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Northwestern Notables: A Lasting Legacy-Dermatology


This article is part of an occasional series by Galter librarians focusing on the historical impact of various Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine disciplines, departments, and their faculty. A poster of the same name is currently on exhibit in the McGaw Building Lobby. To view a digital copy of the full poster, visit DigitalHub, an institutional repository for the research and scholarly output of Northwestern Medicine.

This article builds and expands on an earlier article: Dermatology at Northwestern: A History.

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Dermatology was established as an area of patient care at Northwestern in the 1870s. The department was created in 1896 and is one of the oldest departments of dermatology in the United States. Northwestern dermatology faculty were founders of the Chicago Dermatological Society (1901) and played a significant role in the study and practice of dermatology in Chicago and the world. Publication analyses show how the historical works of three prominent Northwestern University dermatologists continue today: informing research, providing context, and guiding discovery.

"Hot" Topics

A heat map of topics published in the research area of "dermatology” by Northwestern University authors, 1980 – 2016

This term density map displays 215 of the most relevant terms derived using natural language processing from the titles of the 2,300 publications by Northwestern University authors in the dermatology research area from 1980-2016. The larger the term the more often the term was used in a title, with each term occurring in the titles of at least 5 publications. The closer two terms are located, the more often the terms occurred together in a title. Red areas on the map represent terms that were used very often, and they have large numbers of neighboring terms and smaller distances between the terms. Blue corresponds with lowest term density. The visualization was created using VosViewer and InCites.

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James Nevins Hyde (b. 1840 – d. 1910)

Career Highlights

  • Portrait James Nevins HydeFirst to note the association between exposure to sunlight and skin cancer
  • Helped found the American Dermatological Association and served two terms as its president
  • Founder and charter member of the Chicago Dermatological Society
  • 1875: Appointed clinical instructor at Chicago Medical College, a predecessor of Northwestern University Medical School (NUMS)
  • 1876-1879: One of the first professors of dermatology at NUMS

Lasting Impact

Though Hyde's last papers were published in 1910, his work continues to be cited in present day biomedical literature, as shown in the figure below.

Bar chart of citation counts by year


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Samuel M. Bluefarb (b. 1912 – d. 2007)

Career Highlights

  • Chicago Dermatological Society’s annual Bluefarb Lecture named in his honor
  • Began Northwestern’s program in cutaneous lymphomas
  • Wrote several classic textbooks
  • 1942: Joined NU as clinical assistant
  • 1962: Named first Walter J. Hamlin Professor of Dermatology
  • 1963 - 1977: Chairman of Dermatology

An avid stamp collector

Dr. Bluefarb published papers on many topics such as skin diseases, lymphosarcoma, acne vulgaris, and dermatitis. He also published an interesting article on The History of Dermatology as Depicted on Postage Stamps (AMA Arch Derm. 1959;80(2):171-186).

Far Reaching and Influential Papers

Dr. Bluefarb’s 135 papers were cited over 657 times from 1960 - 2017. Each country in the map below is color-coded in proportion to the number of author affiliations of citing works from that country. Minimum/maximum data values are 1 - 180. The visualization was created using Web of Science and the Sci2 tool.


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Herbert Rattner (b. 1900 - d.1962)

Career Highlights

  • Established laboratories at Northwestern to investigate collagen, exopeptidases, and fluorescent substances in hair
  • Editor of the Archives of Dermatology and Syphilology (now JAMA Dermatology)
  • Authored 58 scientific publications and one nursing textbook, and contributed chapters to many medical textbooks
  • 1925: Graduated from Northwestern NUMS
  • 1940: Joined teaching staff of NUMS as assistant professor
  • 1951-1962: Chairman of Dermatology

Co-Author Connections

Dr. Rattner published with over 40 co-authors in his 92 papers indexed in the Web of Science literature database. Each circle represents a co-author, with Dr. Rattner located in the middle. The lines between the circles are sized by the number of papers co-authored with Dr. Rattner. The circles and lines are colored by the average year in which the paper was published.


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This exhibit was created by Karen Gutzman, Corinne Miller, and Ramune Kubilius at Galter Health Sciences Library & Learning Center. The work was a collaboration of members of various Galter working group and library service teams including: Liaison Librarians, Metrics and Impact Core, Clinical Informationist Service, Special Projects, and the Special Collections Working Group.

If you are interested in learning more about research metrics or have any other questions, contact us.

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Updated: March 5, 2020