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Medical College of Virginia

Richmond, Virginia



Internet Archive has a digital copy of the 1913 X-Ray.  This was the first yearbook published by the college, and also the last before the merger with University Medical College.  The Richmond Whig and the Richmond Times Dispatch covered school events.  The ad at right is from the X-Ray.


Medical College of Virginia was chartered in 1837 as the Medical Department of Hampton-Sydney College.  Classes began in November 1838 for 46 matriculates.  The founding faculty was composed of six Richmond physicians, headed by Augustus L. Warner, who served as the first dean.  Fourteen students graduated from the five-month program in 1839.


In 1854 the medical college split from Hampton-Sydney to become a private Richmond medical college. Enrollment ballooned to 228 in 1859-60 as many Southern students left medical colleges in the North to continue education in Richmond.  Needing additional funds to cover the costs of these students, M.C.V. became a state school in 1860.  During the Civil War, M.C.V. was the only medical college in the South to remain open. 


By 1897 M.C.V. had three degree programs.  In addition to the four-year medical program leading to the M.D, it had a three- year dental program leading to a D.D.S degree, and a two-year pharmacy program leading to a Graduate in Pharmacy degree.


The 1913 X-Ray shows a total enrollment of 271 in the three programs, with 42 medical graduates, 11 dental graduates, and 10 pharmacy graduates.  All students were male.  In addition to chapters of four medical fraternities, M.C.V. hosted chapters of a dental fraternity and a pharmacy fraternity.  The only student club was the North Carolina Club.  Newspapers show an occasional "smoker" or banquet.


The 1910 Flexner Report listed enrollment as 206, taught by a faculty of 61, all of whom had regular practices.  The report had high praise for the attractive library and the excellent suite of rooms for the dispensary.  It found the laboratories "ordinary," the museum "fair," the clinical facilities "inadequate," and the dissecting rooms "poor."  It recommended a merger with University Medical College, since neither school had the facilities to provide a sound medical education.


In 1913 the two schools did merge.  The First Annual Announcement of the Medical College of Virginia and the University College of Medicine Consolidated was issued in 1913-14.  Then in 1968 the consolidated M.C.V. became the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Medicine.

Bricks and Mortar

Classes began in the Union Hotel at the southwest corner of 19th and Main Streets.  X-Ray notes, "Limbs, instead of cutting capers, were cut in pieces in the ballroom."  In 1845 the school moved into a structure built specifically to house a medical college.  Designed by Philadelphia architect Thomas Stewart, the Egyptian Building contained lecture halls, an infirmary, the library, the dissecting rooms, and the dispensary.   After nearly a century of service, it was restored in 1939, when the interior was also given an Egyptian motif.  Placed on the National Register in 1969 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1971, it is still a part of the V.C.U. School of Medicine today. 


M.C.V. students had clinical practice at the Howard's Grove Hospital, the City Alms House Hospital and the Richmond General Dispensary, located in the Egyptian Building.

Egyptian Building. Photo by Crazyale (>.accessed 2-07-2017


            Team name: Medicoes

            Colors: Green and White


The first reference to sport I found in newspapers was a March 1906 baseball game with University Medical College.  When M.C.V. played football against Fredericksburg College in 1907, the Richmond Times Dispatch calls it "the new game."  College Football Data Warehouse shows some football from 1907 through 1912, the last year before the merger.  The 1912 team played an eight-game schedule, defeating Hampton-Sydney, William & Mary, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, and University Medical College as well as the Richmond Light Infantry Blues.  The Medicoes lost to North Carolina A&M and Washington & Lee. 


The X-Ray also shows a baseball team that played 13 games, winning eight.  The main pitcher that year was future major leaguer Yancy "Doc" Ayers, who had two 18-strikeout games. Ayers joined the Senators in 1913 and went on to win 66 games in nine major league seasons.


"Doc" Ayers (left) learned to pitch at M.C.V. by reading a book on the subject. (X-Ray <>) accessed 2-07-2017

Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

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