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.
The Texas Medical Association, the nation’s largest and one of the oldest and most powerful state medical societies, speaks out for more than 49,000 physician and medical student members across the state in our commitment to improve the health of all Texans. In partnership with our 112 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
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.
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.
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.
TMA's first online exhibit presents "Courage and Determination", the popular history of African-American physicians in Texas.
View the Online Exhibit
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" 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:
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.
Got History of Medicine questions? Call the Knowledge Center.
TMA’s History of Medicine Committee presents an online exhibit featuring portraits and short biographical sketches that will eventually present all TMA presidents.
TMA building (first floor) 401 W. 15th St. Austin, TX 78701
Monday - Friday9:00 am-5:00 pmfor self-guided tours
Some free parking
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.
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.