An oral history interview recorded in February 1980 at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Perry W. Nadig talks with Dr. Byron W. Wyatt, a pioneer San Antonio physician. Dr. Wyatt’s reminiscences include his early days at the Santa Rosa and Robert B. Green Hospitals, and his interaction with the Herff medical family and Dr. P.I. Nixon of San Antonio.
History of Medicine
A Personal History of Bexar County Medicine
Anatomists and their art
In October 2011, Dr. Charleen Moore, Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Health Science Center’s Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, gave a fascinating presentation on “Anatomists and Their Art” which featured many of the most important works in the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. Dr. Moore explained the interrelationship between anatomical study and art by looking at:
- Artists who dissected (such as Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer),
- Anatomists who drew (such as Robert Hooke and the Bell brothers), and
- Anatomists who teamed up with artists (as Vesalius did with van Calcar, or Albinus did with Wandelaar).
You can see and hear Dr. Moore’s presentation (28 minutes long) by clicking the “play” button below.
Books from the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library
The P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library contains a collection of over 5000 antiquarian texts, dating from the 15th to the early 20th century. Over the years, the library has identified and digitized works from this collection that are of particular historical value, to make them available to the public online through the library’s Digital Archive. Other books from the collection have been digitized through grants from the University of North Texas and are available through the Portal to Texas History.
Browse digitized works in the:
- Atkinson, Donald Taylor (1874- ). Texas surgeon: an autobiography. N.Y.: Washburn, 1958.
An autobiographical account of the life of Dr. Donald Taylor Atkinson.
- Bell, Charles (1774-1842). Essays on the anatomy of expression in painting. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1806.
The first textbook of anatomy for painters and illustrators, analyzing the anatomical basis of facial expression and in a series of beautifully detailed drawings showing how facial muscles are utilized to express human passions.
- Brunschwig, Hieronymus (ca. 1450-ca. 1512). Dis ist das buch der Cirurgia Hantwirkckung der wundartzny von Hyeronimo brunschwig. Strassburg: [J. Grueninger], 1497.
First printed surgical treatise in the German language, containing a compilation of ancient and medieval medical knowledge and the earliest detailed description of gunshot wounds. Contains many picturesque scenes of the 15th century doctor at his patient’s bedside, the apothecary in his pharmacy, and villagers undergoing various medical remedies.
- Cerna, David (1857-1953). Notes on the newer remedies: their therapeutic applications and modes of administration. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1895, c1894.
A pharmacology reference text that includes physical characteristics, modern therapeutic applications and recommended dosages for various synthetic and natural drugs available in 1895.
- Corner, William. San Antonio de Bexar: a guide and history. San Antonio: Bainbridge & Corner, 1890.
Includes descriptions of county and church records, interviews with memorable Texans, a discussion of the benefits of the San Antonio climate for individuals suffering from lung disease, descriptions of local churches, schools, public halls, parks and other establishments.
Scottish-born surgeon George Cupples moved to Texas in 1844, and subsequently served as surgeon for the Texas Rangers in the Mexican War and then for the Confederate Army. In this handwritten case book, Cupples captured patient notes and reports on both medical and surgical cases he treated between about 1853 and 1867.
- Dixon, Chas. D. (Charles D.). The menace: an exposition of quackery nostrum exploitation and reminiscences of a country doctor. San Antonio: Lodovic Printing Company, 1914.
The purpose of Dixon’s book was to expose fraudulent doctors, practitioners and other professionals who treat individuals without the proper licenses.
- Fisher, C. E. Queer quaint old San Antonio: its climate in throat and lung diseases. No publisher listed, 1895.
Describes the climate of San Antonio, Texas and its potential benefits to individuals suffering from lung illness and disease.
- Genga, Bernardino (1620-1690). Anatomy improv’d and illustrated with regard to the uses thereof in designing… London: J. Senex 
English translation of Genga’s Anatomia per Uso et Intelligenza del Disegno,one of the finest examples of anatomy and artistry in balance, a masterwork from the age of copperplate engraving. Has since become one of the most famous books on anatomy for artists.
- Herff, Adolph (1858-1952). Chemistry note-book. [Lexington, Virginia: Adolph Herff, 1876?]
Chemistry student notebook of Adolph Herff, noted San Antonio surgeon who received his M.D. from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia in 1878 and returned to San Antonio in 1880 to practice in association with his father, Dr. Ferdinand Ludwig von Herff.
