Allen B. Kanavel was a Founder, Regent and later President of the American College of Surgeons in 1931-32. He had a long association with Northwestern University from his graduation with a degree in liberal arts in 1896, to becoming a professor of surgery in the Medical School in 1919. He was an attending surgeon at Wesley Memorial and Passavant Memorial Hospitals. He developed special technics in plastic surgery, neurologic surgery and thyroid surgery and is particularly known for his textbook and motion picture on Infections of the Hand which has become a classic the world over.
Kanavel had a distinguished career in the U.S. Military, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and serving as Assistant to the Chief Consultant in Surgery of the American Expeditionary Forces.
For the American College of Surgeons, he has an extra significance as the editor of Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics (SG&O) which in 1995 became the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (JACS). He was a founder of SG&O, along with Franklin H. Martin, Nicholas Senn, J.B. Murphy and others, Associate Editor from 1905-1935, and Editor from 1935 until his untimely death in a car accident in 1938.
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.