- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Thomas Stephen Cullen

Born  1868
Died  1953

Related eponyms

Canadian-American gynaecologist, born November 20, 1868, Bridgewater, Ontario; died 1953.

Biography of Thomas Stephen Cullen

Thomas Stephen Cullen was the son of a minister. He graduated M.B. near the top of his class in medicine at the University of Toronto in 1890, and interned at the Toronto General Hospital.

Cullen’s career was strongly influenced by the American surgeon Howard Atwood Kelly (1858-1943). Kelly, having been on a fishing holiday in Canada, performed an operation in Toronto at which Cullen was his assistant. Cullen was so impressed by Kelly’s skills that in 1891 he became junior intern at Dr. Howard Kelly’s service at Johns Hopkins, and in 1893 studied for 6 months in Johannes Orth’s (1847-1923) laboratory in Göttingen, Germany.

He returned to Johns Hopkins, first working in gynaecological pathology and then going into practice as a gynaecologist in 1897, retaining his association with the medical school at Johns Hopkins where he became professor of clinical gynaecology in 1900, while also serving as visiting gynaecologist at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

«Sensation and volition, so far as they are connected with corporeal motions, are functions of the brain alone . . . . the will operating in the brain only, by a motion begun there, and propagated along the nerves, produces the contraction of the muscles.»
Institutions of Medicine, Pt. I, Sect. ii.

«This disease seldom attacks eunuchs; and when it does, they seem to be those who happen to be of a robust habit, to lead an indolent life, and to live very full.»
First Lines of the Practice of Physick, Pt. I, Bk II, Ch. 14.

«It is said to be the manner of hypochondriacs to change often their physician; and indeed they often do it consistently: for a physician who does not admit the reality of the disease cannot be supposed to take much pains to cure it, or to avert the danger of which he entertains no apprehension.»
First Lines of the Practice of Physick, Pt. II, Bk II, Ch. 3.

«The facts of the physic are more frequently the inference of reason than the simple objects of sense.» First Lines of the Practice of Physick

«Persons living very entirely on vegetables are seldom of a plump and succulent habit.» First Lines of the Practice of Physick, Pt. III, Bk I


  • Cancer of the uterus. New York, 1900.
  • Adenomyoma des Uterus. Berlin, 1903.
  • Adenomyoma of the uterus. Philadelphia and London, 1908.
  • Myomata of the uterus.
    With Howard Atwood Kelly. Philadelphia, 1909.
  • Embryology, anatomy, and diseases of the umbilicus together with diseases of the urachus.
    Philadelphia, Saunders, and London, 1916. Cullen’s sign.
  • Henry Mills Hurd. Baltimore, 1920.
    (Henry Mills Hurd, 1843-1927, professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University).
  • Early medicine in Maryland. Baltimore, 1927.
  • Max Broedel, 1870-1941: Director of the First Department of Art as Applied to Medicine in the World.
    Bulletin of the Medical Library Association, 1945, 33: 5-29.
  • George Washington Corner:
    Thomas Stephen Cullen.
    Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 5 (1951-1955).

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