JOHN BENJAMIN MURPHY, colorful, enigmatic, entrepreneurial, and innovative, was one of America's most prominent surgeons. Loyal Davis (1896-1982) labeled him the "stormy petrel of surgery," and no less an authority than William Mayo styled him "the surgical genius of our generation." Murphy was born in Appleton, Wis, and received his medical degree in 1879 from Chicago's Rush Medical College. After serving 18 months as an intern at Cook County Hospital, he went into private practice until 1882, when he traveled to Europe. Two years of medical study were spent in Berlin, Heidelberg, Munich, and Vienna. Upon his return to the United States, Murphy reestablished his office for the practice of surgery in Chicago.