American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Colonel William N. Bispham, FACS, 1875-1945

Colonel William N. Bispham, MD, FCS, 1875-1945 (Photo credit: H.P. Dexheimer, Indiana)

William S. Bispham, was born in Virginia and received his MD from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1897. He became a Fellow of the College in 1915 when his address was Texas City, Texas. He enlisted in the U.S. Army infantry, and was a contract surgeon for two years with the Medical Corps. During World War I, he achieved the rank of Colonel.

He served as commanding officer in charge at Fort Riley, Kansas, 1917 where a medical officers’ training camp had just been opened with nine medical officers to train military surgeons. In July 1918, the medical officers’ training camp was partially consolidated with the training camp at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, so Bispham was transferred to Fort Oglethorpe. But by October 1918, Bispham was commanding officer in charge at Camp Greenleaf, near Chattanooga, Tennessee, where Franklin Martin encountered him while Martin was on a visit to inspect the camp as part of his responsibilities with the Council of National Defense. Among the group of distinguished doctors accompanying Martin for the inspection of the training camp were members of the group of “Visiting Doctors from Abroad” [See Highlights for April 2006], guests of the General Medical Board. Lieutenant-Colonel Rafaele Bastianelli, Surgeon to the King of Italy, Colonel Sir Thomas Myles of Dublin, Major Pierre Duval of Paris and Major George Grey Turner of Newcastle upon Tyne were all part of this visit to Camp Greenleaf. Franklin Martin spoke of the warm hospitality he and Isabelle and the other distinguished physicians enjoyed and the pleasant time they had with Col. Bispham and his wife.

Bispham retired to Baltimore in 1939 with rank of Colonel.

For more information on Franklin Martin’s colleagues and associates during World War I, see his autobiography, The Joy of Living, Vol. 2, (1933) and the Martin Papers in the ACS Archives.