- Herff, Ferdinand Peter (1883-1965). The doctors Herff: a three-generation memoir. San Antonio: Trinity Univ. Press, 1973.
A memoir written by Ferdinand Peter Herff, San Antonio physician, about his two ancestors, Ferdinand Ludwig von Herff and Adolph Herff, both early Texas physicians.
- Hoyt, Henry Franklin (1854-). A frontier doctor. Boston: New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1929.
A autobiographical account of pioneer doctor Henry Franklin Hoyt, the first physician to practice medicine in the Texas Panhandle.
- Massie, J. Cam. A treatise on the eclectic Southern practice of medicine. Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwai,t 1854 [c1853].
A reference text on the theory and practice of medicine in 1854, especially as experienced in Texas.
- Menger, Rudolph (1851-1921). Texas nature observations and reminiscences. San Antonio: Guessaz & Farlet Company, 1913.
A collection of photographs and photo-micrographs taken by Dr. Menger of native animal and insect life found around San Antonio in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s along with accompanying detailed narratives.
- Nixon, Pat Ireland (1883-1965). A century of medicine in San Antonio: the story of medicine in Bexar County, Texas. Lancaster, PA.: Lancaster Press, Inc., 1936.
A history of the development of medicine in the San Antonio area including early physicians, hospitals, and clinics, and the development of the West Texas Medical Association and the Bexar County Medical Society.
- Nixon, Pat Ireland (1883-1965). The medical story of early Texas. Lancaster, Penn. published by the Mollie Bennett Lupe Memorial Fund, 1946.
Highlights the story of medicine in Texas between 1528 and 1853, from the beginnings with Indian medicine to the development of the Texas Medical Association.
- Nixon, Pat Ireland (1883-1965). A history of the Texas Medical Association. Austin Univ. of Texas Press, 1953.
A narrative description of the history of the Texas Medical Association over a period of one hundred years and the small band of medical pioneers who contributed to the beginnings of organized medicine in Texas.
- Nott, T. H. President’s address, delivered before the 19th session of the Texas State Medical Association. Waco, Texas: Brooks & Wallac, 1887.
Include the text of the address by T. H. Nott in 1887 regarding the protection of patients from quacks and fraudulent doctors.
- Singleton, Albert O. An Account of the Early History of Surgery in Texas. Galveston, Tex: Texas Surgical Society, 1932.
Presidential address given before the Texas Surgical Society, October 24, 1932 covering the early history of surgery in Texas, including the development of the specialty, early surgical procedures, the first medical associations and organizations, as well as discussions of notable Texas surgeons.
- Smith, Theobald (1859-1934). Investigations into the nature, causation, and prevention of Texas or southern cattle fever made under the direction of Dr. D.E. Salmon, chief of the bureau of animal industry. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1893.
This is a report on the nature, causation, and prevention of Texas cattle fever or the infection of cattle by ticks. Includes statistical tables and illustrations of red blood corpuscles infected by ticks.
- Texas Eclectic Medical Association. Constitution and by-laws of the Texas Eclectic Medical Association of the state of Texas. Honey Grove, Texas: Texas Citizen Steam Print, 1891.
This pamphlet contains the text of the Texas Eclectic Medical Association’s constitution and by-laws, including the purpose of the Association, membership information, election of officers, resolutions, ethics, and other rules and regulations.
Banner image: Charles Bell, from Essays on the anatomy of expression in painting.
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg – Inventor of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
When eating your breakfast cereal of corn flakes or granola, have you ever wondered who came up with the idea of manufacturing these foods? It might surprise you to know that they were invented by a 19th century physician and surgeon who was devoted to healthy living and the use of natural remedies.
John Harvey Kellogg grew up in Battle Creek, Michigan, the son of a family of small shopkeepers and devoted Seventh-Day Adventists. As a youth, he worked with James White, the principle founder of the church, to publish the Health Reformer, a monthly publication for Adventists. Many of the articles in the publication were on health and hygiene and advocated temperance, vegetarianism, and the use of natural remedies. In 1872 the Church sent him to study at the Hygieo-Therapeutic College in New Jersey. After 5 months, Kellogg enrolled at the University of Michigan Medical School and then at Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City. He received an MD in 1875 and later studied surgery in London and Vienna, qualified as a surgeon, and performed 22,000 operations during his career, which lasted until he was 88.
Kellogg became editor of Health Reformer in 1874, changing its name to Good Health in 1879, and serving as editor of the journal until his death in 1943. He also published 50 books on various aspects of healthy living and advocating vegetarianism; regular exercise; plenty of fresh air and sunshine; drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water a day; and abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee.
