Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. was born on August 29th 1809. Among his many talents were those of physician, poet, professor, lecturer, and author. Here we concentrate on his writing. He was regarded by many of his peers – including such luminaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and James Russell Lowell – as one of the finest writers of their times. A great compliment indeed. As a poet he is considered to be one of the Fireside Poets and indeed his poems are works of real talent and quality. As a writer he is perhaps best known for his ‘Breakfast Table’ series. In this collection we publish his medical essays and show just why he was seen as an important reformer in that field. Holmes retired from Harvard in 1882 but continued to write poetry, novels and essays until his death on October 7th 1894.