Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)

Degree Level





Daniel E. Sutherland

Committee Member

Jeanie Whayne

Second Committee Member

Patrick G. Williams

Third Committee Member

Trish Starks


Cultural History, Flexner, Medical Education, Medical History, Progressive Era, Southern Medicine


While the professionalization of medicine in the nineteenth century hinged on community trust, faculty at Southern medical schools hurt their own reputations with their proprietary schools, their public rivalries, and their competition for clinical material and cadavers. Attempts to regulate medical schools also became fodder for doctors to slander each other, all arguing that their methodologies and their schools were superior. This fierce competition resulted from the constant need to lure in more students to ensure these schools’ survival, but it hurt the reputation of doctors as a whole, convincing the public that one doctor seemed just as incompetent and quarrelsome as another. The competition for cadavers also damaged the relationship between African Americans and medical schools. The Flexner Report, published in 1910 by the Carnegie Foundation, exposed flaws in these schools which required money and state absorption to fix, and many schools did not survive the obstacles that they themselves had exacerbated.