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Dr. Lewis Hinton Bosher, Jr. papers

Identifier: 1997.Jul.8

Scope and Contents

The papers of Dr. Lewis H. Bosher are primarily items relating to his professional work as a surgeon and a member of the faculty at the Medical College of Virginia (MCV).The majority of his papers are made up of correspondence and also includes some journal articles, newspaper clippings, and photographs. Bosher's papers also contains materials he collected to write a biographical sketch of fellow surgeon Dr. Isaac A. Bigger, and items from his great uncle, Dr. Lewis C. Bosher, including his lecture notes from 1905.

Series 1: Correspondence, 1945-1994. This series is comprised of correspondence that Bosher exchanged with numerous colleagues regarding the practice of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery. Often they are trading information on techniques and problems as well as discussing various types of equipment used in surgery such as oxygenators and coronary perfusion pumps. Also there is correspondence with medical supply companies, other hospitals, and various medical organizations with whom Bosher was involved.

Series 2: Professional Papers, 1936-1979. This series is composed of materials such as Bosher's curriculum vitae, employment information from MCV and McGuire Veteran's Hospital, journal articles, lectures, presentations, reports, and unpublished works.

Series 3: MCV Papers, 1949-1979. This series is composed primarily of correspondence and related materials pertaining to Bosher's tenure at MCV. Of particular interest are the three folders of correspondence labeled "Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 1949-1979." It spans Bosher's entire career at MCV and provides insight into the evolution of that service.

Series 4: Subject Files, 1951-1979. These files contain correspondence, data, and notes maintained by Bosher on subjects that related to his work in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery.

Series 5: Bigger Biographical Sketch Project, 1923-1987. The American Association for Thoracic Surgery asked Bosher to write a biographical sketch of Dr. Isaac A. Bigger. This series contains the research conducted by Bosher to complete the sketch. Items include correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues of Bigger, copies of his medical articles, and information gleaned from other sources such as newspapers and organizations to which Bigger belonged. Two copies of the completed sketch and the accompanying appendix are also included in the series.

Series 6: Dr. Lewis C. Bosher Materials, 1891-1986. Items in this series belonged to Lewis C. Bosher, great uncle of Lewis H. Bosher. He was a Richmond physician and on the faculty of MCV. This series includes Bosher's lecture notes on genito-urinary surgery, venereal disease, and special fractures, journal articles, and miscellaneous items relating to MCV.

Series 7: Miscellaneous Materials. This series contains an unpublished manuscript on the subject of angiorraphy. Based on the citations it appears to have been written circa 1913. The title page is missing and there is no indication of who is the author.


  • 1891-1994


Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Lewis Hinton Bosher, Jr. (b. 1914)

Lewis Hinton Bosher, Jr. was born in Richmond, Virginia on January 19, 1914 to Lewis Hinton Bosher (1884-1980) and Roberta Ashby Smith Bosher (1886-1973). He attended St. Christopher's School in Richmond and then the University of Virginia (UVA) where he received a B.S. degree in 1936. At UVA he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and The Raven Society. Bosher pursued his medical education at Harvard Medical School and was awarded his M.D. in 1940.

The U.S. entered World War II while Bosher was serving as an assistant resident in surgery at Bellevue Hospital. He joined the Army Medical Corps in 1942, and was assigned to several stateside station hospitals from 1942-1943. In 1944, he was sent to Europe where he served in the First General Hospital until 1944, and then the Fourth Auxiliary Surgical Group. His final transfer was in 1945 to McGuire General Hospital in Virginia. The Army discharged Bosher in 1946 with the rank of Major.

After Bosher was discharged from the Army he served a surgical residency at the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) from 1946 to 1947. He then pursued additional postdoctoral training in general surgery at the Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts and thoracic surgery at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. Bosher returned to MCV in 1950 as an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery. He was promoted to associate professor in 1954 and to full professor in 1974. Bosher retired from academic medicine in 1979 and began a private practice. Bosher partnered with Dr. Harold Jay Levinson to establish cardiac surgery programs at Chippenham and Henrico Doctors' Hospitals. Bosher Auditorium in Chippenham Hospital is named in his honor.

Bosher spent the majority of his career at MCV and received high praise from numerous colleagues for his solid teaching abilities, commitment to the profession, and care and compassion for his patients. However, his tenure at MCV was not without some controversy. Dr. Isaac A. Bigger, head of the Department of Surgery, established a division of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery and made Bosher chief of the division. Bigger died in 1955 and was replaced by Dr. David Hume. Bosher did not always agree with Hume's administrative decisions and they became embroiled in a protracted conflict when Hume abolished Bosher's division in 1958. The Board of Visitors had never formalized Bigger's creation of the division, so Hume interpreted this to mean it never officially existed. The conflict appeared to be resolved in 1962 when the Board admonished Bosher for his defiance of Hume's authority, but they recognized Bosher's authority in the area of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery. Bosher was made chair of the section of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery in 1962. However in 1964 Hume decided to replace the section with a division of thoracic and cardiac surgery and appointed Dr. Richard Lower chair rather than Bosher.

