Yowza! If I had known when I was in high school that Hawthorne looked like this, I might have been inclined to finish reading The House of the Seven Gables like I was supposed to. But this portrait was painted many years before he wrote the book. When he was older he grew a mustache and grew out his hair, per the style of the times, and it didn’t really suit him. What a shame.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Lister, a Scottish surgeon, for keeping us from dying from infected wounds. In the 1860s, around the same time that Louis Pasteur was writing about how microbes caused decay and fermentation in produce, Lister theorized that micro-organisms were responsible for infection in human tissue. He started using carbolic acid to clean his surgical equipment as well as his patients’ wounds. Result: the number of his patients who died from infection dropped by 67%. Surgeons throughout Europe and the US adopted his practices, leading to much lower rates of mortality. This hot doctor really knew his stuff.
By the way, Lister didn’t invent Listerine, the antiseptic mouthwash. But it was named in his honor, which I think is a nice tip of the hat to him.