pearce, JMS. J Clin Anat (2009) 22:291–295
4. “Henry Gray and Henry Vandyke Carter: Creators of a famous textbook” Roberts S. J Med Biogr (2000) 8:206–212.
5. “Henry Vandyke Carter and his meritorious works in India” Tappa, DM et al. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol (2011) 77:101-3


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MTD Articles Guidelines

"Medical Terminology Daily" Articles Guidelines

The objective of MTD is to provide the medical community, medical industry, and public in general with a daily, short write-up of reliable information regarding a medical term (or portion of a term), anatomical structure, organ, bodily system, basic surgical procedural information, and other medical/surgical information that we consider interesting to share. We also have a sidebar called “A Moment in History” where we honor those who have contributed to the growth of medical knowledge in the areas of anatomy, medicine, surgery, and medical research.

To the public in general:

The group of contributors to Medical Terminology Daily (MTD) has been formed by invitation only. We welcome your suggestion of words or terms of interest to you, but do not send write-ups because they will not be published. Our policies especifically state that we do not provide medical counseling, so questions and comments requesting so will be disregarded.

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An invited contributor does not pay sponsorship for any of their articles or personal page. This page shows the basic article guidelines for this website. A detailed style manual will be available to the contributor once they receive access to our submission system.

Sponsorship of MTD articles

We allow the sponsorship of articles in MTD by medical companies and individuals by request. We reserve the right to approve or reject these requests. All posts will be reviewed for accuracy, must be professional in their wording and content, and follow the article guidelines. All links in each sponsored article will be reviewed to make sure that they comply with our policies and procedures, as well with our guidelines. To request a sponsored word, article, or "Moment in History" please contact our webmaster through the "Contact Us" form.

Article Guidelines

Title: As a title, each article can have a single word: sphenoid, sternum , ectopic, pancreas, flexion, etc.; part of a word: -oid, ectomy, -lapar-, -rect-, etc.; opposing terms:  kyphosis/lordosis, anterior/posterior, etc.; If a multiple word is required, they must refer to one item or procedure: triangle of "doom", atrial fibrillation, sternal angle, Billroth I procedure, etc.

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Links to books, articles, and images that are available to the public under an open copyright and free-to-use are acceptable. We will review these links to make sure we do not infringe on copyright issues.

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