Bosher maintained membership in numerous honorary, professional, and scientific societies including American Association for Thoracic Surgery, American College of Cardiology, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Surgeons, American Heart Associations, American Medical Association, American Society for Artificial internal Organs, International Cardiovascular Society, Medical Society of Virginia, New York Academy of Science, Richmond Academy of Medicine, Richmond Area Heart Association (board of directors, president, 1961-1962), Society for Vascular Surgeons, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, Southern Surgical Association, Southern Thoracic Surgical Association (president, 1963-1964), Virginia Academy of Science, Virginia Heart Association (board of directors), Virginia Surgical Society, and Virginia Thoracic Society. Bosher also served as associate editor (1952-1953) and editor (1954-1955) of Virginia Medical Monthly.

Bosher married Blanche Kenny Smith of Bourbon County, Kentucky in 1947. They had four children.

Dr. Lewis C. Bosher (1860-1920)

Lewis Crenshaw Bosher, a physician and medical professor, was born on February 17, 1860 in Richmond, Virginia to Robert H. Bosher and Elizabeth Eubank Bosher. Bosher earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) in 1883 and received postgraduate training in surgery at Mount Sinai and Bellevue Hospitals in New York. Bosher returned to MCV in 1884 serving as demonstrator of anatomy. He was promoted to professor of anatomy and clinical lecturer on genito-urinary surgery in 1888, professor of the practice of surgery and clinical surgery in 1896, and professor of surgery in 1897. In 1910 Bosher chaired a joint committee whose purpose was to negotiate the merger of the University College of Medicine with MCV, which occurred in 1913. After the merger Bosher accepted the newly created position of professor of genito-urinary surgery.

Bosher was very active in the Richmond medical community. He maintained a private practice while on the faculty at MCV. In 1893 he served as deputy coroner of Richmond. He also chaired the hospital committee for Old Dominion Hospital in the late 1890s, assisted in the planning of Memorial Hospital which opened in 1903, and was a cofounder of Stuart Circle Hospital in 1913. Bosher was also engaged in several professional societies. He served as president of the Richmond Academy of Medicine and Surgery, 1901-1902, first vice president of the Medical Society of Virginia, 1904-1905, and president of the Southern Surgical and Gynecological Association in 1905.

Health problems led Bosher to resign from his faculty position at MCV in March of 1916. He passed away in his Richmond, Virginia home on September 12, 1920 and was buried in Hollywood Cemetery. Bosher never married. He was the great uncle of Lewis H. Bosher (b. 1914), also a physician and faculty member at MCV.

Dr. Isaac A. Bigger (1893-1955)

Isaac Alexander Bigger was born in Bethel, South Carolina on June 25, 1893. He was one of five children born to Isaac A. and Mary Neel Johnston Bigger. He attended Erskine College for one year and then transferred to Davidson College. He entered the University of Virginia (UVA) in 1914 for medical school. Bigger suffered from bronchial asthma and this ailment combined with injuries sustained during a sleepwalking incident slowed his medical education. He eventually graduated from UVA in 1919.

Bigger was on the surgical staff of both UVA and Vanderbilt University before he came to the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) in 1930. He was appointed the first full time professor of surgery at MCV. Bigger was a noted surgeon who developed many surgical innovations while working tirelessly with students, residents, and patients. He contributed over fifty articles to medical literature and coauthored Operative Surgery with J. Shelton Horsley in 1937.

Bigger's health began to deteriorate in 1953. He was hospitalized several times and eventually died of complications resulting from his asthma in 1955. The Isaac A. Bigger Medal, presented to a surgical resident for integrity, leadership, teaching, and clinical ability is awarded annually in memory of Dr. Bigger at the VCU Medical Center.


4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Series 1: Correspondence, 1945-1994 -- Series 2: Professional Papers, 1936-1979 -- Series 3: MCV Papers, 1949-1979 -- Series 4: Subject Files, 1951-1979 -- Series 5: Bigger Biographical Sketch Project, 1923-1987 -- Series 6: Dr. Lewis C. Bosher Materials, 1891-1986 -- Series 7: Miscellaneous Materials, circa 1913. Efforts have been made to maintain the original file organization. Numerous files labeled "miscellaneous" were merged with the existing files and some similar files, such as those on thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, were merged together. Files are arranged alphabetically within each series and materials within the files are arranged chronologically where applicable.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Lewis Hinton Bosher, Jr.

A Guide to the Dr. Lewis Hinton Bosher, Jr., papers 1981-1994
A Collection in Special Collections and Archives, Health Sciences Library, Virginia Commonwealth University, Accession number 1997/Jul/08
Margaret Turman Kidd
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