Moments in Surgical History
May 1999

Crawford Williamson Long

Arch Surg. 1999;134(5):578. doi:10.1001/archsurg.134.5.578

SEVEN AMERICAN surgeons, including Ephraim McDowell, Charles and William Mayo, Charles Drew, Mary Walker, and Harvey Cushing have been honored by having their likenesses placed on US postage stamps. However, it was Crawford Long who became the country's first scalpel bearer so memorialized some 6 decades ago. Such lasting "first-time" esteem stands in contradistinction to earlier events in his life. Long was born in Danielsville, Ga, in 1815, was graduated from that state's university (1835), and then spent 1 year working under a medical preceptor at Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky. Moving to Philadelphia, he received a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1839, and immediately relocated to New York City where he worked for the next 18 months furthering his medical education and training in various hospitals and almshouses. Family commitments caused him to return to his native state, where he begana small-town practice in the village of Jefferson, Ga.