The University of Kansas Medical Center
A Pictorial History
Lawrence H. Larsen and Nancy J. Hulston
In 1905, the University of Kansas School of Medicine opened in the basement of a building in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. By 1991 it occupied 2.3 million square feet of space in Kansas City and many thousands more in Wichita and area health education centers; it had an annual budget of over $235 million and a staff of over 5,000.
A lot has happened in the last eighty-seven years.
“A valuable contribution to the history of the university and medical education and care in the region.”
—South Dakota History
“Well researched, unbiased, and readable.”
—Journal of the WestSee all reviews...
“This is a good bit more than a ‘coffee table’ book! It should do well in its institutional role, but should also attract attention from historians of medicine and education more generally.”
—Charles E. Rosenberg, coauthor (with Janet Golden) of Pictures of Health: A Photographic History of Health Care in Philadelphia and president of the American Association for the History of Medicine
“The motto of the State of Kansas is ‘ad astra per aspera’—that is, to the stars through difficulties. Nothing illustrates that motto more accurately than the story of the establishment and development of the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Today the medical school is recognized as a first-rate center of teaching, research, and medical care. It is, in fact, reaching to the stars; but there have been enormous difficulties, pain, and travail involved in its evolution to the present. This story has been told before, but never in as interesting a manner as in this book. Here the realities are brought into sharp focus by a whole range of photographs which make the story very real. To read this book is to be fascinated and to relive history.”
—Franklin D. Murphy, M.D., former chancellor of the University of Kansas and dean of the University of Kansas Medical Center from 1948 to 1951
“An entertaining and thoughtful volume concerned with a unique institution; in its early years unloved, unwanted, and underfunded, it survived by the force of determined individuals' effort. In the last forty years it emerged proudly as a nationally recognized center of teaching and research, as well as a place of excellent care.”
—W. Clarke Wescoe, M.D., former chancellor of the University of Kansas and dean of the University of Kansas Medical Center from 1952 to 1960See fewer reviews...
In 385 black-and-white photographs, historians Lawrence Larsen and Nancy Hulston portray the tremendous changes that have taken place and illustrate a story of dramatic institutional growth from the humblest of beginnings.
From its opening in the fall of 1905, the University of Kansas School of Medicine grew in fits and starts. Progress depended on legislative and public support, which was often unreliable, especially at first. Larsen and Hulston chronicle the development of the school in a brief text, in quotations from contemporary sources, and in carefully chosen photographs. "Photographic evidence was so complete," the authors note in their introduction, "that had we wanted to, we could have devoted an entire chapter to the development of the Medical Center power plant."
Instead, they focused on the changes in the physical facilities at 39th and Rainbow and the accompanying evolution of medical education there. Action shots show buildings under construction, as well as doctors and students in settings that range from primitive, turn-of-the-century laboratories to the gleaming present-day facilities. Many photographs portray doctors, nurses, and students going about their daily activities-conducting clinical examinations, performing nursing demonstrations, rehabilitating children, and caring for patients. Others depict social life, fraternal activities, and fun. One fascinating set of photographs documents the changes in operating rooms through the years.
Larsen and Hulston also place the development of the school in its larger social context, exploring programs like the Murphy Plan, designed to bring medical care to outlying areas of Kansas, and the effect of the two world wars on the school.