Robert Alan Thom was an American illustrator who specialized in the portrayal of historical scenes for commercial patrons, such as his series of 45 paintings depicting the history of medicine.

James Marion Sims was an American physician known as the "father of modern gynecology". Sims used enslaved African-American women as experimental subjects in the development of surgical treatment for vaginal problems. This work has been regarded by many modern historians and ethicists as unethical. He has been described as "a prime example of progress in the medical profession made at the expense of a vulnerable population." He performed multiple surgeries on enslaved women without the use of anesthesia. A common belief at the time, was that Black people did not feel as much pain as White people, and thus did not require anesthesia when undergoing surgery.