Battle Creek Sanitarium
In 1876 Dr. Kellogg became the superintendent of Western Health Reform Institute, a small medical institution of 20 patients run by the Adventists. By 1900, it had been renamed the Battle Creek Sanitarium, and was a health spa that promoted a vegetarian diet and forbid its guests from drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes. By 1920 it had expanded to 1200 patients, some of them prominent industrialists and politicians. Kellogg invented a range of exercise equipment for his patients and sought to improve the patients’ diet. He developed and patented a variety of new foods including Granola and Corn Flakes, peanut butter, soy milk, and imitation meats.
While a medical student in New York City in 1874-75, Kellogg became convinced there existed a widespread need for ready-cooked foods, at least ready-to-eat cereals. At the Sanitarium, he applied this idea in the production of Granola, which consisted of a mixture of oatmeal, corn meal and wheat meal made into cakes with water and exposed to a temperature sufficient to dextrinize the starch to make it more readily digestible. The product was ground to give it a granular form convenient to eat with milk, cream, or fruit juices. This product became the forerunner of several other similar products similarly dextrinizining the starch content of cereals. This was considered important as certain forms of indigestion were relieved by the use of dextrinized foods, although the reason then was not wholly clear. After trying granola at the sanitarium, many guests wanted to eat the cereal at home, so Kellogg established the Sanitas Food Company to make and sell the product. Dr. Kellogg had help running Sanitas from his younger brother Will Keith (W. K.) Kellogg.
Dr. Kellogg also became convinced that indigestion and decay of the teeth were encouraged to a marked degree by failure to use the teeth sufficiently in the thorough mastication of food. Accordingly, he made it a practice to require his patients to begin each meal by chewing slowly a small slice of dry zwieback. One day a patient came into the office complaining the zwieback had broken her teeth, making it apparent that zwieback as a dry food was impractical in several classes of patients – those with artificial teeth, with sore teeth or diseased gums, or without teeth. They needed something they could chew without running the risk of injury to their teeth or other inconvenience. Kellogg experimented with producing toasted or dextrinized cereals in a form which, while dry and crisp, could be properly offered to such persons without the addition of milk or cream, which would destroy the value of the dry food’s capability to stimulate an abundant flow of saliva. After some months, he developed the process for making toasted cereal flakes, which became widely used in the manufacture of toasted corn flakes, toasted rice flakes, wheat flakes, etc. Wheat flakes were produced first, quickly followed by toasted rice flakes and other cereal flakes.
Creation of W. K. Kellogg Company
By 1905, the Sanitas company was also selling corn flakes, producing 150 cases a day. Sanitas had more than forty competitors by then, as other cereal companies sprang up in Battle Creek. One of Dr. Kellogg’s patients at the Sanitarium was C. W. Post, who later started his own cereal company. Kellogg claimed that Post stole his formula for the corn flakes. Kellogg’s brother wanted to expand the business even more, but Dr. Kellogg disagreed and also disagreed about adding sugar to the cereals. They ended up starting two different companies when Will left the Sanitarium and started the W. K. Kellogg Company in 1906. With a commitment to advertise heavily, Kellogg first sold his flakes under the Sanitas name. On the box was the slogan “The original bears this signature,” followed by “W. K. Kellogg” in Kellogg’s handwriting. Within a year, Kellogg’s name replaced Sanitas on the box, and sales were climbing. Kellogg’s success caught his brother’s attention. In 1908, Dr. Kellogg changed the name of his own food company to the Kellogg Food Company and began selling corn flakes overseas in packages similar to those his brother used. Business dealing between the two brothers, based on W. K. Kellogg’s ties to Sanitas, also strained their relationship. In 1910, Kellogg sued his older brother; the court case dragged on for years. In the end, Kellogg won his suit, although he and Dr. Kellogg rarely spoke again for the rest of their lives. Some of the profits of the W. K. Kellogg company flowed into the Race Betterment Foundation, created in 1914 to publicize and promote eugenics, then later into the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.
