American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

1912 German-Austrian Tour of the American Clinical Surgical Society

Members of the American Clinical Surgery Society on deck

Among the treasures unearthed from the ACS Archives is a 1912 photo album of the American Clinical Surgical Society, later known as the Society of Clinical Surgery. The photos are clearly labeled, but the album itself is in a serious state of disintegration. Some conservation work was done on the album in 2007 allowing the viewer to envision how the original version may have appeared.

Memo from George Stephenson, MD, FACS

The album captures this piece of surgical history: The American Clinical Surgical Society members, decided to hold their 18th meeting abroad, and chose to visit outstanding German and Austrian surgical centers. Forty-five members attended, accompanied by wives and children and four honorary consultants. A group of them arrived in Bremen by ship on June 18, and traveled to Hamburg, Berlin,Liepzig, Jena, Munich, Tubingen, Stuttgart, Heidelberg, Wurzburg, Frankfurt, Coblenz, Bonn, and Vienna.

The photo album was found among the papers of American College of Surgeons founder Franklin H. Martin, MD, FACS. However, Dr. Martin is curiously absent from the list of names participating on the tour, so the provenance of the album is unclear. George Stephenson, MD, FACS, who served as American College of Surgeons Archivist from 1974-1998, painstakingly researched the contents of the album, and left a memo, dated May 19, 1986, detailing what he had discovered about it (A portion is attached to the album.) The photo appearing with this text was taken on board the Kronprinzessin Cecile and includes many surgical luminaries of the day, most of whom became Founders of the American College of Surgeons.

To view the entire album, contact the ACS Archivist.


  1. Fulton, John F. Harvey Cushing, a Biography. Springfield, IL: Charles L. Thomas, 1946:328
  2. Shumacker, Harris B., Jr. History of The Society of Clinical Surgery. Indianapolis, IN: Benham Press, 1977:69-70

ACS Archives Highlights is a series showcasing the vibrant history of the American College of Surgeons, its members, and the history of surgery. For further information on our featured highlights, search the Archives Catalog or contact the ACS Archivist.