Frederic Besley, MD, FACS, was intimately associated with the American College of Surgeons from its earliest days. A Chicago area native and 1894 graduate of Northwestern University Medical School, Dr. Besley was a colleague of Franklin H. Martin, MD, FACS, served with Dr. Martin as one of the founders and editors of the journal Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics in 1905. He began his illustrious career as an intern and resident at Cook County Hospital, later became professor of surgery at the Postgraduate Medical School and Northwestern Medical School. He was a staff member and consultant for several Chicago hospitals.
During World War I, Dr. Besley served as chief surgeon of the Northwestern University Base Hospital in France. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the General Medical Board of President Wilson’s Council of National Defense. He was commissioned in the US Armed Forces as a major, and retired with the rank of colonel. A founder of the American Board of Surgery as well as the American College of Surgeons, he served the College in numerous capacities including Secretary and Chairman of the ACS Board of Regents. He was instrumental in founding the ACS Committee on Industrial Medicine and Traumatic Surgery and was largely responsible for establishing minimal standards for medical care in industry. An officer of many surgical societies, he served as ACS President from 1937-1938.
ACS Archives Highlights is a series showcasing the vibrant history of the American College of Surgeons, its members, and the history of surgery. For further information on our featured highlights, search the Archives Catalog or contact the ACS Archivist.