American College of Surgeons (ACS) founder Franklin Martin, MD, FACS, met pathologist Bowman Crowell, MD, during Dr. Martin’s 1921 visit to South America, where Dr. Crowell was the chief of service of the department of pathology of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Dr. Crowell had already achieved a high level of success as an educator, administrator, and researcher in tropical medicine.
Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, Dr. Crowell graduated from the McGill University Faculty of Medicine, Montreal, in 1904 and was employed as an instructor in pathology at Bellevue Hospital, New York City, until 1911. He traveled to the University of the Philippines College of Medicine and Surgery where he began as associate professor of pathology and bacteriology, ultimately becoming director of the department by 1916. In 1918, he was invited to take the position in Brazil where he stayed until 1922. Between the years of 1923 and 1926, he served as professor of pathology at the Medical College of the State of South Carolina Charleston, and Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, before accepting the position of associate director and director of clinical research at the American College of Surgeons in 1926.
As an ACS staff member Dr. Crowell served in various capacities on several College committees, including the Central Committee on Credentials, the Committee on Fractures and Other Traumas, Committee on Public Relations, the Cancer Committee, and as representative of the College for the Service Committee of the American Cancer Society. He also lectured on pathology at Northwestern University Medical School throughout this period. He is especially well-known particularly for his ACS contributions in the administration of the Fracture Committee and the Bone Sarcoma Registry.
After the death of Dr. Martin, Dr. Crowell served as Co-Director of the American College of Surgeons, along with Malcolm MacEachern MD, FACS, from 1935 to 1949. By the time of his retirement from the College in 1949, Dr. Crowell had acquired many awards, honors, and accolades from the various associations and societies of which he was a member or officer, including the American Society for the Control of Cancer, Inc., the Gorgas Memorial Institute of Tropical and Preventive Medicine, the Institute of Medicine of Chicago, the Brazilian Academy of Medicine, and the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. His long list of publications cover the subjects of pathology, bone sarcoma, and cancer clinics.
For more information about Dr. Crowell’s role in the history of the American College of Surgeons, and some of his collected reprints, research photos, and other images, visit the ACS Archives.
Deaths. JAMA, 1951;Vol. 146(No. 8): p. 743