The Southern Medical and Surgical Journal (SMSJ) was first published in June 1836 by the faculty of the newly established Medical College of Georgia, who deemed the necessity of a medical journal published in the southeast region of the nation. The objective of the journal was to present scholarly work in the art of medicine to urban and rural medical practitioners. Its first editor was Dr. Milton Antony, considered by many to be the founding father of the Medical College of Georgia (MCG).

The monthly journal emphasized the laboratory research and practical medical work of the MCG faculty and medical professors from other schools, as well as articles written by private practicing physicians in the ante-bellum south. The main intention of the SMSJ was to keep the targeted audience - practicing physicians of Georgia and the surrounding states – informed of medical trends and new developments and improve medical care and standards as much as possible. Other features of the journal included a bibliographical section that reviewed recently published medical books; letters to the editor; obituaries; notices of medical meetings; and even meteorological observations. Comparative statistics, such as a classification of deaths in Georgia, were published in the SMSJ. The journal advocated the beliefs of the MCG faculty that a reformation in medical education was needed, while it also denounced quackery and charlatans. It was in the SMSJ in 1849 that the MCG Faculty proposed the organization of a state-wide medical association. Within the pages of the SMSJ are papers presented at the Augusta Medical Society meetings; reports of the Georgia Medical Association; and lists of the graduates of the Medical College of Georgia and sometimes the annual Introductory Lecture and the Commencement Address of the College.

The SMSJ was a vibrant reflection of middle 19th Century American medicine, particularly of the South. Significant articles that appeared first in the Southern Medical and Surgical Journal was Dr. Crawford W. Long's use of ether during surgery and Dr. Louis A. Dugas' theory for diagnosing dislocations of the shoulder joint, referred today as the "Dugas Sign".

The journal was published from June 1836 to December 1839, Volumes I-III (publication ceased following the death of Dr. Antony); 1845-1861, Volumes I-XVII, New Series; and resumed for only a brief time from July/August 1866 to July 1867, Volume XXI, Whole Series. Each volume is indexed by author/contributor and title/subject.

The digitization of this collection was made possible through the Express Library Digitization and Conservation Award given by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Southeastern/Atlantic Region.

Credit shall be given as follows: Historical Collections & Archives, Robert B. Greenblatt, M.D. Library, Augusta University


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