Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist University medical and pharmacy school records

A Guide to the Collection


Creator: Southern Methodist University
Title: Southern Methodist University medical and pharmacy school records
Dates: 1905-1988
Abstract: The Methodist Episcopal Church South advised that Southwestern University’s medical and pharmacy schools in Georgetown, Texas be moved to the university’s newly organized sister school, Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, Texas; this recommendation was enacted on April 4, 1911. The collection provides insights into SMU’s early days, before Dallas Hall even opened its doors in 1915. Included are letters, ephemera, contracts, student transcripts, research notes, and financial ledgers providing a revealing look into SMU’s forgotten history as a medical and pharmacy school.
Accession No: SMU 1992.0146
Extent: 4 boxes (2 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English
Repository Southern Methodist University Archives, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Historical Note

September 28, 1915 is recognized as the official date when Southern Methodist University opened the doors of Dallas Hall to its first students, but the university actually issued its first degrees in 1912 before Dallas Hall was built. SMU no longer has a medical school, however, for the brief period that the university’s school of medicine existed, it held the distinction of being the first school to be established and the first school to award degrees.

In October 1910 courses for the eighth annual session of the Southwestern University Medical College—based in Georgetown, Texas—began one hundred sixty miles north of Georgetown. The college was housed in a 90- by 100-foot building made of gray pressed brick located on Hall Street in the heart of the small but growing city of Dallas.

The move presaged the Board of Trustees’ official transferring of its medical school to SMU on April 14, 1911. On that date, Southwestern University Medical College became the Medical and Pharmaceutical Departments of Southern Methodist University, following the recommendation of a commission of clergy and laity appointed by the Methodist Episcopal Church South. On May 31, 1913, fourteen medical school graduates received their degrees, making them the second graduating class of SMU. Among them was John William Macune, who went on to have an illustrious career in both the military and medical fields.

Despite the medical school’s success in achieving a Class A status by the standards established by the Council of Medical Education of the American Medical Association, SMU’s Board of Trustees disbanded the medical faculty in the summer of 1915, citing financial concerns and the more stringent admissions requirements as the reasons. "[F]inancial conditions," the board explained, "are such that the great expense of such a department is not considered justifiable for the limited number of students, and the money can be spent to better advantage in the college of liberal arts."

Although the decision to suspend the Medical and Pharmaceutical Departments of Southern Methodist University was deemed temporary—indeed it was to last only a year, the programs never resumed operations. The medical building was sold to the State Dental College, and much of its medical equipment was purchased by Baylor University.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Southern Methodist University medical and pharmacy school records contain letters, contracts, ephemera, financial ledgers, newspaper articles, and receipts. The correspondences of SMU’s first bursar Frank Reedy figure prominently in the collection, offering insights into the financial and procedural aspects of the medical school.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into 4 series:
Series 1: General Literature on SMU Medical College
Series 2: Legal and Financial Documents
Series 3: SMU Medical Student Records
Series 4: Medical and Pharmacy Student Accounts Loose Leaf Ledger Binder


Access to Collection:

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Southern Methodist University -- History.
Pharmacy colleges -- Texas -- Dallas -- History.
Medical colleges -- Texas -- Dallas -- History.
Universities and colleges -- Texas -- Dallas -- History.

Related Materials

For additional material pertaining to SMU’s early days, see the Robert S. Hyer papers (SMU 1994.0203 and SMU 1994.0203x), Southern Methodist University Medical School commencement photocopies, 1913 (SMU 1994.0216 ), Southern Methodist University Medical School commencement announcement, 1915 (SMU 1994.0237), and Medical Education in Dallas, 1900-1910 by Samuel Wood Geiser (AS36 .D23 1952).

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Southern Methodist University medical and pharmacy school records, Southern Methodist University Archives, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information


Finding aid written by

George A. Méndez, 2009.

Encoded by

Lara Corazalla, 2009.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: General Literature on SMU Medical College, 1907-1915

Series 1 includes catalogues, rules and regulations, and notes compiled by researcher Gerald McGee on the history of the medical school. Folder 4 in this series is unique in that it deals specifically with Dr. Samuel Wood Geiser’s attempts to procure directories from the city of Ft. Worth while doing research for his 1952 monograph Medical Education in Dallas, 1900-1910.
Box Folder
1 1 Catalogs and Printed Pieces; SMU Medical School
2 Academic Medical College Matters also includes staff matters.
3 History of Medical College, SMU (Gerald McGee’s notes) 1911-15
4 Ft. Worth Tex. Medical School
5 Geiser’s Research Notes about SMU Medical College
6 Publicity
7 Four Copies of the 1912-1913 "The Campus"

Series 2: SMU Medical College’s Legal and Financial Documents, 1905-1963

Series 2 is comprised of letters and contracts pertaining to the building of the Medical College Building on Hall Street, the transference of ownership of the college from Southwestern University to SMU, the explanation and clarification of class credit policies, and the ratings given the college by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners in 1912 and 1915, class "C" and "A," respectively.
Box Folder
2 1 Legal Documents & Matters SMU Medical College
2 American Medical Association
3 Texas State Board of Medical Examinations
4 Budget and Financial Matters; Includes: Closing of School Insurance Matters, Sale of Property to Baylor
5 Miscellaneous Medical College
6 SMU’s Financial Management of other Methodist Colleges. Frank Reedy’s explanation of financial relationship between SMU and other Methodist Colleges.
N/A Medical & Pharmacy Matriculation 1912

Series 3: SMU Medical Student Records, 1911-1915

Series 3 features the records of SMU’s medical students. Among the documents that can be found in this series are transcripts, letters regarding entrance requirements, Matriculation and Registration Blanks, report cards, requests from prospective students for catalogues, and certificates issued by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners.
Box Folder
3 1 Medical College Prospects, 1912
2 1912-14 Medical College Credentials
3 Medical College Credentials 1913-1914
4 Medical College Credentials 1914-1915
5 Medical Pharmacy Student Accts 1912
6 Texas State Board of Medical Examiners Certifications

Series 4: Medical and Pharmacy Student Accounts Loose Leaf Ledger Binder, 1912

Series 4 is a 1912 ledger that logs the students’ financial debits and credits for either the Medical or Pharmacy Departments.
4 A 1912 Financial Ledger Binder