Books in the Nixon Library
The P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library owns several books by John Harvey Kellogg. Plain Facts for Old and Young, published in 1879, called attention to the great prevalence of sexual excesses of all kinds, the heinous crimes resulting from some forms of sexual transgression, and the terrible results following the violation of sexual law and had chapters specifically for boys and for girls. It reflected his advocation of sexual abstinence and his severe views on masturbation. Rational Hydrotherapy, published in 1900, described the history of the use of hydrotherapy and a resume of the physical, anatomical, and physiological facts related to its use. It also illustrated and described 200 different hydrothermic procedures and provided a summary of diseases benefited by their application. Light Therapeutics provided a practical manual in the use of the electric light bath in the treatment of disease. The New Dietetics: What to Eat and How, published in 1921, was written to present the known facts at the time relating to human nutrition for the service of “the physician, the trained nurse, the intelligent housewife, and to every student of nutrition, as well as to the professional dietitian.”
Come to the Nixon Library to read Dr. Kellogg’s books to find out more about his theories on nutrition and natural remedies.
“Harvey Kellogg, MD – Health Reformer and Antismoking Crusader,” Am. J. Public Health: 92(6): 935, June 2002.
“Kellogg Company,” Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd ed., Reference for Business. http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/businesses/G-L/Kellogg-Company.html. Accessed 5/19/2014.
“W. K. Kellogg,” Reference for Business – Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd ed. http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/businesses/G-L/Kellogg-W-K.html. Accessed 5/19/2014.
“Breakfast Cereals,” in Cereals section. John Harvey Kellogg. The New Dietetics: What to Eat and How. Battle Creek, Michigan, The Modern Medicine Publishing Co., 1921, pp. 256-258
“John Harvey Kellogg,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Harvey_Kellogg , accessed 5/19/2014.
All the photographs in this post are in the public domain and were retrieved from Wikipedia Commons.
Dr. Mario E. Ramirez – Biography of a Doctor
As a young physician who returned to his home community to practice medicine, Dr. Mario E. Ramirez played a pivotal role in bringing formal health care to Starr County. Located in the western edge of the Rio Grande Valley, Starr County is bordered by Hidalgo County (McAllen) Jim Hogg County (Hebbronville) to the north, and Zapata County (Zapata) to the west. The Rio Grande River serves as its boundary with Mexico to the south.
In 1950, following his residency, Dr. Ramirez established the first family practice clinic in Roma, Texas. Soon after in 1958, he established the first hospital in Roma to better serve the needs of the patients in his family practice clinic. Named after his grandfather, The Manuel Ramirez Memorial Clinic and Hospital operated until 1975. Physicians, surgeons and other specialists traveled to Roma on a regular basis to meet the needs of patients who could not travel to a larger city for health care. Previously, the only hospitals had been 55 miles to the east in McAllen or 90 miles to the west in Laredo. On February 15, 1975, the day the Ramirez Hospital closed its doors in Roma, the Starr County Memorial Hospital opened in Rio Grande City. As Starr County Judge, Dr. Ramirez was instrumental in managing the construction of a new, modern hospital, and helped to create a hospital taxation district to support its operation.
During his career, Dr. Ramirez made it his goal to bring the needs of medically underserved Texans to the attention of several United States presidents, and numerous state and federal medical organizations. To accomplish this, Dr. Ramirez held numerous key positions in his profession, and was honored for his work by Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush. In 1989, Governor Bill Clements appointed Dr. Ramirez to a term on the University of Texas System Board of Regents where he served until 1995.
Motivated by the professional isolation he experienced as a country doctor and the severe shortage of health professionals in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Dr. Ramirez proposed the creation of the Med-Ed Program during his tenure as UT Health Science Center Vice President for South Texas Programs. In the latter part of his career, Dr. Ramirez established and nurtured the Med-Ed Program. This program has inspired more than 2,200 students in the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo with the message that college and health science careers are attainable. In 2007 Dr. Ramirez celebrated his retirement from the UT Health Science Center, where Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, former President of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, spoke of the significance of Dr. Ramirez’s contributions to the advancement of medical education in South Texas, calling him “one of the greatest heroes that Texas has produced.”
Founding Faculty Interviews
In 2010-2011, the University Development Office produced a series of video interviews with members of the Health Science Center’s Founding Faculty.
These important historical interviews have been deposited in the University Archives and are now available for download and online viewing through the Internet Archive at the pages linked below.
Dale Bennett, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Dale Bennett, MD, pathologist and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
William S. Blumenthal, MD – A video history interview with Dr. William S. Blumenthal, professor of physiology and internal medicine, and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Ivan L. Cameron, PhD – A video history interview with Dr. Ivan Cameron, researcher and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Anatolio B. Cruz, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Anatolio B. Cruz Jr., surgeon and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Marvin Forland, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Marvin Forland, a founding faculty member in at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Initially chief of the division of renal diseases in the department of medicine, Dr. Forland went on to serve as Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs for the School of Medicine until his retirement in 1999.
