NEXT MEETING: April 20, 2017
Reception at 6:30 p.m. Meeting at 7:00 p.m.
Emmet O’Neal Library, Mountain Brook
SPEAKER: James Lowery
TOPIC: Birmingham Mineral Railroad
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r. Sam Webb, who now serves as professor emeritus in UAB’s Dept. of History, retired in 2010.
Dr. Webb has authored a number of publications, most prominently in The Journal of Southern History and his book Two-Party Politics in the One-Party South: Alabama’s Hill Country 1874–1920. He co-edited the book Alabama Governors: A Political History of the State and is internationally known for his scholarly work in the fields of American political history, the New South and American legal history.
Webb earned his PhD from the University of Arkansas and joined UAB in 1988 as an instructor. He became associate professor of history with tenure in 1997 and has served on a number of committees, including the UAB Archive Committee, Teaching Award Committee and Tenure and Promotion Committee for Associate Professors.
His presentation on the late Sen. Lister Hill will include the senator’s noteworthy efforts to improve the American health care system including his namesake legislation, the Hill‑Burton Act.
hope all of you are happily saying goodbye to winter and looking forward to the fine program that Vice President/Program Chairman Tom Carruthers has lined up for our April meeting. Sam Webb’s talk on Lister Hill and the role he played in the adoption of minimum wage legislation should provide a most thought-provoking\evening. I hope all of you are planning to attend.
The Birmingham History Center opened to the public its Enduring Business Exhibit on March 14. This exhibit is honoring companies in Jefferson County that are at least 75 years old; it is interactive and open for additions. Please plan to attend and if you are not a member of the BHC, please consider joining. The Center is one of our projects and it needs our support.
On a board note, member Tom West along with Scott Mauldin has been filming made-for-TV spots for Mt. Brook Television (MBTV) on our historical markers in and around Mt. Brook. Two are done with more to come. Please give Tom a big thank you.
Once again, there is a dues notice in this edition. Only about 30% of the membership has paid for 2012 and the board would really appreciate getting in the rest in a timely fashion. The board deeply appreciates your dues support as they support our many historical projects as well as our outstanding programs each quarter. We don’t want to lose members for non-payment. Dues become delinquent on June 1. If you are unsure of your status, please call Harry Bradford at 205-871-7739.
I will not be at the April meeting as I will be in the South Pacific in the Solomon Islands looking for myzomelas, flowerpiercers, sea-eagles and tropical birds to name a few. You will be in the able hands of Tom Carruthers. Happy spring! See you in July.
— ALICE WILLIAMS
2012 DUES ARE NOW DUE • CLICK TO OPEN RENEWAL FORM
The Jefferson County Historical Association is dedicated to preserving and publicizing local history through regular meetings, publications and events. Founded in 1975 to promote historical preservation efforts, the society has grown to more than 400 members.
Alice McSpadden Williams
Thomas N. Carruthers, Jr.
George L. Jenkins
Harry E. Bradford
Paul H. Earle
J. Morgan Smith
Richard J. Stockham
James F. Sulzby, Jr.
S. Vincent Townsend
Board of Directors:
Cathy Criss Adams
Craig Allen, Jr.
Thomas E. Badham
Jeanne B. Bradford
Herbert F. Griffin
Judy S. Haise
Ann B. Hillhouse
Robert R. Kracke
Carolyn H. Reich
Barbara (Babs) Simpson
Edward W. Stevenson, MD
Thomas M. West, Jr.
J. Morgan Smith
Margaret D. Sizemore
Elmer C. Thuston, Jr.
Tillman W. Pugh
William A. Price
Thomas M. West, Jr.
Madge D. Jackson
Thad G. Long
Don G. Watkins
Fred M. Jackson III
Thomas O. Caldwell, MD
Charles A. Speir
Craig Allen, Jr.
Edward W. Stevenson, MD
n 1910 Highland Avenue was Birmingham’s grandest residential boulevard, with almost 100 significant residences, homes to the city’s business, civic and social leaders. As early as the 1920's commercial encroachment led to the street’s decline, and spot zoning in the 1950's and 1960's resulted in mansions giving way to poorly designed apartment complexes and low end retail. Today, less than a dozen of Highland’s signature homes remain.
Board Member Cathy Adams is currently completing ten years of research into the lost architectural legacy of this landmark street and seeking any relevant photos, family information and anecdotes relating to Highland Avenue’s heyday in the two decades before and after the turn of the 20th century. If you have materials or stories pertinent to this book project please contact Cathy at 205-918-0877 or Email
Please send letters and notices to the editor via Email:
or mail to:
112 Meadow Croft Circle, Birmingham, AL 35242
—by: Bill Weaver, PhD
labamians are indebted to Dr. Lawrence Reynolds for his many gifts to the state, none more important nor more valuable than his extensive medical history collection given to the Medical School of his alma mater, the University of Alabama. This is a story of an Alabamian who remembered his home state even when he was so strongly encouraged to reward other areas.
Born in Skipperville (near Ozark in Dale County), he became interested in medicine through reading medical texts to his physician father who had become blind. After graduating from Ozark High School in 1907, he entered the University of Alabama, receiving his degree there in 1911. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, he entered medical school at Johns Hopkins University, then, as now, one of the most prestigious institutions in the nation.
It was at Johns Hopkins that Reynolds came in contact with and was inspired by several of the luminaries in medicine who were on the faculty there. As were all students during their medical education, Reynolds was exposed to all fields of medicine, but he became enamored with a field that was just getting started: radiology. Before completing his radiology residency at Hopkins and shortly before the U.S. entered World War I, he volunteered for the armed forces. In this role, he helped to install the earliest x-ray equipment in the American Hospital in Paris, and, as is common for physicians in the military during wartime, he obtained an extraordinary amount of x-ray experience.
Following his military service, Reynolds returned to Hopkins, completed his radiology residency, and accepted a position on the Hopkins faculty. However, he was soon lured to Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and to join the radiology faculty at Harvard Medical School. It was there that he became a friend of Dr. Harvey Cushing, famous physician and medical history enthusiast.
In 1922, Reynolds left Boston and joined a Detroit radiology group headed by a physician with whom he had worked during his military time in Europe. Not long thereafter, he became a leader in the radiological society and also associate editor of its journal. His practice in Detroit, which lasted from 1922 until his death in 1961, combined with having no family to support, permitted him to have the financial resources for purchasing rare medical books and other medically-related items.
By the mid-1950’s, he had amassed one of the world’s finest private collections of rare and important books on the history of the medical sciences. His collection was coveted by several institutions including, but not limited to Yale University, Wayne State University, and the University of Michigan. Fortunately for Alabama, his strong allegiance to his home state, its university and its medical school prevailed. The story about where he chose to have his collection reside, along with a brief listing of some of the collection’s most valuable contents, will appear in the next issue of this newsletter.
Editor’s Note: This article was extracted from Bill Weaver and Mary Claire Britt, "Dr. Lawrence Reynolds and His Medical History Collection", The Alabama Journal of Medical Sciences, Vol. 21, No. 3 (July 1984), pp. 311-317.