College of Physicians and Surgeons of Little Rock
Little Rock, Arkansas
The Arkansas Gazette covered some school activities. Both University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Library Historical Research Center and Butler Center for Arkansas Studies have archival materials. The Flexner Report evaluated school facilities and practices.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons was medical society, founded in Little Rock in 1873. In 1906 nineteen members of the society purchased property for a hospital and medical school, which opened in September of that year. The new school competed with the existing Medical Department of the University of Arkansas—also in Little Rock.
The four-year program graduated 7 in 1907, 15 in 1908, and 14 in 1909. By 1910 that number had grown to 29 and then to 42 in 1911. A Department of Pharmacy was added in 1908. Advertised as “the only College of Pharmacy in Arkansas,” it graduated five students in 1911. A training school for nurses operated in conjunction with the medical school, also graduating five in 1911.
Flexner lists enrollment as 81 in 1909; however, the Superintendent’s Report shows 126 in 1910. Flexner lists 25 professors on the faculty.
The Flexner Report was not kind to College of Physicians and Surgeons. It found the facilities inadequate with “very disorderly” laboratories, a “wretched” dissecting room, and a total absence of “necessary illustrative paraphernalia” such as books, charts and a museum. It noted that the single director of the labs also served as the county pathologist with offices three miles away.
The report also criticized the clinical opportunities for students. Patients from the CP&S hospital were brought to the amphitheater, so students never did ward rounds. The students were seldom-- if ever--brought into contact with obstetrical or acute medical cases, or patients with contagious diseases. They were never exposed to post mortem examinations. While students allegedly gained experience in a dispensary, the report questioned the facilities for one.
The report concluded that neither College of Physicians and Surgeons nor the Medical Department “has a single redeeming feature.”
By 1910 discussions were underway to combine the two schools, to create one state-supported medical school. This merger was accomplished in the fall of 1911
Bricks and Mortar
Buildings for the College of Physicians and Surgeons were located at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Riverview Drive. The first building there was constructed by railroad magnate and politician Stephen W. Dorsey around 1870. According to the Arkansas Gazette, it was “considered the most magnificent home in Little Rock.” In 1882 the property was purchased by Little Rock University, which added the main building with its distinctive towers. In 1903 the campus became home to Maddox Seminary, before being purchased by CP&S. After the 1911 merger, Dr. E. Meek, one of the founding doctors, purchased part of the property for a private hospital. In 1916, the Little Rock Conservatory and College for Women occupied the main building. In 1918 the campus became a part of St. Luke’s Hospital.
Team name: Medics
On October 8, 1909 the Arkansas Gazette reported that the College of Physicians and Surgeons would be “represented” by a football team. It noted, “Uniforms have already been ordered and the squad has gone through its initial practice.” The coach believed he had “the timber for an unusually good team”
Despite an opening 69-0 loss to Ouachita Baptist College, the Medics continued against Hendrix, Little Rock Athletic Club, West End Athletic Club (an 11-0 win), Little Rock High School, Little Rock College (a scrimmage), and the Medical Department (for the “Sawbone Championship of Arkansas”). Results are not given. The Arkansas Gazette shows games against the high school and Little Rock College in 1910 before the merger.
Group photograph of the College of Physicians and Surgeons classes in 1906, the first year of operation.
Note the number of students wearing hats and the almost total absence of facial hair. Photo courtesy of University of Arkansas Medical Science Library Historical Research Center.http://hrcdigitalcoll.uams.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/uw/id/311/rec/1 Accessed 2-12-2018
Sketch of the Little Rock University building. Image from A Pictoral History of Arkansas. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=loc.ark:/13960/t0qr5ng0x;view=1up;seq=752 Last accessed 12-23-2017