UT Health Science Center San Antonio

Guide to the George Graham Watts (1851 - 1945) Papers



Descriptive Summary and Abstract

Creator Bexar County Medical Society
Title: Guide to the George Graham Watts, 1851-1945 Papers
Inclusive dates: 1881 - 1940
Abstract: George Graham Watts was a pioneer physician from England who practiced in Texas from 1882 until his death in 1945. The George Graham Watts Papers include a copy of a news clipping celebrating his 93rd birthday in 1940, a paper in German dated 23 December 1881 from Bonn attesting to his qualifications, the envelope for his registration with the Bexar County Clerk’s office in 1882, and two 1903 letters from the Board of Medical Examiners for the State of Texas.
Identification: MS 200
Extent: 1 folder, 5 items
Language: Materials are in written in English and German.
Repository University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, UTHSC Libraries, University Archives, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900

Biographical Note

George Graham Watts was born Feb. 4, 1851, in London, England, the son of Edward Rafael and Maria (Swinney) Watts. His father was Scotch and his mother was Welsh. He received his M.A. degree from Cheltenham College then obtained his medical education at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and Bonn University, Germany, where he graduated in 1881. After graduation he served for one year as an assistant obstetrician and gynecologist in Bonn University then lived and practiced in Nice, France, until coming to the United States in 1882. He located in San Antonio, Texas, which was his home for the remainder of his professional career. He obtained his certificate of qualification to practice medicine and had it recorded in the proper county clerk’s office, as required by state law then in force. He neglected to afterwards have it recorded in the district clerk’s office as required by an amended law in 1887, resulting in the loss of a court case in 1901 asking for payment for his professional services. A subsequent law passed earlier in 1901 but not going into effect until after the services were rendered had exempted him from having to do so.

Dr. Watts was a charter member of the Bexar County Medical Association and then the Bexar County Medical Society when it organized in 1904. He was a member of both the Texas State Medical Association, where he was elected an honorary member in 1926, and the American Medical Association. He was also a member of the West Texas Medical Society.

Dr. Watts was an ambulance driver in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, served as Assistant Surgeon at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio during the Spanish-American War, and served in the Surgeon’s Office at Fort Sam Houston during World War I. When he arrived in San Antonio in 1882, it had a population of 17,000. He helped establish the San Antonio Infirmary in 1895 and the Physicians and Surgeons Hospital in 1903. He was extremely interested in medical research and worked with Dr. Charles A. R. Campbell, who originated the bat roosts in San Antonio that were used in malaria research. He was a distinguished surgeon and also served as the physician for the Actors’ Guild of American in the San Antonio area, becoming acquainted with many famous actors and actresses. He kept a stable of horses and a pack of hunting dogs, and he flew his own plane while in his 80’s.

As quoted in a tribute to him at one of the Bexar County Medical Society meetings following his death, “Coming to San Antonio in 1882, he soon became one of the outstanding physicians of this area. His capacity for work and his incapacity for worry permitted him to live a useful and exciting life of 63 years as a medical practitioner in San Antonio. He was loyal to his friends in and out of the medical profession.”

Dr. Watts married Mary Kay on February 15, 1877, in St. Mary’s Parish, Middlesex, England. She died in 1908, and he died in 1945 at the age of 94. They had four children at the time of his death, Mrs. Marnard Turnbull, Dr. J. A. Watts, Hugh T. Watts, and Mason Watts.

Sources:

"Dr. George Graham Watts."Texas State Journal of Medicine, 41:278-279, Sept. 1945.

"Dr. George Graham Watts." Tribute presented at Bexar County Medical Society meeting in 1945.


Scope and Contents

The George Graham Watts Papers include a copy of a news clipping celebrating his 93 birthday in 1940, a paper in German dated 23 December 1881 from Bonn attesting to his qualifications, the envelope for his registration with the Bexar County Clerk’s office in 1882, and two letters from the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners in 1903 clarifying his status as a legal practitioner of medicine.


 

Arrangement of Collection

The papers are arranged in one folder within a box containing several other folders for other collections.

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.


Index Terms

Persons
Watts, George Graham, 1851-1945
Physicians – Texas
History of Medicine – Texas
Document Types
Correspondence
Certificates
News Clippings

Related Material

Large photograph of Dr. G. Graham Watts, date estimated 1882, in the John M. Smith, Jr. Collection, MS 26, University Archives, UTHSC Libraries, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Box MS 26*4.

G. Graham Watts Honorary membership record for Bexar County Medical Society and obituary clipped from the Texas State Journal of Medicine 1945 in the Bexar County Medical Society Records, AR 61, University Archives, UTHSC Libraries, The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. Box 61PA*16.

Tribute to Dr. George Graham Watts and eulogy for George Graham Watts, M.D. written by P. I. Nixon, in the Patrick Ireland Nixon (1883 - 1965) Collection, MS 1, University Archives, UTHSC Libraries, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Box MS 1*9.


Separated Material

Certified registration of Dr. G. G. Watts as physician qualified to practice medicine in Bexar County, dated July 31, 1882, in the John M. Smith, Jr. Collection, MS 26, University Archives, UTHSC Libraries, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Box MS 26*3.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], in the George Graham Watts Papers, MS 200, 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, August 2013.


Detailed Description of Collection

 
Item
1 "Happy Birthday." Article on Dr. G. Graham Watts from unidentified San Antonio newspaper, dated Feb. 4, 1940. News clipping.



 
Item
2 Paper in German with stamp of Gynaecologisches Klinisches Institut from Bonn attesting to his qualifications, dated 23 December 1881.



 
Item
3 Envelope for registration with the Bexar County Clerk’s office in 1882, signed by Thad W. Smith, Deputy Clerk, and with County Court of Bexar County Seal. Dated July 31, 1882.
Note: Location of the original document which was held by the envelope and was the actual certified registration of Dr. G. G. Watts as a physician qualified to practice medicine and signed by 3 physicians in San Antonio and by Sam S. Smith, Bexar County Clerk, is described in the Separated Material section.



 
Item
4 Letter from the Board of Medical Examiners for the State of Texas to Dr. F. Graham Watts stating he was a legal practitioner as his diploma was placed on record before January 1, 1891. Signed by M. M. Smith, Secretary of the Board and dated Nov. 17, 1903.



 
Item
5 Generic letter from the Board of Medical Examiners for the State of Texas stating an opinion of the Attorney General’s office that physicians practicing medicine upon permanent certificates legally obtained from District Medical Examining Boards and duly registered in the District Clerk’s office before July 9, 1901 are legal practitioners. Signed by M. M. Smith, Secretary of the Board. No date except year 1903.