Enduring Legacy: The M. D. Anderson Foundation and the Texas Medical Center [NOOK Book]


At the heart of Houston stands the Texas Medical Center. This dense complex of educational, clinical, and hospital facilities offers state-of-the-art patient care, basic science, and applied research in more than fifty medicine-related institutions. Three medical schools, four schools of nursing, and schools of dentistry, public health, and pharmacology occupy the thousand-acre campus.

But none of this would exist if not for the generosity and...
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Enduring Legacy: The M. D. Anderson Foundation and the Texas Medical Center

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At the heart of Houston stands the Texas Medical Center. This dense complex of educational, clinical, and hospital facilities offers state-of-the-art patient care, basic science, and applied research in more than fifty medicine-related institutions. Three medical schools, four schools of nursing, and schools of dentistry, public health, and pharmacology occupy the thousand-acre campus.

But none of this would exist if not for the generosity and vision of Monroe Dunaway Anderson, who, in 1936, established the foundation that bears his name. The M. D. Anderson Foundation ultimately became the driving force behind creating and shaping this leading-edge medical complex into what it is today.

Enduring Legacy: The M. D. Anderson Foundation and the Texas Medical Center provides a unique perspective on the indispensable role the foundation played in the creation of the Texas Medical Center. It also offers a case study of how public and private institutions worked together to create this veritable city of health that has since become the largest medical complex in human history.

Historian William Henry Kellar caps off a decade of research on institutions and characters associated with the Texas Medical Center.  He draws on oral histories, extensive archival work, and a growing secondary literature to provide an absorbing account of this leading institution of modern medicine and the philanthropy that made it possible.
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Editorial Reviews

George H. W. Bush and James A. Baker III

"William Henry Kellar’s well-researched account of this unlikely success story chronicles step-by-step the Medical Center’s steady march from vision to greatness. The author carefully weaves the Medical Center’s growth with the history of this wonderful city in a thoughtful fashion that helps explain the symbiotic relationship between the two. It is a book worthy both of Houston and the Texas Medical Center."-Former President George H. W. Bush and James A. Baker III
Richard E. Wainerdi

This book is a must read for anyone who wants to learn how a great medical center came to be, even after the death of the man whose fortune made it possible.  It is a story of vision, thoughtful planning, and most of all, the love for mankind of the M.D. Anderson Foundation trustees. They gave birth to the Texas Medical Center, now the largest medical complex in history.-Richard E. Wainerdi, P.E., Ph.D. President Emeritus--Texas Medical Center
Mavis P. Kelsey

"This important history should have been written years ago.   Enduring Legacy enlightens us about the events that developed the Texas Medical Center and made it famous."-Mavis P. Kelsey, M.D. Founder, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781623491406
  • Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
  • Publication date: 4/16/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 952,886
  • File size: 17 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

WILLIAM HENRY KELLAR is the author or editor of books on a variety of topics related to Houston’s history. He is affiliated with the University of Houston’s Center for Public History.
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Read an Excerpt

Enduring Legacy

The M. D. Anderson Foundation & the Texas Medical Center

By William Henry Kellar

Texas A&M University

Copyright © 2014 William Henry Kellar
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62349-140-6


Early Houston

A Magnet for Entrepreneurs in Business and Medicine

"The pioneer physicians of Houston, long on the art of medicine and short on the science, not only battled disease but other vicissitudes of the times."

—Walter H. Moursund, MD, Dean,

Baylor University College of Medicine, 1923–1953

Houston, Texas, was founded in August 1836 by two land speculators, brothers Augustus C. and John Kirby Allen. From the beginning, the city has attracted ambitious people, many of whom built successful businesses and accumulated great wealth. Along with a driving ambition, the Allen brothers also possessed a civic mindedness that inspired them to give back to the community and leave the city a better place for those who followed in their footsteps. This spirit of hard work, civic obligation, and generous giving can be found first in the men responsible for establishing the M. D. Anderson Foundation and later in those who led the way in creating what ultimately became the largest medical complex in the world, the Texas Medical Center. The very founding of Houston typified the spirit of entrepreneurship that would come to be associated with the city in later decades. Contrary to early advertising, however, Houston was hardly a garden spot and, with its location fifty miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, not a place that seemed destined to be a major port of trade. It is reasonable, then, to ask what attracted so many hardworking, visionary people to Houston, and how did the largest medical center in the world come to be established here, in what one might have considered the most unlikely of places? The story of the M. D. Anderson Foundation and the development of the Texas Medical Center are unique in American history. In order to understand fully the significance of how the Texas Medical Center would be created and fostered in such a wild yet wonderful place, it is important to look briefly at the economic origins of the city, the growing concern for public health in the community, and the leadership role that the city's physicians and businessmen have taken during the course of Houston's history.

