Collection VC029 - Evarts A. Graham Photographs

Overhead view of Dr. Halsted's first operation in the new surgical ampitheater. View of the Clinic Portable unit Operay Multibeam, Barnes Hospital. Interior view of an operating room. Interior view of an operating room. Interior view of an operating room. View of the new "12-Beam-Plus" Clinic Portable unit Operay Multibeam, Barnes Hospital. Surgeons performing an appendectomy, the first operation at Barnes Hospital. Evarts A. Graham (right) and an unidentified man walking in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Patient undergoing an operation in Vilray P. Blair's operating room, Rand-Johnson Surgical Pavili... Evarts A. Graham in academic regalia at a Washington Universtiy Commencement ceremony. Barney Brooks and Evarts A. Graham posed in front of the Rand-Johnson Building, Barnes Hospital. Group portrait of Elliott Cutler, Harvey Cushing, and Evarts A. Graham. Group portrait of Glover H. Copher, Evarts A. Graham, W. H. Cole, and Sherwood Moore in front of ... St. Louis Medical Society at a graveside ceremony in honor of William Beaumont. Group portrait of members attending the meeting of Executive Committee of the American National R... Overhead view of an operation. Overhead view of an operation. Portrait of Evarts A. Graham. E.P. Lehman, Evarts A. Graham, Dan Elkin, and Ike Bigger. Men and women at a lunch during the meeting of the Executive Committee of the American National R...
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Evarts A. Graham Photographs


  • 1920-1957 (Creation)


0.80 Linear Feet

Name of creator


Biographical history

Evarts Ambrose Graham was born in 1883 and raised in Chicago where his father was Professor of Surgery at Rush Medical College and a surgeon on the staff of Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Graham's academic training included a liberal arts degree from Princeton University, an M.D. from Rush Medical College, an internship at Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago, a fellowship in pathology at Rush Medical College, and two years of study as a part-time student in chemistry at the University of Chicago. In 1916, Graham married Helen Tredway, a graduate student in chemistry at the University of Chicago, and for two years the couple lived in Mason City, Iowa, where he was a surgeon in a private clinic.

During World War I Graham was commissioned to serve as a captain in the Army Medical Corps, where, because of his broad background in medicine, surgery, and chemistry, he was appointed to the Empyema Commission. The specific task of this commission was to investigate pleural cavity abscesses called empyema, a form of post-influenza disease which, in some camps, was killing as many am 90 percent of the soldiers who suffered from it. Graham contended that the chief cause of death from empyema was not the disease itself, but too early surgical intervention. He advised that the drainage of the abscesses be delayed until after the pneumonia had subsided, and the Surgeon General permitted Graham to treat a group of empyema patients at Camp Lee, Virginia, in accordance with this principle. Among the group of patients so treated, the mortality rate quickly dropped to about four percent. The reputation thus gained later won Graham an appointment as Professor of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in 1919.

As Bixby Professor of Surgery and Surgeon-in-Chief of the Barnes and St. Louis Children's Hospitals from 1919 to 1951, Graham brought international fame to the Washington University School of Medicine. His medical achievements included the development of cholecystograpy (the x-ray visualization of the biliary tract), the first successful total pneumonectomy (the removal of an entire lung), and the experimental production of skin cancer in mice by the application of cigarette tars obtained from an automatic smoking machine.

Between 1925 and 1954, Graham served on various medical committees of the National Research Council. He also serve on on a number of Government committees including the Committee to Study the Medical Department of the Army (1942), the President's Committee to Study the Health Needs of the Nation (1952), and the Medical Task Force of the Second Hoover Commission (1953-1954). Additionally, Dr. Graham was president of various surgical and medical associations including the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (1928), the American Surgical Association (1937), the American College of Surgeons (1940-1941), the Interstate Post-graduate Medical Association of North America (1948), and the XVI Congress of the International Society of Surgery (1955). He also edited the Yearbook of General Surgery (1926-1957) and served as a member of the editorial and advisory boards of the Archives of Surgery (1920-1945) and the Annals of Surgery (1935-1957).

As a full-time professor of surgery, Graham was able to fulfill a long standing ambition to practice surgery, to engage in medical research, and to train young doctors. He trained outstanding physicians, and his students came to hold top hospital and teaching positions the world over. Such prominent surgeons as Warren H. Cole, Nathan A. Womack, Brian Blades, Thomas H. Burford, and many others are tributes to Graham's ability as a teacher. Upon his retirement in 1951, Graham became Bixby Professor Emeritus of Surgery at Washington University. He died in 1957.

Scope and content

This collection consists of 166 photographs and glass lantern slides depicting the professional life of Evarts A. Graham. Primarily the photographs depict portraits of Graham, as well as various scenes of Graham lecturing to students, performing surgery, working with patients, and with colleagues at dinners or conferences.The collection also includes Barnes Hospital Surgical Staff photographs, interior views of Graham's office taken just after his death, and photographs sent to Graham from former students. The glass slides in the collection primarily depict demonstrations of a postural drainage table in various positions, and chest x-rays and microscopic views of lung tissue from Dr. James Gilmore.

System of arrangement

Some items have been previously removed from this collection, which has led to an incomplete sequence of numbered items.

Conditions governing access

The collection is open and accessible for research.

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Users of the collection should read and abide by the Rights and Permissions guidelines at the Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives.

Users of the collection who wish to cite items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication must request, sign, and return a Statement of Use form to the Archives.

For detailed information regarding use of this collection, contact the Archives and Rare Book Department of the Becker Library (

Preferred Citation:

Item description, Reference Code, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

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Immediate source of acquisition

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


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Existence and location of copies

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Rules or conventions

"Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition (DACS), 2013."

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Archivist's note

© Copyright 2019 Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives. All rights reserved.

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Accession area