A key challenge that faced Franklin H. Martin, MD, FACS, secretary to the American College of Surgeons and his associates in 1917 was how to blend the huge private medical establishment with the existing military medical personnel. It was a task that they tackled with their usual vigor and efficiency. Edward P. Davis, MD, FACS, an 1882 graduate of Rush Medical College, Chicago and Jefferson Medical College in 1888, was among the group that worked with Dr. Martin on this endeavor. Dr. Davis spent his career in Philadelphia where he was a professor of Obstetrics at the Jefferson Medical College and served as a Consultant in the branch of the Philadelphia Hospital known as the Preston Retreat, for indigent women. He had been a classmate (1879, Princeton) and friend of Woodrow Wilson, and gave President Wilson a glowing tribute, which was reproduced in Dr. Martin’s autobiography. Dr. Davis was also a founding member of the American College of Surgeons, and in 1917 he was appointed a member of the General Medical Board of the Council of National Defense of President Woodrow Wilson’s civilian Advisory Council during World War I. Dr. Franklin Martin, as Chairman of the General Medical Board, was authorized to cooperate with Secretary of War, and Chairman, Council of National Defense, Newton Baker, in forming this Board to which 90 outstanding medical and surgical representatives of the profession in the U.S. were invited. Dr. Davis was then made also medical aid to the Governor of Pennsylvania, part of a system of organizing the Medical Advisory Board for each State. In 1918 he was appointed President of the Volunteer Medical Service Corps, the body which administered services to all medical personnel who were volunteering to serve in some medical capacity during World War I.
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.