History of Medicine

  • Playing Doctor: Portrayals of Medicine in Popular Culture September 2020-September 2021

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    Chances are, you formed many of your opinions long before you ever set foot in a clinic or hospital. Doctors and nurses have been portrayed in popular culture for more than a century. Many people base their impressions of medical staff on this material, and as a result, doctors and nurses often must work past the notions and stereotypes these depictions form. In this new exhibit, follow the changing perceptions of medicine through the 20th century lens of mass communication, games, and toys.

    We Encourage You to Attend  
  • The Art of Observation

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    A grant from the Texas Medical Foundation allowed us to create a display based on our 2014 exhibit “The Art of Observation.”

    It 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

  • Free Traveling Banner Exhibits For Display

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    A generous grant from the Texas Medical Association Foundation has allowed TMA to reproduce several prior exhibits in the TMA History of Medicine Gallery in Austin as traveling banner displays.

    Four titles are available featuring vinyl roll-up displays with stands. They are lightweight and take just minutes to set up.

    Display a banner series at your next clinic or community event. Call the TMA Knowledge Center at (512) 370-1552, or contact nancy.semin@texmed.org to reserve at no cost to you.

    Spread a Story of
    Texas Medical History
  • Courage and Determination

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    A History of African Americans in Medicine is our newest traveling banner series. From Ancient Egypt to modern Texas History, learn about many contributions African Americans have made in the field of medicine.

    Banner production was made possible thanks to a generous grant from the Texas Medical Foundation.

    Learn More Here  
  • Deep Roots: From Plants to Prescriptions

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    Thanks to a generous grant from the Texas Medical Association Foundation, we now offer a new banner series to display in your museum or educational facility. 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.

    Three Banner Series  
  • 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  

  • TMA Archives Photoshoot: A Look Back in Time(lapse)

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    Go behind the scenes as photographer Matt Lemke shoots some of the most interesting medical memorabilia in the Texas Medical Association archives and History of Medicine collection – everything from 15th century anatomical illustrations to Civil War postmortem dissection kits.

    Watch the Time-Lapse Video  
  • 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  
  • TMA: Here for You Since 1853


    The Texas Medical Association, the nation’s largest and one of the oldest and most powerful state medical societies, speaks out for more than 52,000 physician and medical student members across the state in our commitment to improve the health of all Texans. In partnership with our 110 county medical societies, we have been helping Texas physicians set high professional and ethical standards since 1853.

    TMA monitors state and national laws to ensure that physicians can practice their craft with a minimum amount of interference. We help doctors set up offices and file claims for payment.

    Find out more about TMA

  • Collecting and Preserving the History of Texas Medicine

    The TMA Archives and Collections contain more than 8,000 books, papers, photographs, files and medical artifacts, all available to researchers. Our collections continue to grow.

    Currently we are cataloguing an exciting array of beautiful, medically-related stamps, coins, medals, postcards, and letters that make up the Lekisch Collection, which the widow of TMA member Kurt Lekisch, MD, donated in 1995.

  • 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.

  • Courage and Determination

    TMA's first online exhibit presents "Courage and Determination", the popular history of African-American physicians in Texas.

    Courage and Determination


    View the Online Exhibit

  • Free Traveling Banner Exhibits for Display

    The History of Medicine Committee is proud to introduce banners for display at public institutions across the state.

    Thanks to a generous grant from the Texas Medical Association Foundation, the roundtrip shipping costs are completely free!  

    Banners are educational, colorful and museum-quality.

    They measure approximately 6 x 3 feet and come with retractable stands. They are easy to assemble, take up little space and can be placed near a front entrance without creating blockage or obstacles. 

    Seven different banners are available:

    • 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) This series is 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)
    • 150 Years of Texas Medicine” celebrates the milestones of Texas medical history from the days of early statehood up to 2003. (four banners)
    • Faces of Change” honors the diversity of Texas physicians and their important contributions to medicine. (one banner)
    • "Women in Texas Medicine" highlights trailblazing women who laid the foundation for gender representation in the field of medicine. (one banner)
    • "Greetings from Texas Hospitals" A collection of vintage postcard images tells the history of diverse groups who established facilities to care for the health of Texans. (one banner)
    • “Medical Education in Texas” Ideal for students interested in medical careers, this banner traces the early history of learning institutions across the state. (one banner)

    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, email Claire Duncan, director, TMA Knowledge Center, or call (800) 880-1300, ext. 1544, or (512) 370-1544.


    TMA is helping to strengthen your practice by offering advice and creating a climate of medical success across the state. 

  • What could a TMA membership mean for you, your practice, and your patients?