Norman Bridge, MD, was not a surgeon, but was an important figure in the history of the American College of Surgeons because of his relationship with the Murphy Memorial Auditorium and the great bronze doors that are so unique to the edifice.
Little is known about Dr. Bridge, except that it was in his name that the doors were donated by Mr. Edward L. Doheny, a generous member of the John B. Murphy Memorial Association. Mr. Doheny presented the doors to the College in 1926. Dr. Bridge was a graduate of Chicago Medical College in 1868, and he is listed in the Chicago Medical Directory of 1905 as being an Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Rush Medical College. George Stephenson, MD, FACS (1902-98) former ACS Archivist and historian, cites Loyal Davis, MD, FACS (1896-1982) author of Stormy Petrel of Surgery (1938), in discussing Dr. Bridge in his book The ACS at 75 (1990).
“Norman Bridge was a fine physician and shrewd business man who had made a substantial fortune himself and who gave sound advice to Murphy, over the years, which contributed greatly to the latter’s fortune. Specifically, it is mentioned that Dr. Bridge urged Dr. Murphy to invest in bonds of the American Petroleum Company, thus establishing his interest in oil investments. Undoubtedly, this explains the gift by Doheny, who was one of the oil men who became notorious at the time of the Teapot Dome scandal.”
Dr. Bridge was the author of House Health and other Papers (1907) and an article on nursing education in the 1922 volume of the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons. He also authored a biographical sketch of Moses Gunn, MD, of New York State, which appeared in Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics—predecessor to the Journal of the American College of Surgeons—in February 1924.
For more information about the Murphy Memorial Auditorium Building, visit the ACS Archives.