Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary and Abstract

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement of Collection

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series 1. Biographical Materials and Bibliography

Series 2. Articles and Essays

Series 3. Correspondence and Miscellaneous Documents

UT Health Science Center San Antonio

Guide to the Witten Booth Russ Papers



Descriptive Summary and Abstract

Creator Russ, Witten Booth, 1874-1964
Title: Witten Booth Russ Papers
Inclusive dates: 1906 - 1965
Abstract: San Antonio physician, lecturer, and writer, Dr. Witten Booth Russ began medical practice in San Antonio in 1903 and was one of the organizers of the Physicians and Surgeons Hospital, now part of the Baptist Memorial Hospital. He was also one of the organizers of the Texas State Medical Association and served as its president. Dr. Russ was largely responsible for enactment of State laws creating a State Board of Health, of which he was later a member. He was also instrumental in the adoption of the Medical Practice Act, the Anatomical Law, and the Pure Food and Drug Act. Between 1901 and 1944, Dr. Russ prepared and presented 27 medical papers and speeches, and in 1952 published his book, "A Doctor Looks at Life".
Identification: MS 4
Extent: ca. 144 items
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, UTHSC Libraries, University Archives, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900

Biographical Note

Witten Booth Russ was born in Kingston, Louisiana, on September 18, 1874. He was the oldest of seven children and moved with his family to San Antonio in 1890. He was educated by private tutors, attended the Old San Antonio Academy and then took pre-med training at the University of Texas. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1898.

Russ began his medical practice in San Antonio in 1901 starting as a general practitioner. He later limited his practice to surgery and became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. During World War I, Dr. Russ was a major in the Army Medical Reserve Corp assigned as medical aide to the Texas governor and later serving on active duty as chief of the surgical service of Camp Wheeler, GA. He served in World War II as senior public health officer and regional medical director of the Civilian Defense Office.

Dr. Russ was widely known for his wit and pungent remarks and gave talks to over 100 Rotary Clubs. He was the author of many medical articles, preparing and presenting 27 medical papers and speeches between 1901 and 1944. He published one book in 1952, “A Doctor Looks at Life,” a collection of his essays, letters, and speeches on politics, religion, and many phases of the medical profession.

In 1903 he was one of the principals in founding the Old Physicians and Surgeons Hospital, which became part of the Baptist Memorial Hospital. He was one of the organizers of the International Medical Assembly of Southwest Texas, and he was also one of the organizers of the Texas State Medical Association and served as its president in 1909. He also served as president of the Bexar County Medical Society in 1904.

He was largely responsible for enactment of state laws creating a State Board of Medical Examiners and setting up a State Board of Health, of which he was later a member. He was also instrumental in the adoption of the Medical Practice Act, the Anatomical Law, the Tuberculosis Sanitorium Law and the Pure Food and Drug Act.

Dr. Russ was one of San Antonio’s oldest practicing physicians at the age of 90. In a 1963 article in the San Antonio Express newspaper, he is quoted as saying his key philosophy through the decades could be summed up as “obstacles develop character and happiness is service to others.” He died November 1964.

Sources:

"Dr. W. B. Russ," Texas State Journal of Medicine 61:159, February 1965.

"Doctors’ Week Scheduled" San Antonio Express, March 24, 1963.

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Scope and Contents

The Witten Booth Russ Papers span the years 1906 to 1965 and include biographical materials, including articles published in the Texas State Journal of Medicine and San Antonio newspapers and a photograph. Correspondence includes letters regarding Dr. Russ' review article on appendicostomy, his opposition to the policies of the New Deal, and miscellaneous other correspondence. Writings include articles published in medical journals or delivered at medical meetings, essays, and speeches to other groups.

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Arrangement of Collection

Records are organized in 1 box in 3 series as follows:
Series 1: Biographical Materials and Bibliography
Series 2: Articles and Essays
Series 3: Correspondence and Miscellaneous Documents

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use. Materials may be viewed in the reading room of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, located on the 5th floor of the Briscoe Library at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Use Restrictions

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Physical Access

Some materials are very brittle or torn on the edges and may require an electronic copy or photocopy for use.

