Physic and Philanthropy: A History of the Weilcome Trust 1936-1986. A. Rupert Hall and B.A. Bembridge. Cambridge University Press, New York, 1986. 479 pp. $39.50.

The Wellcome Trust has evolved into one of the great foundations of the world. Founded 50 years ago by Sir Henry Wellcome, the American-born sole owner of the Burroughs-Wellcome drug empire, the Trust has had a strong impact on medical research throughout the years. Its "prime object" is "the endowment of medical science," with special emphasis on tropical medicine, veterinary medicine and medical history.

Physic and Philanthropy examines the origins and evolution of the Wellcome Trust, and its impact on medical science. Although the book contains a good deal of factual information, it may not stir much interest outside the foundation community.

Sir Henry himself, a truly great man, is given short shrift. As described in The Times he was noted for "coining" the...

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