May 2, 2011

Frank Billings, 1854-1932

CAMA Historical Figures/Facilities Project

Frank Billings, circa 1905.
Physician Frank Billings was born in Wisconsin, 2 April 1854. Upon completing high school, he taught in the Wisconsin schools from 1874 to 1876. In 1881, he received his medical degree from Northwestern University. He continued his medical studies in Vienna, Paris, and London, 1885-1886. Billings was an attending physician at Mercy Hospital, 1890-1898; St. Luke’s Hospital, 1890-1906; Cook County Hospital, 1890-1901;  and Presbyterian Hospital, 1898-1920. He served as Dean of Rush Medical College, 1900-1920. He introduced residents and the clerkship system to Presbyterian Hospital. 

[Image Credit: From the Rush University Medical Center Archives, Photograph Collection, #046]

Billings served as president of the Chicago Medical Society, 1891; the American Medical Association, 1902-1903; the Association of American Physicians, 1906; the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis, 1907; and the Institute of Medicine, 1922. In 1917, Billings headed a commission to Russia to report on the needs of the Russian people. He was an advocate for better medical care and a dedicated educator. He was instrumental in securing funds for fellowships and the construction of many buildings, including the Rawson Laboratory of Medicine and Surgery on the Rush Medical College campus and the Albert Merritt Billings Hospital at the University of Chicago. Billings’s contributions to medical literature include writings on topics such as anemia, pneumococcic infections, and heart disease. Billings married Dane Ford Brawley in 1887. He had one daughter, Margaret (Billings) Nichols. Billings died of a gastric hemorrhage, 20 September 1932. 

Biography provided by the Rush University Medical Center Archives.
Rush University Medical Center Archives

Collection name: Frank Billings Papers (1896-1970s, 1984)
Repository:  Rush University Medical Center Archives
Creator:  Billings, Frank (1854-1932)
Call Number:  4758
Extent:  About 200 items, 1.0 linear feet

Collection Overview:  The collection of physician Frank Billings includes biographical material, correspondence, writings, clippings, material related to the Billings Medical Club, miscellaneous items, and pictures. Biographical material includes biographies, bibliographies, friends’ reflections on Billings, and genealogical information. Correspondence includes letters to, from, and about Billings. Writings include medical articles by Billings on a variety of topics including leukemia, anemia, pneumococcic infections, and heart disease. Clippings mostly relate to Billings’s time in Russia during World War I. Billings Medical Club material mostly includes meeting minutes. Miscellaneous material includes programs and Billings’s badge and pin from the Red Cross, 1896.  Pictures include photographs of Billings and others in Egypt, 1906; Japan, 1917; and other photographs.

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