Cutting Edge: A History of Surgery

 Cutting Edge

The average American will experience seven surgeries. In 1836, when Texas gained independence, surgery was the medical treatment of last resort: always painful and most often fatal. “Cutting Edge” honors the centennial of the Texas Surgical Society in 2015 by exploring improvements that allowed surgery to become essential to medicine.

Notable within the 12 display cases is an exhibit on physician-patriots at the Alamo and Battle of San Jacinto. Another display highlights how science fiction became surgical reality. Also noteworthy: The top 10 inpatient and outpatient surgeries based on the most recent survey.

In addition to images and artifacts from the TMA Archives, the TMA History Committee is pleased to acknowledge the contributions of the Blocker History of Medicine Collections, Moody Medical Library, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston; the Texas Surgical Society; the Texas State Library and Archives Commission; The National Library of Medicine; the family of Sam Nixon, MD; Ken Hoge, Texas Heart Institute; The Collection of Michael E. DeBakey; Baylor College of Medicine Archives; and AT&T Archives.  

 Proud member of Austin Museum Partnership

TMA History of Medicine Gallery
Texas Medical Association, First Floor
401 West 15th Street

Hours of Operation
9 am-5 pm
for self-guided tours
(Closed holidays)

Admission: Free
Some free parking

For more information or to schedule a group tour, email Betsy Tyson, TMA Knowledge Center archivist and exhibits coordinator, or contact her at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1552, or (512) 370-1552.

New Antitobacco Traveling Exhibit Available for Display

The History of Medicine Committee is proud to introduce a beautiful, three-banner display that traces the history of tobacco advertising and rise of antitobacco advocacy. "Smoke and Mirrors (PDF) contain striking images of advertisements and antitobacco posters, along with counterarguments suitable for discussion.

The freestanding banner set is available for display in schools, medical offices, clinics, or libraries. There is no charge to reserve a banner set and shipping is free, due to the generous support of the TMA Foundation.

“Smoke and Mirrors” joins these other popular traveling exhibits from the History of Medicine Committee that can be reserved for free; you pay only shipping costs for these banners:

  • Stamping Out Disease” is a  three-banner set (PDF) on the history of infectious disease and the importance of immunization. Available in English or Spanish, both sets can be reserved as a bilingual display. The “Stamping Out Disease” banners were made possible by support from the TMA Foundation and a generous gift from Frost Bank, trustee, Myra Stafford Pryor Charitable Trust.
  • Faces of Change” (PDF) honors the history and achievements of foreign-born, foreign-educated physicians, now known as international medical graduates.
  • Also available are banner sets celebrating Texas women in medicine (PDF), Texas medical schools, Texas hospitals, and a four-banner set celebrating 150 years of TMA (PDF). 

Consider displaying one or more banner sets at a special event, or anytime in a suitable location. All are easy to set up and take down. For more information or to reserve, contact Betsy Tyson, TMA Knowledge Center archivist and exhibits coordinator, at, or (800) 880-1300, ext. 1552, or (512) 370-1552.

Resources for Genealogists and Researchers of Medical History

Links to other resources and brief descriptions of collections relating to the history of medicine in medical libraries in Texas – and other resources of note.

Did you know that the TMA Knowledge Center has more than 8,000 items in its history of medicine collection?  Visit the TMA Knowledge Center Online Catalog to browse these materials. 

The TMA History of Medicine Gallery is located on the first floor of the TMA building, 401 W. 15th St., Austin. Exhibit hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm. For more information, contact TMA Knowledge Center at (512) 370-1552 or (800) 880-1300, ext. 1552.

Sponsored by the Texas Medical Association, History of Medicine Committee.  

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