Moody Medical Library

Academic Resources | Blocker History of Medicine Collections

Hamilton A. West, MD (1849–1903)

Professor of Medicine

Dr. Hamilton A. West was the second child and the oldest son of nine children born to James T. and Isabella Atchinson West, of Russell's Cave, Fayette County, Kentucky. His grandfather, Dr. Charles West, was a physician and member of the Virginia Legislature. After a common-schooled education in the country school of the neighborhood, Dr. Hamilton West attended the largest university in the state, where he won the faculty medal for his thesis on "Thermometry of Disease". He graduated with the highest honors in his class from the Medical Department of the University of Louisville in 1872, and two years later came to Galveston City Hospital. He doctored Islanders for approximately twenty-five years.

As a member of the faculty of Texas Medical College and Hospital, which preceded the Medical Department, he played a major role in the establishment of the medical school opened in 1891, he was chosen as the first professor of principles and practice of medicine and clinical medicine. Critical and analytical, and a brilliant diagnostician, Dr. West was active in the Texas State Medical Association, as many of the faculty were. Dr. West was elected secretary of that organization in 1891, a position he held for the next ten or twelve years. During these years he promoted the reorganization of the Texas State Medical Association along the lines recommended by the American Medical Association.