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Alton D. Brashear papers

Identifier: Acc. 136

Scope and Contents

The Alton D. Brashear Collection is primarily the information, documents and materials gathered together to write the history of the 45th General Hospital. This Army medical unit was staffed by faculty from the Medical College of Virginia during World War II. Brashear served as the Chief of Dental Services.

The collection includes official papers, orders, personnel files and other documents relating to the initial training and operation of the hospital unit before and after its deployment to North Africa and Italy. The collection also includes notes and material gathered by Brashear to write the unit's history From Lee to Bari, including page proofs and photographic layouts along with donations from Betty Brown and Carrington Williams.

The collection focuses on Brashear's activities encompassing his military service and his association with the 45th General Hospital. Information regarding his post war activities is rare and limited to his academy endeavors.


  • 1935-1955


Access Restriction

Collection is open to research.

Use Restriction

There are no restrictions.

Biographical / Historical

Alton Dean Brashear was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas on 17 March, 1906. He earned his DDS at Ohio State University in 1932 and interned at the University of Rochester where he earned a masters in anatomy. Brashear taught anatomy at Louisiana State University from 1935 to 1938 when he left to accept a position at the Medical College of Virginia. At MCV, Brashear taught anatomy for over fifty years.

Brashear was a member of the Army Reserve Medical Corps and taught anatomy courses for the Army. When World War II began, Brashear was assigned to the 45th General Hospital, a unit made up from staff of the Medical College of Virginia where he served as Chief of Dental Services. After the war, Brashear wrote a history of the unit titled From Lee to Bari.

Brashear was a member of several medical and dental societies including the American Association of Anatomists, American Dental Association and the Richmond Academy of Medicine. An accomplished photographer, Brashear was a member of the Richmond Camera Club and served as a judge in several photograph competitions. He also took many of the photographs included in his book on the history of the 45th General Hospital.

Brashear died in Richmond, Virginia on 30 June 1963 at the age of 57. A postgraduate course in the anatomy of the head and neck, initially taught by Brashear in 1954, was named in his honor by MCV after his death.


2.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection follows the original arrangement.

Acquisition Information

Donor unknown. Part of the Tompkins-McCaw Library basement collection.

Related/Analytical Title

From Lee to Bari : the history of the Forty-fifth General Hospital, 1940-1945.

A Guide to the Alton D. Brashear papers
A Collection in Special Collections and Archives, Health Sciences Library, Virginia Commonwealth University, Accession number 136
Jody Romero
2005 By Virginia Commonwealth University. All Rights Reserved.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the VCU Health Sciences Library Repository

Special Collections and Archives 509 N 12th St
Box 980582
Richmond Virginia 23298 USA US
(804) 828-9898