'The Voltaire of Pelvic Literature'
Philippe Ricord was said to be a practical joker, but his 19th century studies of sexual diseases were no laughing matter. The French physician disproved a theory held for half a century that syphilis and gonorrhea shared a common origin. Ricord, who was born in Baltimore but lived most of his life in France, died this week in 1889. Oliver Wendell Holmes called Ricord "the Voltaire of pelvic literature - a skeptic as to the morality of the race in general, who would have submitted Diana to treatment with his mineral specifics and ordered a course of blue pills for the vestal virgins."
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