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Index Terms

Persons
Russ, Witten Booth
Organizations
Texas State Medical Association
San Antonio Health Department
Subjects
Physicians – Texas
History of Medicine – Texas
Document Types
Correspondence
News Clippings
Reprints
Photographs

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], in the Witten Booth Russ Papers, MS 4, University Archives, UTHSC Libraries, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Provenance

Materials in this collection were donated in 1970 to the library of the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio by the Bexar County Medical Society.

Collection History

Received as part of a donation of manuscripts and historical books from the Bexar County Medical Society Library in 1970.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by: Anne Comeaux, October 2011.

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Detailed Description of Collection

 

Series 1. Biographical Materials and Bibliography

Box-Folder Item
MS 4-1 1 “Witten Booth Ross 1874 – 1964.” Typewritten paper, source unknown.
2 “Bibliography Witten B. Russ.” Typewritten paper.
3 Handwritten bibliography of articles by Russ, W.B.
4 “Dr. W. B. Russ. About the Portrait in the main lobby at Baptist Memorial Hospital, San Antonio, Texas.” Brochure.
5 Photograph of Witten Booth Ross signed “To my very dear friend Doctor Pat Nixon. W. B. Russ.” Original and copy.
6 “Gift Honors S. A. Doctor,” San Antonio Light, October 9, 1963. Newspaper clipping.
7 “Honors to Doctor,” March 23, 1963. Newspaper clipping.
8 “Doctors’ Week Scheduled,” San Antonio Express, March 24, 1963. Newspaper clipping.
9 “Men Shirking Their Duties, Dr. Russ Says.” Newspaper clipping.
10 “Dr. W. B. Russ,” Texas State Journal of Medicine 61:159, February 1965. ” Photocopy.
This material was added during creation of finding aid for papers in October 2011.

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Series 2. Articles and Essays