Houston's founders, the Allen brothers, demonstrated savvy marketing ability when they named their new town to honor Gen. Sam Houston, a hero of the Battle of San Jacinto, who would soon be elected president of the Republic of Texas. Using his name ensured immediate recognition that the brothers hoped would entice officials to locate the new seat of government in this fledging community. They immediately began to advertise their city as a pleasantly situated place of great potential for success and business opportunity. Just four months after Texans secured their independence at San Jacinto, an advertisement published in the Telegraph & Texas Register, August 30, 1836, and soon circulated throughout much of Europe, promoted this notion, boldly stating: "There is no place in Texas more healthy, having an abundance of excellent spring water, and enjoying the sea breeze in all its freshness."

The struggling town on Buffalo Bayou served as the capital of the Republic of Texas from 1836 to 1839 and quickly attracted its share of entrepreneurs and rapscallions, dreamers and visionaries, tradesmen and farmers, and all manner of folk looking for a fresh start in the new nation precariously positioned at the edge of both the US and Mexican frontiers. One key to the success of both the young frontier republic and its crude, temporary capital on Buffalo Bayou was the role of physicians who arrived with dreams and ambitions of their own. The grim reality of what all of these people found upon their arrival stood in stark contrast to the Telegraph & Texas Register advertisement, which promised a "handsome and beautifully elevated, salubrious and well watered" town site. Instead, new arrivals found the area to be flat, with dusty streets that turned quickly into a muddy quagmire after the frequent tropical rains. The conglomeration of shacks and cabins sprang up on land that was infested with mosquitoes, inhabited by alligators and snakes, and for a time nearly overrun by an overabundance of rats. Epidemics of disease and other health problems related to poor sanitation seemed at times to challenge the very survival of the community. But it was in this milieu that daring entrepreneurs found opportunity, dedicated physicians found a calling, and public health became one of the major and enduring themes deeply rooted in Houston's history. These doctors and civic leaders established a pattern that would be emulated by succeeding generations, resulting in the founding of what would in time grow into the largest medical center in the world.

Throughout Texas' history, physicians have taken major roles as leaders in government, the military, and in the community. During the Texas war for independence from Mexico, Mexican president Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna first arrived at San Antonio in February 1836 and laid siege to the Alamo. Seven of its defenders were surgeons, and only one, Dr. John Sutherland, would survive. After being injured on a scouting mission, he was dispatched to Gonzales to encourage volunteers to help defend the doomed fort. His injury saved his life. When Texans formally declared independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836, at Washington-on-the-Brazos, eight of the fifty-nine signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence were doctors. One of these physicians, Dr. Lorenzo de Zavala was chosen to be the interim vice president of the Texas government. De Zavala previously had a distinguished political career in Mexico, but resigned his post as minister to France after becoming disillusioned with Santa Anna. He moved to Texas in 1835 and purchased land along Buffalo Bayou, directly across from a place known as San Jacinto. In the aftermath of the climactic battle that took place there, his home served as a hospital for wounded Texans and Mexicans. One of the most famous surgeons in early Texas history is Dr. Anson Jones. He arrived in Texas in 1833 and, after the fall of the Alamo, joined the Texas army. He served as a surgeon at the Battle of San Jacinto and later became very active politically. After a stint as ambassador to Washington and as a representative in the Texas Congress, Jones was elected Texas' fourth and last president in September 1844. He had the distinction of presiding over annexation to the United States in February 1846.

After San Jacinto, a number of doctors who served in the Texas army or in government settled in Houston—enough, in fact, to form, in 1838, a short-lived professional association, the Medical and Surgical Society of Houston. Among these early leaders was Dr. Alexander Ewing, who had been surgeon general of the Texas army at the Battle of San Jacinto, and Dr. Ashbel Smith, educated at Yale, Harvard, and in Paris and described as "physician, surgeon, statesman, and scholar." He succeeded Ewing as surgeon general and would serve as minister to France and England and as the Republic of Texas' last secretary of state. Other physicians of note include Dr. Phillip Anderson, who was chief surgeon of the Texas Navy and considered to be among the most learned men in Texas, and Dr. Francis Moore Jr., who had served in the Texas army, become editor of the Telegraph, and served several terms as mayor of Houston. As Houston continued to develop and evolve as a community during the 1840s, a new generation of young, well-trained doctors migrated to the town to provide medical care.

