John Miller Turpin Finney, MD, FACS, was the first president of the American College of Surgeons from 1913-1916 and served on its Board of Regents for the first 20 years of its existence. He was intimately involved with the birth and early history of the College. Born in Natchez, MS on June 30, 1863, Finney received a bachelor's degree in 1884 from Princeton University. He graduated from Harvard Medical School 1888 and the next year was invited by William Halsted to become one of the first doctors to practice at the new Johns Hopkins Hospital. He studied there under the tutelage of the so-called "Big Four" physicians of his time: William Halsted, William Welch, William Osler, and Howard Kelly. He focused his surgical work on abdominal operations, especially in the stomach and duodenum.
During World War I, Dr. Finney earned the rank of Brigadier General in the Medical Corps of the United States Army. He was an honorary member of numerous surgical societies including the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Medical Society of London. Among his many honors, he became president of the Southern Surgical Association in 1912, the American Surgical Association in 1921 and the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland in 1934-35. Dr. Finney served on many educational boards, reflecting his lifelong interest in education, and was a leading citizen in Baltimore and Maryland public affairs. He served on the editorial board of the American College of Surgeons journal Surgery, Gynecology, and Obstetrics from its inception in 1913 until his death.
More information on Dr. Finney is available in the Archives and in F.H. Martin's Joy of Living, Loyal Davis' Fellowship of Surgeons, and in his own autobiography, A Surgeon's Life (1940).
For more information, contact the ACS Archivist.