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History of Tulane University School of Medicine
The Medical College of Louisiana, now Tulane University School of Medicine, was founded in 1834 by three young physicians: Dr. Thomas Hunt, Dr. John H. Harrison and Dr. Warren Stone.
The school opened in January 1835. The first lecture was delivered by Dr. Hunt in the Strangers Unitarian Church thanks to the kindness of Parson Theodore Clapp. Classes were taught in a variety of locations including Charity Hospital which predates the founding of the school by almost one hundred years. The first permanent home which the school occupied in 1844 was a substantial three story building on the corner of Philippa and Common Streets. Shortly after this, the Louisiana legislature established the University of Louisiana and the Medical College of Louisiana became known as the Medical Department of the University of Louisiana. In 1847 the Medical Department moved to a larger building on Common between Baronne and Philippa next to the original building and the Law Department took over the older building. The first picture shows the original building on the left and the newer one in the center and to the right.
In 1884, as a result of a large donation from Paul Tulane, the university's name was changed to Tulane University of Louisiana and it became a private institution again.
In 1893 the School of Medicine moved to the Richardson Building on Canal Street. It was named in honor of Tobias G. Richardson, Dean, 1865-1885, who had retired due to ill health. The money for the construction came from his wife, a wealthy woman in her own right.
In 1902 a generous bequest from Mr. Alexander Charles Hutchinson provided money for the the construction of several buildings on the main university campus and the renovation of the Richardson Building on Canal. This renovation resulted in the addition of the Hutchinson Clinics and the building was renamed the Josephine Hutchinson Memorial Building. In order to keep the tribute to former Dean Richardson alive at Tulane, one of the new buildings constructed on the University's Uptown campus became the new Richardson Memorial Building. Hutchinson's gift was especially welcome because the expansion of the medical school curriculum to a four year program required additional space. Consequently, from 1907 until 1963, the first and second year classes were taught in the Richardson Memorial Building uptown.
In 1930, the School of Medicine moved from the Hutchinson Memorial Building on Canal Street to the new Hutchinson Memorial Building on Tulane Avenue next to the old Charity Hospital. A magnificent bust of Aesculapius by noted New Orleans sculptress Angela Gregory greeted visitors from above the bronze doors of the main entrance. The addition in 1959 of the Libby Building at the rear of Hutchinson provided much needed space for more classrooms and labs as well as a parking garage, cafeteria, and bookstore.
First and second year classes continued to be taught uptown until the addition of the Burthe-Cottam Building in 1963 when all four years were finally reunited under one roof.
Today the Tulane University Health Sciences Center includes the School of Medicine, the School of Public
Health and Tropical Medicine and the National Primate Research Center.
For more information on the history of the medical center see:
Duffy, John. The Tulane University Medical Center : One Hundred and Fifty Years of Medical Education. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. WZ 24 T84du 1984
Fossier, A.E. History of medical education in New Orleans, from its birth to the Civil War. New York : Hoeber, [1935?] Original pamphlet. Reprinted from: Annals of Medical History, 6(5):427-447 1935. (In PDF Format)
Catalogue of the Alumni, 1834 to 1901 Inclusive, of the Medical Department of the Tulane University of Louisiana. Historical Summary. (In PDF Format)
Alphabetical List of all Graduates in Medicine and Pharmacy, 1834 to 1901. (In PDF Format)
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