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"A Way of Life"

Sir William Osler 1913

Dr. Christian has several collectable out of print versions of this address given by Sir William Osler M.D. in 1913. There are few illustrations other than a picture of Dr. Osler in several different poses.


William Osler "A Way of Life"

Osler explains his thoughts on living life in "day-tight compartments"

   The medical field like other professions has it's hero's and Dr. William Osler, a Canadian Physician and one of the Founding Professors of Johns Hopkins Hospital is one of them.  He started the first residency program for specialty training of physicians and has been described as the "Father of Modern Medicine".  Osler was well known for his love of literature, especially the Bible, and probably had read and studied every important work printed.  He frequently wrote essays and gave lectures and one of my favorite of all time is his Address delivered to Yale Students, Sunday Evening, April 20th 1913.  It was published that year and I have one of the First Edition Copies in my collection of his works.

   There is much interest lately in the topic of Mindfulness, focusing one's awareness on the present moment.  No one has more eloquently described this than Dr. Osler. A short excerpt describes what he means by "Day-Tight Compartments" and why we need to live this way. 


"Each day needs that shalt thou ask, Each day will set it's proper task." Goethe


  " Now the way of life that I preach is a habit to be acquired gradually by long and steady repetition. 

    It is the practice of living for the day only, and for the day's work, Life in Day-Tight Compartments...

    Touch a button and hear, at every level of your life,

    the iron doors shutting out

    The Past...the dead yesterdays.


   Touch another and shut off, with a metal curtain,

   The Future...the unborn tomorrows.


   Then you are safe for today.


   The load of tomorrow added to that of yesterday, carried today makes the strongest falter."


Full Text of Dr. William Osler's "A Way of Life" 1913 Version.

Take a break sometime during one of those days when you are relaxed, your mind rested and "in the moment" and read the entire address.   It's Magical Advice and you will be changed.....


There are many references and metaphors to Biblical and historical works, so if you want more explanation, please get a copy of a current book "Osler's A Way of Life and Other Addresses, with Commentary and Annotations" by eminent Oslerians, Shigeaki Hinohara M.D. and Hisae Niki, M.A., Duke University Press. (See Below)


Sir William Osler at Wikipedia


The American Osler Society is a history of medicine organization dedicated to perpetuating the life, teachings and ethical example of Sir William Osler.




See details of these versions of this classic below!



1913 "What Men Live by"  William Osler, Rare First Edition, Constable & Company Ltd., London, Publishers.  Original ribbed cloth, gilt title tiles and spine border decorations.  A small book measuring only 4.5X6". Published soon after the address was given.  From Patrick McGahern Books, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


1928 "A Way of Life"  William Osler, Oxford  University Press, American Branch, New York, Publisher.  Gilded Cover and Spine. From  Contains portrait of Osler and text of "The Salutation of the Dawn". No references to source of this Sanskrit Poem, generally credited to Kalidasa, is given.  

The Gilded title and Spine make this edition special and it is the first to include "The Salutation to the Dawn"

Most of the editions have a portrait of Osler in various poses.

"The Salutation to the Dawn" is at the first of the book, no mention of it's source or why it is included.


1932 "A Way of Life"  William Osler, Remington-Putnam Book Company, Norman Remington, Baltimore, Publisher. Contains Introduction (A great little read!) by John Rathbone Oliver, Medical Historian and member of Johns Hopkins Staff.  "The Salutation of the Dawn" does have a footnote regarding it's inclusion in the book. It mentions that the poem was sent to Osler by de Haviland Hall, ?ENT Specialist or his father. Nice Dust Jacket, in good condition.

From JackMatthewsOldandRare Books.

The first to have some sort of forward or introduction. Each of these make good reads in themselves and help us better understand the Address.

Each of these make good reads in themselves and help us better understand the Address.

In this version there is a footnote about "The Salutation of the Dawn"


1937 "A Way of Life"  William Osler, Paul B. Hoeber, Inc, Medical Book Department of Harper & Brothers, Publisher. This was a popular version of the work and I have several versions of the Marbled Cover. One of them has a portrait of Osler tipped in.  The volume was hand-set in Goudy Medieval type by Authur and Edna Rushmore at the Golden Hind Press in Madison, New Jersey, for Paul B. Hoeber, Inc in New York City. There is a very nice Forward by Medical Historian, Francis R. Packard who explains in more detail why "The Salutation of the Dawn" is included. He writes in his forward, "Cushing  (Harvey Cushing, Pulitzer Prize for Osler Biography & Father of Neurosurgery) says that in a copy of the address in Osler's Library the author had inscribed the following poem (The Salutation of the Dawn)". Beneath the poem was written, "If another reprint is called for, put this on this page". Therefore the poem was included in future versions.   From

Popular Hoeber version with marbled covers. This one is a little larger than the others and has the tipped picture.

This is the tipped picture. Gently attached to the middle of the page by a slip of glue at the top of the image.

Goudy Mediaeval Type!

This is a lovely font, would be fun to learn, maybe this year.


1951 "A Way of Life and Selected Writings of Sir William Osler" William Osler, Dover Publications Inc., New York, Collection of Selected Writings 12 Jul 1949 to 29 Dec 2019. Introduction by G. L. Keynes. Edited as a Centenary Tribute to Osler. From

Published as a Centenary Tribute to Osler.

Published as a Centenary Tribute to Osler.

This version has several other essays and a few pictures!  


1969 "A Way of LIfe"  William Osler, Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Springfield, Illinois.  Forward by John P. McGovern. a Co-Founder of the American Osler Society.   Published in Commemoration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Osler's Death December 29, 1919.  From  This version is also still in print from Amazon as a hardcover, but probably won't have the nice Dust Jacket.


This version has this wonderful Dust Jacket in very good condition.

This version has this wonderful Dust Jacket in very good condition

John P. McGovern was a Co-founder of the American Osler Society.

Other than the Charles C. Thomas Version, Currently available versions of this Classic are:

Large book, nice Dust Jacket, Annotations and commentaries make it very special.

2001 "Osler's A Way of Life and Other Addresses, with Commentary and Annotations" by eminent Oslerians, Shigeaki Hinohara M.D. and Hisae Niki, M.A., Duke University Press.  The forward is again by John P. McGovern M.D., a Co-Founder of the American Osler Society.  This wonderful collection is very special because the authors have created footnotes and commentaries which enable the reader to better follow the many references and metaphors used by Osler in his Address's and Essays.  This volume of course contains the famous "Aequanimitas"!  This is to date probably the best collection of Osler's work, especially because of the commentaries. It is a large book and it makes a great ~$40 gift for that special person in your life! We give a copy of this to our guests at the going away luncheon for our UTSA Interns at Aldo's each semester.  This would also make a great gift for that new Medical Student!  At the back of the book is a list of books Osler felt all Medical Students should have on their bed side table. The first one is the Bible.  From Amazon,

Low priced PaperBack version.

2010 "A Way of Life" William Osler, PaperBack Version.  A nice small version is also available in Hardcover and Kindle.  Makes a nice, reasonably priced gift $7 for the PaperBack, for a group also! Buy a batch for a group of new graduates. From Amazon. 

A print on demand "reprint" of the 1913 First Edition. A little larger than the original 1913.

2012 onward.  From Repressed Publishing. They will print and create on demand a nice hardcover reprint of the original 1913 edition, beautifully bound in brown cloth covers with titles and spine stamped in gold. It is larger (6x9") than the small 1913 original first edition version above. $24 From Repressed Publishing,




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