Samuel J. Friedberg, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Samuel J. Friedberg, surgeon and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
David S. Fuller, MD – A video history interview with Dr. David S. Fuller, psychiatrist and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Colette M. Kohler, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Colette M. Kohler, pediatric cardiologist and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Robert L. Leon, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Robert L. Leon, psychiatrist and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Arthur S. McFee, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Arthur McFee, professor of surgery and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Mrs. Iris McFee – A video history interview with Mrs. Iris McFee, a founding administrator of the Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Henry C. McGill Jr., MD – A video history interview with Dr. Henry C. McGill Jr., pathologist and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
F. Carter Pannill, MD – A video history interview with Dr. F. Carter Pannill, a founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and Dean of the Medical School from 1964-1972.
Mrs. Marie Pauerstein (wife of the late Dr. Carl J. Pauerstein) – A video history interview with Mrs. Marie Pauerstein about her late husband Dr. Carl J. Pauerstein, who was a founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Carlos Pestana, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Carlos Pestana, surgeon and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
James E. Pridgen, MD – A video history interview with Dr. James E. Pridgen, a surgeon who made valuable contributions to the early development of the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Charles A. Rockwood Jr., MD – A video history interview with Dr. Charles Rockwood Jr., orthopaedic surgeon and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Harlan Root, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Harlan Root, surgeon and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Saul Rosenthal, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Saul Rosenthal, founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Albert E. Sanders, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Albert E. Sanders, orthopaedic surgeon and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Jim L. Story, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Jim L. Story, founding head of neurosurgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Elliot Weser, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Elliot Weser, gastroenterologist and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Historical remembrances of Dr. Mario E. Ramirez, M.D.
Two interviews with Dr. Mario E. Ramirez, eminent South Texas physician. Dr. Ramirez established the first hospital in Starr County and later helped establish Starr County Memorial Hospital in 1975. Dr. Ramirez held many positions of leadership during his long and varied career, including Starr County Judge, U.T. System Board of Regents, and Vice President of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The Library at the Regional Academic Health Center at Harlingen has been named for Dr. Ramirez.
The following video interview (approximately 60 minutes) was recorded in 2011:
- View and download this interview at the Internet Archive
- Return to full list of Interviews on History and Health
The following audio interview (approximately 95 minutes) was recorded in 2007:
History of Medicine
The P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio houses approximately 5,000 rare and classic texts in the history of medicine, nursing, dentistry, and other health care disciplines, dating from the 15th to early 20th centuries.
The Health Science Center Libraries have begun to digitize selected works of unique historical importance from the Nixon Library. The Digital Archive’s History of Medicine Collection will host these works online for scholarly research, along with other historically relevant archive materials from the University and South Texas.
San Antonio physician and historian Dr. Pat Ireland Nixon lent his name to what is now a treasure-trove of antiquarian texts, dating from the 15th to the early 20th century. Ophthalmology, surgery, and anatomy are particular strengths of the Nixon Library. Originally donated to the Health Science Center in the early 1970s by the Bexar County Medical Society, the superb core collection has expanded to contain close to 5000 volumes of treasured medical texts. Over the years, the library has endeavored to identify and digitize works from this collection that are of particular historical value, to make them available to the public online.
A collection of photographs documenting the aftermath of Hurricane Beulah, which made landfall near the mouth of the Rio Grande River as a Category 3 hurricane on September 20, 1967. Hurricane Beulah caused extensive damage across South Texas, and left 10,000 refugees stranded for several weeks. Dr. Mario E. Ramirez was the only physician in the area, and was instrumental in the initial recovery process. The Hurricane Beulah project documents the people, and places that were damaged.
A collection of historic membership applications and photographs of physicians of the Bexar County Medical Society born 1910 and earlier. Original materials are available in the University Archives.
This collection features photographs, personal writings, and oral histories on the life of Dr. P. I. Nixon, a prominent San Antonio physician and historian of Texas medicine. Materials featured are available in the University Archives.
This collection features a number of important audio and video interviews, lectures and presentations on the history of medicine and healthcare that have been collected in the University Archives of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. This project aims to digitize these talks and make them available for download and online viewing or listening.
Banner Image: “Anatomy Studies”Anatomia chirurgica, cile istoria anatomica dell’ossa, emuscoli del corpo umano, Bernardino Genga, 1687.