Moody Medical Library

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Diary of Thomas Sealy
Cover of Diary of Thomas Sealy

Thomas Richard Sealy (1880-1939) passed away when he was only fifty years old. Many of his patients and friends attributed his death to the 16 to 18 hours a day that he often spent on duty without rest.

He was born in Lexington, Texas on February 29, 1880. In 1900, Dr. Sealy volunteered for service in the Spanish American War. Shortly after his return to the U.S., he enrolled in medical school at the Medical Department of the University of Texas, graduating in 1904. Dr. Sealy then began working towards his goal of one day opening a hospital.

His practice in Santa Anna, Texas grew and in 1917 he finally reached his goal–the establishment of his own hospital. However, shortly after opening the Sealy Hospital, he again volunteered to serve during World War I. Dr. Sealy was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the medical corps and he graduated from the medical officers training camp with honors in 1917, he was sent overseas in charge of a hospital. In May, 1918, he was promoted to captain and a year later promoted to major.

Dr. Sealy maintained a diary during his enlistment and documented many of the difficulties of war. His entry on September 19, 1918 read: “This has been an awful day. A storm has been raging all day and is still raging. I am so [sick]. I have to stay in my state room. This is a good ship to stay on top in this storm. It is very interesting to see that little U.S. destroyer [take] this rough weather; it pitches like mustang pony.”

By the next month his regiment had reached its destination and on October 10, 1918 his mood had improved as his entry read: “Received my first letter since arriving from the dear old U.S.A. It was from my dear sweet wife. The dearest woman in the world.”

Upon his return in July, 1919, Dr. Sealy reopened the Sealy Hospital. Seven years later he doubled the size of the institution in addition to founding the Sealy Hospital School of Nursing. In 1928 he further enhanced the facility by building a ten-thousand dollar nurses’ home.

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Note: PDF includes image scans of handwritten document. For assistance with reading the contents of this document, please contact Kelly Caldwell, Archivist, by email or call (409)772-2397.