Despite the ads describing Houston as a place of cool sea breezes and having a pleasant, healthy climate, the stark reality was that neither the environment nor the lifestyles and habits of its residents were conducive to good public health. Walter H. Moursund, in his study Medicine in Greater Houston: 1836–1956, observed that the early settlers had little knowledge of proper sanitation and hygiene and consequently became "the victims of frequent and fatal epidemics including yellow fever, malaria, dengue, typhoid, small pox, and the plague." Because they did not understand fully what caused these deadly diseases, they were unable to take proper preventive measures. The unsanitary conditions provided a better environment for rats than for people, and by early 1839 swarms of rats threatened to overrun the burgeoning community. Although early Houstonians did not yet recognize the connection between rats and the spread of typhus or the plague, on February 26, 1839, they took decisive action when John W. Eldridge organized the Anti-Rat Society with the goal of destroying the pesky infestation. And in an important second step toward cleaning up their town, in May 1839 the Houston City Council appointed the first regular Board of Health to improve sanitation and reduce the incidence of disease fostered by the filthy conditions in much of the community.

As in most communities at this time, it was an uphill struggle. Houston's first yellow fever epidemic wiped out approximately 10 percent of the population. With just 2,000 residents, the loss of some 240 during 1839, most due to the epidemic, had a sobering effect. But Houston quickly bounced back, and thus it was with jubilation that, just four years later, an article in the August 29, 1843, edition of the Morning Star proclaimed that with fewer cases of summer illnesses than ever before in the young community's history, the city was "remarkably healthy." The article encouraged residents to continue taking "proper precautions" in order that they might escape the diseases that frequently appeared during the warm months of summer and early fall. The editorial also noted that "fevers" seemed to become more common due to the excitement surrounding the September elections. "We hope all will bear this in mind, and endeavor to avoid all unnecessary excitement; neither giving way to passion nor intemperance." But just weeks later, during the fall of 1843, disaster again hit the city with another outbreak of yellow fever. The frightening epidemics struck the town repeatedly between 1847 and 1867.

During the mid-1840s, Houston was described as a cross between a frontier town and the Wild West. One foreign visitor during this time, Prince Solms-Braunfels of Germany, commented that "Houston ... has more houses than citizens.... Farmers bring their cotton here and sell it to the native businessmen, ... Otherwise it would be only a gathering place for loafers ... who go there mainly to gamble and trade horses with the hope of defrauding someone." Such observations aside, there were people who believed in the Allen brothers' dream, and they gambled on making Houston a major and profitable economic center. Before the outbreak of the Civil War, some of these individuals clearly had succeeded, because a number of very prosperous merchants called Houston home. The 1860 census provided not only the names of these wealthy men but revealed their net worth: for example, William Marsh Rice was worth $750,000 (about $21 million in 2011); William J. Hutchins, $700,000; Thomas William House, $500,000; Cornelius Ennis and Paul Bremond, $400,000 each (about $11.2 million in 2011)—multimillionaires today. Although they were just a few of the most prominent Houstonians at the time, their relatively early success indicated that Houston offered remarkable economic opportunities for determined entrepreneurs.

Historically speaking, these men were in the right place at the right time. A growing town needed mercantile stores of every type to supply medicine, dry goods, baked goods, and clothing. It is not surprising then that this early commerce led to the success of many Houstonians, providing them with funds and opportunities to launch themselves into other business ventures. Their individual stories reveal this circle of business, trade, and investment in Houston's developing infrastructure. Col. Cornelius Ennis, mentioned above, was one of the first cotton merchants and growers in the area and exemplified this economic exchange. His success in business propelled him into taking a leadership role in the community, which led to his election as mayor of Houston in 1856. Most importantly, as one of the largest cotton buyers in Texas, Ennis fully acknowledged the opportunity cotton provided for Houston as a magnet for commerce. Moving to Houston in 1839, he had opened a drugstore, partnering with George W. Kimball. Two years later, in 1841, they sent the first cotton shipment from Galveston to Boston. Ennis quickly discovered, however, that his cotton-export business was hampered by inadequate transportation. This drove him to promote and support railroad construction in the Houston area, where he would become a strong advocate for the railroad industry. In 1853, along with Paul Bremond, William M. Rice, and Thomas W. House, Ennis began planning to incorporate the Houston and Texas Central Railroad.

