Southwestern Medical College — 1944

southwestern-medical-college_1944 yrbk_students_dr-w-w-looney_anatomySouthwestern Medical College students in anatomy class…

by Paula Bosse

Decades before the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School was an internationally renowned institution, its precursor — the scrappy little Southwestern Medical College — opened its pre-fabricated doors to students in 1943 in temporary buildings on the Parkland Hospital grounds.

To read an in-depth history of UTSW, see their website. But, briefly, there had been medical schools in Dallas in the past (including the Dallas Medical College at the turn of the century), but by the time World War II had arrived, the Baylor University college of medicine (located on the campus of Baylor Hospital in East Dallas) was it, and many medical professionals at the time considered it to be lacking in facilities, equipment, and enthusiastic financial support. The Southwestern Medical Foundation was organized in 1939 by Dr. Edward H. Cary who, along with other Dallas civic leaders, spent many years working tirelessly to see his vision of not just a medical school, but of an entire sprawling medical center (hospitals, clinics, schools, research labs, etc.) finally built on a 36-acre tract of land, centered around Harry Hines and Inwood.

By 1943, the Foundation had plans drawn up and had been assured of support from the city and, more importantly, funding. They also hired the entire faculty of the Baylor medical and dental schools and attracted most of their students. They hoped to work with Baylor University as a partner in their grand medical center, but Baylor dropped out of negotiations when the Foundation insisted the new school would be non-sectarian. The Baptist university decided, instead, to leave Dallas for Houston, at the invitation of the M. D. Anderson Foundation.

The new Southwestern Medical College opened in 1943 in a handful of  temporary buildings built on the Parkland campus — they also utilized other nearby buildings in this first year, and lectures were often conducted in various Dallas hospitals and clinics. 

These photos are from 1943-1944, the college’s first year and the humble beginnings of what just grew and grew and grew into a huge medical center and one of the world’s most respected medical research institutions.

Below, the epicenter! (Click photos to see larger images.)

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Don’t know exactly where this was, but this is the very appealing Medical Library:

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The Department of Medical Art and Visual Education, a building which was probably at 3802 Maple Avenue, across from Parkland Hospital:

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A man in a white coat is seen walking toward the rows of temporary pre-fab buildings:

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Below, Dr. E. H. Cary, the man who was the driving force behind the school and the vision which has now become UTSW (he was also a professor of ophthalmology at the new college):

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The first yearbook was dedicated to Dr. Cary:

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The dean was Dr. Tinsley R. Harrison:

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One of the only women instructors at the new college was Dr. Gladys Fashena, who had a long career in Dallas. (See her in WFAA news footage from 1969 when she was a director at Children’s Medical Center — pertinent footage begins at the 6:49 mark.) There were a few female students, but very few. One can be seen in the top photo, the caption of which reads “Dr. W. W. Looney quizzes a group of freshmen on the mysteries of cross-section anatomy.”

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Here is Dr. Herbert C. Tidwell teaching a biochemistry class:

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Students attending a pathology lecture by Dr. George T. Caldwell:

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“Sophomores examine pathological tissues under the microscope”:

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Students pouring things:

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When the first year began, the U.S. was deep into WWII. Most students would be headed to military service after graduation (which was accelerated in order to get more medical professionals into the pipeline). “Upperclassmen wait for ward rounds”:

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The great vision of “The Greater Medical Center” (architect, George Dahl, 1943):

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A little backstory: 

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The Foreword: “In this, the first Caduceus, an attempt has been made to record in words and pictures the acts and thoughts of both students and faculty who have made possible the birth of a medical college, which in the future will be the symbol of medical education, research and knowledge in the Southwest” (1944):

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dr-e-h-cary_president_southwestern-medical-college_1944-yrbkDr. Edward H. Cary

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Sources & Notes

All images are from the 1944 edition Caduceus, the yearbook of Southwestern Medical College.

Below, an early photo from Wikipedia

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More Flashback Dallas posts tagged as “Medical” can be found here.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.