John Shaw Billings
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John Shaw Billings

John Shaw Billings worked on the 1880 and 1890 censuses with pioneering work on vital statistics. While involved with this effort, he proposed the idea mechanizing census data tabulation to Herman Hollerith. Later, he was instrumental in the adoption of the Hollerith tabulating equipment for processing the 1890 census.

Billings was a distinguished surgeon, hygienist, educator (he developed Johns Hopkins University's medical curriculum), bibliographer, museum curator, medical planner, and administrator. While serving as deputy surgeon general of the U.S. Army, he founded the National Library of Medicine. His last major undertaking was to supervise the merger of the Astor, Lenox, and Tilden private collections to form the New York City Public Library. He also designed the main building of that library and its classification and cataloging systems.