William Crawford Gorgas Biographical File

Summary Information

VUMC Historical Images and Biographies
William Crawford Gorgas Biographical File
Date [inclusive]
1921 - 1947
0.0 Cubic feet
Biographical file contains a book on Gorgas' contributions to the creation of the Panama Canal, a booklet from the Memorial Services held in honor of Gorgas by the Southern Society of Washington D.C., an invitation to his memorial service, and a postcard featuring the Gorgas Home.

Preferred Citation

Gorgas, William Crawford (1854-1920). Eskind Biomedical Library Special Collections, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN.

Return to Table of Contents »

Historical or Biographical Note

William Crawford Gorgas was a United States physician and 22nd Surgeon General of the U.S. Army (19141918). After studying at The University of the South and Bellevue Hospital Medical College, Doctor Gorgas was appointed to the US Army Medical Corps in June 1880. Gorgas was assigned to three posts -- Fort Clark, Fort Duncan, and Fort Brown -- in Texas. While at Fort Brown (188284), he survived yellow fever. In 1898, after the end of the Spanish-American War, Gorgas was appointed Chief Sanitary Officer in Havana, working to eradicate yellow fever and malaria.

Gorgas was made Surgeon General of the Army in 1914, in which position he was able to capitalize on the momentous work of two other doctors to prove the mosquito transmission of yellow fever. As such, Gorgas won international fame battling the illness-first in Florida, later in Havana, Cuba, and finally at the Panama Canal.

As chief sanitary officer on the canal project, Gorgas implemented far-reaching sanitary programs including the draining of ponds and swamps, fumigation, mosquito netting, and public water systems. These measures were instrumental in permitting the construction of the Panama Canal, as they significantly prevented illness due to yellow fever and malaria (which had also been shown to be transmitted by mosquitoes in 1898) among the thousands of workers involved in the building project.

Return to Table of Contents »

Administrative Information

Notes about Access to this Collection

All collections are subject to applicable VUMC privacy and confidentiality policies.

Reproduction Rights

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

Return to Table of Contents »

Subject Headings

Other Keywords - Digital Library Subjects

  • Epidemiology/Public Health
  • Military Medicine
  • Preventive Medicine

Return to Table of Contents »