Box-Folder Item
MS 4-2 1 Excerpt from letter to B. S. from La Jolla, California, from W. B. Russ, M.D., dated April 1, 1946.
2 “Isiah’s Warning.” Essay re unnecessary surgery, problems with hospitals, problems with nursing training
3 Essay entitled “To a Clergyman.”
4 Excerpt re old age from letter to C.D.L. dated October 5, 1955.
5 Essay entitled “They Shall Not Die in Peace.”
6 Baccalaureate address to the graduates in medicine, dentistry and nursing, class of 1936, Baylor University.
7 Excerpt from letter to R.S., dated May 3, 1950.
8 Note to Dr. K. J.
9 Excerpt from letter to G.H.S., dated May 8, 1946.
10 The “Farewell” State. Excerpt dated May 8, 1946.
11 “Some Menaces to the Public Health,” Texas State Journal of Medicine, Feb. 1928.
12 Letter to Dr. Chauncey D. Leake, Dean UT Medical School at Galveston, from W. B. Russ, M.D., dated June 18, 1946.
13 Excerpt: Letter to C.D.L. dated June 18, 1946.
14 Excerpt from letter to S E Thompson, dated April 2, 1947.
15 Essay dated March 13, 1947.
16 “The Danger That Lies in Peace,” dated 1944.
17 Excerpt – Letter to Lt. A. P. – June 6, 1942.
18 Excerpt letter A.P. June 6, 1942.
19 “The End of the Road,” New Year, 1946.
20 “1940 Version of the Gettysburg Address,” from The Yellow Jacket. (Re Roosevelt and the New Deal).
21 “What’s My Name?” Essay about F. D. Roosevelt.
22 Letter to S.E.R., dated April 30, 1945.
23 Tuberculosis Death Rates in San Antonio.
Contains chart showing rates from 1912 to 1948.
24 Excerpt from letter to F.M.L. – London, 1926.
25 Essay on socialized medicine.
26 “!The Clean Sweep!” Information on DDT aerial spraying campaign of San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Public Health Committee, June 2, 1949.
27 Speech prepared for American Rally at Municipal Auditorium on June 21, 1940 during World War II but never delived as Dr. Russ did not attend.
28 “Service – A Philosopy of Success.” Baccalaureat address to the graduates of the College of Medicine, the College of Dentistry, and the School of Nursing of Baylor University, Dallas, Texas, June 1, 1936.
29 “Medical Practice and the New Deal.”
30 “Summary of speech by Dr. W. B. Russ before the San Antonio Rotary Club, September 24th, 1943,” by E. Riley Wyatt.
31 Address in Commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of the Birth of Moses Maimonides, delivered at Tempel Beth-El, San Antonio, Texas, April 12, 1935.
32 “Recruiting Invalids.”
33 “Don’t Frighten the Customers,” 6-21-50.
34 “Note – Back from California.”
35 “An argument against the separate or sectarian medical examining board system, from the standpoint of the regular or non-sectarian school of medicine.” Prepared for the legislator by WBR, 1906.
36 Letter to H.T. dated July 24, 1947.
37 Excerpt from letter to Rev. A. V. B. dated May 1, 1947.
38 Excerpt from letter to H., dated July 31, 1950.
39 “The Death Rate is Too Low.” Excerpt
40 “Some Doctors Too Modern.”
41 “Psychiatry Should Lead.”
42 “Old Age and Sin.”
43 “Foolish Prayers.” Dated 4-14-49.
44 “Apology for Sin. Comfort for the Victims or Colitis and Conscience.” Dated 8-12-47.
45 Letter to Bennie, dated January 11, 1949.
46 Letter to L. A. from La Jolla dated August, 1950.
47 Excerpt from letter to H T. dated 7/24/47.
48 “Funerals.”
49 “La Jolla 1947.”
50 Excerpt letter to Rev. A.V.B., dated May 1, 1947.
51 Excerpt from letter to F. M. L., London, August 20, 1926
52 Letter to Dr. G. V. Brindley, dated May 24, 1955.
53 “Foolish Prayers.”
54 “The World Needs Sinners as Well as Saints.” March 1950.
55 Letter to G. Henry Shoaf, December 28, 1949.
56 Letter to H. D. S., December 11, 1947.
57 “Notes on La Jolla,” 1947-48
58 “Speech before Rotary Club 3/26/1946.”
59 Essay on religion dated 5/17/46.
60 Letter to George Henry Shoaf, December 21, 1948.
61 “Human Beings Are Like That.” 1/19/49.
62 “Beware the Truth.”
Box-Folder Item
MS 4-3 1 “Appendicostomy.” Read before the Section on Surgery, State Medical Association of Texas, Corpus Christi, May 13, 1908. Reprinted from the Texas State Journal of Medicine. 2 copies.
2 “President’s Annual Address – the Old and the New State Association.” Presented to the State Medical Association of Texas, May 10, 1910. Reprinted from the Texas State Journal of Medicine. 2 copies.
3 “Appendicostomy, with a review of the literature and report of cases,” Texas State Journal of Medicine, August 1909. 2 copies.
4 “Disappointments after surgical treatment of chronic peptic ulcer,” Texas State Journal of Medicine, Sept. 1922.
5 “The need for more intelligent cooperation between the internist and the surgeon in the treatment of chronic peptic ulcer,” Texas State Journal of Medicine, February 1926. 2 copies.
6 “The maintenance of pregnancy in the human after removal of both ovaries,” Annals of Surgery 3:871-873, May 1940.
7 “Strangulated hernia through the Foramen of Winslow,” Texas State Journal of Medicine, October 1932. 2 copies.
8 “The spastic colon from a surgical standpoint,” Texas State Journal of Medicine, January 1929.
9 “Neurogenic factor in chronic peptic ulcer,” The Journal of the American Medical Association, 98:1618-1619, Nov. 28, 1931.
10 “The value of nonprofit blood banks for civilian use; as planned by the office of civilian defense,” Annals of Surgery 119:603-606, April 1944.
11 Russ, Major Stirling E. and Captain John S. Gaynor. “Spontaneous rupture of a malarial spleen,” Journal of the American Medical Association 127:758, March 31, 1945.
12 “Some observations on chronic gastric and duodenal ulcers,” Texas State Journal of Medicine, March 1921.
13 “Pemphigus, with a report of a case of pemphigus foliaceus involving the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract,” American Medicine, May 15, 1902.
14 “Chronic intestinal stasis with infection from a surgical point of view,” The Journal of the American Medical Association 65:768-770, Aug. 28, 1915. 3 copies.
15 “Medical Practice and the New Deal,” republished by National Committee of Physicians for Wendell L. Wilkie for President.
Box-Folder Item
MS 4-4 1-16 Collection of reprints of articles not written by Russ but used in his writing. Includes articles on intra-abdominal hernias and their repair, appendicostomy, and several other topics.