Thomas W. House, an Englishman, had arrived in Houston a year before Ennis in 1838. He opened a bakery, Loveridge & House, on Main Street, where two years later he and his business partner, Charles Shearn, offered ice cream and lemonade in addition to a vast assortment of baked goods. By the early 1850s, House, by then a dry goods merchant, purchased James H. Stevens and Company for $40,000, making him the largest wholesaler in the entire state. Soon after, he became one of the wealthiest landowners in Texas. As a cotton grower and factor, House was very active in the affairs of Houston's economy, maintaining several diverse roles and devoting many years of service to establishing Houston as a major economic center. As treasurer of the Houston Cotton Exchange, he became involved in the operations of the Buffalo Bayou Ship Channel Company while organizing the Houston and Galveston Navigation Company in 1851. Although he operated as a private banker, as many businessmen did in those days, he also played a substantial role in Houston's structural development by reinvesting his business profits into the region's railroads and the city's public utilities. Acknowledging very early on that both accessibility and infrastructure were important elements for the city's economic growth, men such as Ennis and House embraced the need for railroads and the development of a deepwater port. By doing so, they provided significant leadership, guidance, and much-needed capital for the advancement of Houston's status to the forefront as a major economic hub in Texas.

As indicated by the wealth of the city's merchants, Houston slowly became a community of enterprising and successful businessmen who recognized an opportunity when it presented itself. Although cotton would come to play a predominant role in this economic prosperity, it was the region's abundance of other natural resources, as loudly touted by the Allen brothers, that provided the city with its initial economic foundation. The close proximity to the state's forests of longleaf pine, hardwoods, and cypress, for example, led to Houston's reputation as an excellent location for lumber companies and mill owners to set up their headquarters. As a result, the developing city rapidly became a major lumber center, providing an important commodity for the construction of all buildings within the region. Houston's first lumber mill, situated on Milam Street where it meets Buffalo Bayou, was constructed in the 1840s. As a lucrative business opportunity, lumber soon attracted many new residents into the city, including the Bering brothers, who moved to Houston in 1846. By 1853, they had established themselves as some of the largest lumber dealers in the city.

Houston's population grew rapidly during the first couple of years after its founding, and then for almost a decade its numbers remained stagnant. In the 1840s the population actually declined after some residents moved to Austin, the newly declared capital. The city's population more than doubled between 1850 and 1858, however, and by then approximately 4,800 residents called it home. Many thought that part of the reason for Houston's thin population stemmed from the poor and inaccessible roads that led into the city. Roads were frequently flooded or difficult to maneuver. In rainy weather they were impassable, even with a team of oxen, making the cost of transporting freight extremely high and leading to exorbitant prices for even general merchandise. Texans and, most importantly, Houstonians recognized the need for good overland transportation, and railroads seemed a likely remedy to solve the problem.

Efficient transportation of cotton via railroad meant a stronger economy, and it also contributed to significant population growth as more people moved to Houston in search of employment. In these early decades, the cotton business in the city was mostly confined to the north side of Buffalo Bayou, and since there were no bridges across the bayou, the product was ferried across to the foot of Main Street. Like Ennis, however, many Houstonians looked to cotton as the potential source of their own individual wealth and as the key to the economic strength, stability, and prosperity of the entire region. Houstonians were thus linked to the cotton industry in a variety of ways, and it figured into the livelihood of many residents. As early as 1845, the Houston City Council viewed cotton production as so important that it passed a resolution requiring the cotton market master to report the weekly cotton sales and exports. While some cotton was transported overland by wagons, many cotton planters chose to ship their cotton by steamboats, keelboats, or flatboats. Indeed, most of the cargo moving along Buffalo Bayou by 1849 was cotton.


Excerpted from Enduring Legacy by William Henry Kellar. Copyright © 2014 William Henry Kellar. Excerpted by permission of Texas A&M University.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations,
Foreword, by George H. W. Bush and James A. Baker, III,
Chapter 1. Early Houston: A Magnet for Entrepreneurs in Business and Medicine,
Chapter 2. Building the Fortune: Anderson, Clayton & Company,
Chapter 3. The Legal Team: Fulbright, Crooker, Freeman & Bates,
Chapter 4. Legacy: Creating the M. D. Anderson Foundation,
Chapter 5. Bold Vision: First Steps toward Building a Medical Center,
Chapter 6. Building Blocks: Baylor University College of Medicine,
Chapter 7. "One of the Greatest Medical Centers Ever Developed",
Chapter 8. A Building Boom in the Texas Medical Center,
Chapter 9. The Biggest Medical Center in the World,
Epilogue: The Enduring Legacy of Monroe Dunaway Anderson,
Appendix 1. M. D. Anderson Foundation Trustees, 1936–2013,
Appendix 2. Texas Medical Center Member Institutions,
A Note on Sources,

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