Paul Eve Biographical File

Summary Information

Eve, Paul (1806-1877)
VUMC Historical Images and Biographies
Paul Eve Biographical File
Date [inclusive]
1896 - 1995
1.0 Cubic feet
Biographical file includes photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, published articles, correspondence, scientific articles, and obituaries.

Preferred Citation

Eve, Paul (1806-1877). Eskind Biomedical Library Special Collections, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN.

Return to Table of Contents »

Historical or Biographical Note

Dr. Paul F. Eve was the greatest of Tennessee's nineteenth century surgeons. Born on a rice plantation near Augusta, Georgia, Eve received his undergraduate education from Franklin College and his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1828. After graduation, he decided that he wanted to be a surgeon. To realize this goal, he went to Europe in 1829 and studied with the most prominenet surgeons of the day in London and Paris. His surgical mentors included Larrey, Dupuytren, Roux, Lesfranc, Cruveilhier, Velpeau, Astley Cooper, and others. In 1831 he served with the Polish Army as surgeon during the revolution in that country, and Poland awarded Dr. Eve the Golden Cross of Honor for his services. Eve was involved in four military adventures throughout his career: the three-day war in France (1830); the Polish Revolution (1831); the Mexican War (1848); and the American Civil War.

Back in the United States in 1832, Eve was elected Professor of Surgery in the Medical College of Georgia, just then organized in Augusta, and taught there for 17 years. In 1851, Eve became Professor of Surgery in the newly organized Medical School of the University of Nashville. He served as President of the American Medical Association in 1857-58.

Paul Eve was 55 years old and teaching in Nashville when the Civil War began, and he served tirelessly from beginning to end. In 1861, before Tennnessee had seceded, Eve was appointed Surgeon General of a provisional Army of Tennessee. He worked in Nashville hospitals, treating casualties, until Forts Henry and Donelson fell in February 1862. He fled Nashville on February 16th, taking his surgical instruments with him. Six days later he was Commander and Surgeon of the Gate-City Hospital in Atlanta. This hospital was located in a second-rate hotel of 32 rooms and was constantly overcrowded with patients. In spite of difficult conditions, Eve was able to treat and return to duty a high percentage of casualties.

As a surgeon, Eve was best known for performing lithotomies. In his lifetime he performed 238 lithotomies with a mortality of only 8 percent. Eve was an all-around surgeon of international recognition. At a time when most surgeons lost many patients, he had a remarkably low mortality rate due to his preoperative preparation of the patient and his gentle handling of tissue.

Wherever he worked, Paul Eve gathered skills and invented procedures that he later taught to many medical students. In 1857 he published "A Collection of Remarkable Cases in Surgery" a 823 page text re-counting many of hismost important surgical operations. The distinguished physician/adventurer died in his Nashville home on November 3, 1877.

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 Eskind Biomedical Library Special Collections.

Return to Table of Contents »

Subject Headings

Other Keywords - Digital Library Subjects

  • Military Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Tennessee History

Return to Table of Contents »