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Series 3. Correspondence and Miscellaneous Documents

All correspondence in folder MS 4-5 deals with Dr. Russ' appendicostomy review article.
Box-Folder Item
MS 4-5 1 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ dated 2/7/1908, signature illegible.
2 Abstracts of references to articles on appendicostomy.
3 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from Franklin H. Martin dated 2/6/1908.
4 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from Dr. James P. Tuttle dated 2/8/1908.
5 Letter from Samuel G. Gant, M.D. dated 2/17/1908.
6 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from Frank P. Foster, M.D., The Medical Authors’ and Publishers’ Exchange, dated 2/16/1909.
7 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from Dr. Willy Meyer dated 2/17/1908.
8 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from Dr. Stuart McGuire dated 3/9/1909.
9 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from Dr. Charles A. Pfender dated 3/20/1909.
10 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from Lieut. Col. Wm. H. Arthur, 3/29/1909.
11 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from London, signature illegible, dated July 18.
12 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from Robert Deer dated 9/27/1909.
13 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from Ancon, Canal Zone, signature illegible, dated 10/1/1909.
14 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ, signature illegible, protesting writer is the first surgeon to perform appendicostomy to treat obstinate constipation, dated 10/8/1909.
15 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from Dr. Gillinptni, dated 10/9/1909.
16 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from J. B. Murphy dated 10/18/1909.
17 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from Dr. Arthur Dean Bevan dated 11/13/1909.
18 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from Dr. Alfred Stengel.
19 Letter to Dr. King Rand from Mrs. L. E. Shumard dated 7/22/1912
20 Letter to Dr. K. Rand from R. F. Weer dated 7/22/1912
21 Letter to Dr. K. Rand from Willy Meyer dated 7/22/1912.
22 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from Dr. A. E. Rockey dated 7/24/1912.
23 Letter to Dr. King Rang from Dr. D. Gillinptni dated July 31, 1912.
24 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from Dr. William Beunete dated 8/5/1912.
Box-Folder Item
MS 4-6 1 Activities of the San Antonio City Health Department during 1948 and Plans for the Future. Submitted by Austin E. Hill, M.D., M.P.H., Director of Public Health.
2 Note from W. B. Russ dated 7/28/1974 re paying for telegrams to 8 doctors and phoning them.
3 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from Holman Taylor, M.D. 7/23/1947
4 Letter to Dr. L. H. Reeves from Dr. W. B. Russ dated 1/6/1954
5 Letter to Russ from Dr. Walter L. Denny dated 10/21/1940.
6 Letter to Dr. Arthur McCormack from W. B. Russ, M.D. dated 10/17/1940.
7 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ from Geo. W. Cox, M.D., State Health Officer re Neal Lodge health conditions, dated 8/6/1949.
8 Letter to Dr. Hugh Young from W. B. Russ, M.D. dated 10/17/1940.
9 Letter to Dr. W. B. Russ Dr. Merton M. Minter dated 2/4/1944.
10 Letter to Dr. R. R. Ross from W. B. Russ dated 5/14/1931.
11 Letter to Dr. R. R. Ross from Louise Simon dated 5/14/1931.
12 Letter to Mrs. Nathalie C. Grum from W. B. Russ dated 5/25/1955.
13 Letter to Dr. Russ from Bob, dated 11/4/1949.
14 Letter to Rob’t U. Patterson, M.D. from W. B. Russ, M.D. dated 2/8/1940.
15 Letter to Dr. Witten B. Russ from Robert Paterson dated 2/6/1940.
16 Corrals and Tenements Ordinance. City of San Antonio.

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