History of Medicine

  • TMA: Here for You Since 1853

    TMA, the nation’s largest and one of the oldest and most powerful state medical societies, now boasts more than 57,000 physician and medical student members across the state. As part of our commitment to improve the health of all Texans, and in partnership with our 110 county medical societies, we have been helping Texas physicians set high professional and ethical standards since 1853.

    Our Mission, Goals, and Leadership

  • Videos About the History of Texas Medicine

    Share a story of Texas Medical History. A generous grant from the TMA Foundation has allowed TMA to reproduce several popular exhibits from the TMA History of Medicine Gallery in Austin. Check out our three new videos. 

    Women in Texas Medicine
    Learn more about Texas women physicians who refused to let prejudice and societal limitations curtail their passion for medicine

    Courage and Determination: A History of African American Physicians
    From ancient Egypt through modern Texas history, learn more about the many contributions Black people have made in the field of medicine.

    Stamping Out Disease - A History of Infectious Diseases
    Learn more about the history of infectious diseases and vaccination successes.

  • Free Traveling Banner Exhibits For Display

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    TMA invites you, your patients, your practice, and public institutions across Texas to travel through medical history. Choose from a collection of educational banners and short videos to inspire and engage your local community – all exhibits are listed below.

    Banner production and roundtrip shipping costs are posssible thanks to a generous grant from the TMA Foundation. Each colorful, museum-quality banner measures approximately 6 x 3 feet with a retractable stands – making assembly easy. Call the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 for reservations.

    TMA History of Medicine Exhibit Banners are funded by the TMA Foundation.

    Email to Reserve a Banner
  • History of Medicine Traveling Exhibits

  • Courage and Determination

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    Travel from ancient Egypt through modern Texas history to learn more about the many contributions Black people have made in the field of medicine.

    Courage and Determination: Banner 1

    Courage and Determination: Banner 2 

    Courage and Determination: Banner 3

  • The Art of Observation

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    The Art of Observation is a richly explored history of medical illustration from the Classical Era to present. In addition to lush, colorful images, the banners retrace how artists experimented with new mediums in their quest to gain greater insight into the inner workings of the human body.

    The Art of Observation: Banner 1

    The Art of Observation: Banner 2

    The Art of Observation: Banner 3

  • Deep Roots: From Plants to Prescriptions

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    Deep Roots: From Plants to Prescriptions is a colorful three banner series providing a fascinating history of botanical medicine and its earliest origins to its modern day applications in the pharmaceutical industry.

    Plants as Medicine: A Long and Ancient History: Banner 1

    The Early Modern Era: Banner 2

    The Pharmaceutical Era: Banner 3

  • Disabilities Throughout History

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    This three-banner set recounts major shifts in the perception of disability from ancient beliefs and methods of accommodation to the 20th-century struggle for disability equity. The banners explore changing depictions of disability through a variety of historical images, including stamps from the Clare W. Cozard and Kurt Lekisch, MD, collections in the Texas Medical Association archives.

    Early History: Banner 1

    Middle Ages: Banner 2

    20th Century: Banner 3

  • Additional Traveling Banner Exhibits

    Explore an extended collection of exhibits presented by the TMA History of Medicine Committee and made possible by a generous grant from the TMA Foundation. These educational banners are also available for display. 

    • Stamping Out Disease” documents the oldest of human struggles, the battle against infectious diseases, up to and beyond the emerging field of microbiology. (three banners) Also available in Spanish! 
    • "Smoke and Mirrors" traces early tobacco advertisements and the rise of anti-smoking campaigns that successfully countered decades of false and misleading claims. (three banners)
    • "Women in Texas Medicine" highlights trailblazing women who laid the foundation for gender representation in the field of medicine. (one banner)
  • One Giant Step for Physicians

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    This summer marks the 50th anniversary of America’s Apollo 11 Lunar Mission – the first time humans set foot on the moon. Texas cardiologist Lawrence E. Lamb, MD's memoir recounts the essential role physicians played in that pivotal space race.

    A Texas Physician's Role in Space Race Medicine  

  • Fighting on Two Fronts

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    During World War I, May Agness Hopkins, MD, of Austin answered the call to battlefield medicine despite limitations on women of her generation. The war experience also helped this pediatrician break barriers stateside.

    Read the Women in Medicine story in Texas Medicine.

    The Only Female Texas Physician to Serve in World War I  
  • Imploded Austin Building’s Namesake Stood Tall for Texas Medicine

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    On March 25, Ashbel Smith Hall in Austin was imploded to make way for a new downtown development. This was not a case of yet another capital city landmark falling by the wayside, as the nine-story concrete building was, by all accounts, bland and architecturally dull. The building’s namesake, however, is a different story. 

    More About Dr. Ashbel Smith  
  • A Tradition of Preservation

    TMA began collecting materials to preserve Texas’ medical heritage more than a century ago, when Frank Paschal, MD, of San Antonio, told the TMA House of Delegates in his 1904 presidential address, “The labors of this Association should always be conserved, and unless steps are taken the past work will be lost forever.” Dr. Paschal then established the Committee on Collection and Preservation of Records.

    This eventually led to a joint project between TMA and The University of Texas (UT): the compilation of information from newspaper files and other sources in 31 bound notebooks titled Transcripts Relating to the Medical History of Texas. One set is in the TMA Archives; the other is part of the UT-Austin Eugene C. Barker Texas History Collection at the Briscoe Center for American History. Beginning in the 1930s, physicians or their family members began donating medical artifacts and collections to TMA as well.

    In 1953, UT Press published A History of the Texas Medical Association 1853-1953 by Pat Ireland Nixon, MD, of San Antonio, who chaired a special TMA Committee to Write a History of the State Medical Association. Several copies of this history and other histories by Dr. Nixon, along with his research notes, are part of the TMA Archives. That same year, TMA established a History of Medicine Committee.

  • A Public Space for Sharing

    When we moved into our current headquarters building in 1991, TMA gained more than 600 square feet of gallery space on the ground floor. Elgin Ware Jr., MD, who chaired the History of Medicine Committee from 1989 to 2001, and also served on the Building Committee, envisioned using the space for historical exhibits that would tell the continuing story of medicine in Texas and the role of physicians in Texas history.

    The first exhibit, “Technology in Medicine: 150 Years of Medical Innovation,” was unveiled July 26, 1991, during dedication ceremonies of the new building. Items from the TMA Archives and Collections, many on display for the first time, included a Civil War surgical kit, bloodletting instruments, and a rare 1555 edition of De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem, the famous anatomy by Andreas Vesalius.


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