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

Major General Merritte Weber Ireland 1867-1952

Major General Merritte Weber Ireland (Photo credit: Harris & Ewing, Washington, DC)

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) 13th President also served as United States Surgeon General from 1918 to 1931. Major General Ireland was awarded Honorary Fellowship in the College in 1918 and went on to become College President in 1929-30, after the presidential tenure of ACS founder Franklin H. Martin, MD, FACS.

Born in Columbia City, IN, Ireland studied medicine at the Detroit College of Medicine and Jefferson Medical College. After medical school, he entered the Medical Corps of the Army where he served initially in the Spanish American War and later in the Philippines. When he returned to the US in 1902, Surgeon General Robert O'Reilly selected Ireland as one of his three assistants. At the start of World War I, General Pershing chose then Lieutenant Colonel Ireland as his Chief Surgeon, and he went on to become Surgeon General after William Gorgas, who served in that capacity throughout World War I.

For more information about Major General Ireland's relationship with the College, and that of other prominent surgeons of the times, see F.H. Martin's Joy of Living and the College Archives.