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Texas State Board of Medical Examiners Records

By Matt Richardson, Archivist and Special Collections Librarian

In a recent post, we shared the newly published finding aids for the archival collections of three prominent Houston doctors. Well, if three doctors aren’t enough for you—how about 6,000?

Powered by a tremendous effort from Archives Assistant Gina Leonard, the McGovern Historical Center has published a detailed guide to the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners Records. This massive collection totals 98 boxes, the bulk of which contain licensure records for Texas physicians. Thanks to Gina, the list of names has made the journey from archival folders to Microsoft Excel to our searchable archival management system. Next up? A screen near you!

Each of the 6,000+ individual folders in this collection bears the name and relevant dates for a physician licensed in the state of Texas between 1907 and 1972. Included are doctors who attended medical school in Texas, as well as others coming here from other states. Within each folder, you’ll find materials related to the physician’s license, such as applications for state examinations, registration cards, correspondence, and often photos.

For an example, check out Dr. William Augustus Richardson’s application from 1933.

William August Richardson, Texas State Board of Medical Examiners Applications, 1933
William August Richardson, Texas State Board of Medical Examiners Application, 1933, IC058-b74-f64-003

William August Richardson, Texas State Board of Medical Examiners Applications, 1933
William August Richardson, Texas State Board of Medical Examiners Application, 1933, IC058-b74-f64-003v
In addition, Dr. Richardson’s file also includes a registration card, a certified mail receipt, and the letter that accompanied his $25.50 examination fee.
William August Richardson, Letter to the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners, 1933, IC058-b74-f64-004
William August Richardson, Texas State Board of Medical Examiners Application, 1933, IC058-b74-f64-004

It’s worth noting that some biographical information from these files such as birthdates, places of birth, medical schools attended, and the like has been compiled in the Gazetteer of Deceased Texas Physicians. Still, there’s a whole lot more to dig through in this collection. For one thing, there is much more detailed information available in the medical examination application. On top of that, many of the files also feature supporting documents like recommendation letters, not to mention those photos. And, of course, you don’t need us to tell you that there’s nothing quite like handling the original documents.

Keeping in mind our interest in collections scattered across archives, we should point out that the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) also a set of records from the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners. Whereas our collection focuses on applications and other materials produced by individual physicians, TSLAC holds registers, fee books, and ledgers maintained by the Board.

Historians of medicine, genealogists, and record-keeping enthusiasts will find much to love about this extensive collection. Similarly, anyone studying the history of Texas, the evolution of professions and credentials, or migration from state-to-state would encounter both a wealth of personal stories and an abundance of data in these primary sources.