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Mon, 01.18.1858

Daniel Hale Williams, Surgeon born

Daniel H. Williams

Daniel Hale Williams was born on this date in 1858. He was a Black physician and surgeon.

Born in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, Williams worked his way through Janesville Classical Academy as a barber and bass violinist.  In 1893, he received a medical degree from Chicago Medical College, now part of Northwestern University.  While still a medical student, Williams founded Provident Hospital, the first Chicago hospital with Blacks on staff.

In 1893, a man was brought to Provident Hospital with a deep knife wound in his chest. Williams opened the man’s chest and observed that the knife had punctured the sac surrounding the heart.  He repaired the tear and closed the chest. The patient recovered fully, the first successful open-heart surgery in America.

Daniel Hale Williams was appointed to the staff of Chicago’s St. Luke’s Hospital in 1907, where he continued to practice surgery until his death. He became a charter member of the American College of Surgeons when it was founded in 1913, the first Black surgeon admitted to that organization.

Daniel Williams, African America's first Black cardiologist, died on August 4, 1931, in Idlewild, Michigan.

To become a Doctor


The life of Daniel Hale Williams
By Judith Kaye
New York, Twenty-First Century Books, ©1993
ISBN: 080502302X

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