William Lorenzo Moss

Athens native William Lorenzo Moss (1876-1957), studied medicine at Johns Hopkins University and later became the Dean of the School of Health at Harvard University. He retired as the Dean of Medicine at the University of Georgia. Moss is best known for his advancements in the field of blood typing.

William Lorenzo Moss was born in Athens, Georgia in 1876. Crawford Long, the doctor who discovered the value of ether as anesthesia, delivered him. He earned his degree at UGA in 1902 and then studied medicine at Johns Hopkins University. Upon completing his studies, he held teaching positions at a number of medical schools. Ultimately, he accepted a teaching post at Harvard, became dean of the Harvard School of Public Health in 1926, and ended his career as Dean of Medicine at the University of Georgia in 1934. Moss had long demonstrated a fascination with the study of blood, so much so that he earned the nickname “The Vampire” from his teachers and peers at Johns Hopkins. In the years following his graduation, he developed a system of typing blood. While his system made blood transfusions safer, flaws in it necessitated a shift to the Landsteiner system during World War II. He died in Athens in 1957.

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