Close

History of Anesthesia

The Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology (WLM) presents an interactive timeline of the history of anesthesia and the profession of anesthesiology.

Visitors to the WLM will first notice the visually spectacular timeline exhibit "From Darkness to Light." The massive 55-foot sweep is composed of anesthesia artifacts, images, text, and media that have all been arranged chronologically in a hierarchical format. The historical and organizational context provides viewers with a way to understand important milestone people, places, dates and developments associated with anesthesia and the anesthesiology profession as we know it today.

Newly Expanded Wood Library-Museum (WLM) of Anesthesiology Opens in Breathtaking New Schaumburg, IL Headquarters

"From Darkness to Light"
Anesthesia History Exhibit at the WLM

2015 Wood Library-Museum Update

Quicklinks:

 

 


ca. 4000 BCE

Opium Tin

Opium Tin

Opium

Opium

Sumerian artifacts depict opium poppy.

Resources

WLM Notecards:

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:


ca. 2250 BCE

Babylonians relieve toothache with henbane (Hyoscyamus niger).


ca. 1600 BCE

Moxibustion

Moxibustion

Acupuncture Model F

Acupuncture
Model F

Acupuncture Needles

Acupuncture Needles

Acupuncture is being practiced in China, according to Shang Dynasty pictographs on bones and turtle shells.

Resources

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:


ca. 1187 BCE

In Homer's Odyssey, the Greek goddess Circe uses deliriant herbs (Mandragora and/or Datura) in a brew to seemingly transform Odysseus' men into swine.


650 BCE - 393 AD

At the Oracle of Delphi, Apollo's Pythian priestesses utter prophecies after breathing in fumes emanating from geologic faultlines beneath the Temple to Apollo. One of the inhaled gases may have been ethylene, an inhalational anesthetic which will be popular clinically by the mid-1920s AD.


ca. 600 BCE

India's Sushruta uses cannabis vapors to sedate surgical patients. Over ensuing centuries, other herbs like aconitum would supplement that sedation in India and eventually in China.


ca. 400 BCE

Assyrians use carotid compression to produce brief unconsciousness before circumcision or cataract surgery. Egyptians employ the same technique for eye surgery.


ca. 350 BCE

Plato refers to ANAIΣΘHΣIA in his work Timaeus.


64

Dioscorides, a Greek surgeon in the Roman army of Emperor Nero, recommends mandrake boiled in wine to "cause the insensibility of those who are to be cut or cauterized."

Resources

Anesthesiology Journal Articles:


ca. 160

Hua Tuo (ca. 111 - 207 AD)

Hua Tuo (ca. 111 - 207 AD)

Hua Tuo (ca. 111 – 207 AD) performs surgery with his general anesthetic Mafeisan, a wine and herbal mixture.

Resources

ASA Newsletter Articles:


ca. 800 – ca. 1200s

McMunn's Elixir of Opium

McMunn's Elixir of Opium

After herbal mixtures including opium, mandrake, henbane, and/or hemlock are steeped into a soporific or sleep-bearing sponge ("spongia somnifera"), the sponge is dampened so that anesthetic vapors or drippings can be applied to a patient's nostrils. These sponges were likely historical cousins to the so-called Roman or Arabic sponges (used during crucifixions, surgeries, and other painful events).

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

Anesthesiology Reflections:

Back to Top


ca. 1350

Inca shamans chewed coca leaves mixed with vegetable ash and dripped their cocaine-laden saliva into the wounds of patients.


1525

Darwin Etherizes Venus Flytraps

Darwin Etherizes Venus Flytraps

Rare Books: Ether and Anesthesia

Rare Books: Ether and Anesthesia

Paracelsus (1493–1541)—First to use ether on animals.

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:


1540

Valerius Cordus

Cordus' Synthesis of Ether

Cordus' Synthesis of Ether

Ether

Ether

The Edison Etherizer

The Edison Etherizer

Gold-plated "Pender Lemon" Ether Device

Gold-plated "Pender Lemon"
Ether Device

German physician and botanist Valerius Cordus (1515–1544), synthesizes diethyl ether by distilling ethanol and sulphuric acid into what he called "sweet oil of vitriol."

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:


1659

Opium Tin

Opium Tin

Boyle, a Most Skeptical Chemist

Boyle, a Most Skeptical Chemist

Rare Books: Opium

Rare Books: Opium

The future "Sir Christopher Wren" and Anglo-Irish chemist Robert Boyle (1627–1691) pioneered intravenous therapy by injecting opium through a goose quill into a dog's vein.

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

Anesthesiology Reflections:


1771 - 1786

Rare Books: Nitrous Oxide-Oxygen Anesthesia

Rare Books: Nitrous Oxide-Oxygen
Anesthesia

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide

Scheele's Fire Air

Scheele's Fire Air

Joseph Priestley (1733–1804)—English chemist and natural philosopher, discovers "airs" of oxygen and nitrous oxide; the first to isolate oxygen.

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:


1779

Rare Books: Mesmerism and Animal Magnetism

Rare Books: Mesmerism and
Animal Magnetism

Franz Anton Mesmer (1734–1815)—In Mémoire sur la découverte du magnétisme animal, he describes using magnets and hypnosis to cure many ailments.

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:


July, 1800

Painting of Sir Humphry Davy

The "Reckless" Humphry Davy of J. A. Paris

The "Reckless" Humphry Davy
of J. A. Paris

Davy Medal

Davy Medal

Humphry Davy (1778–1829)—In his Researches..., Davy observes "As nitrous oxide in its extensive operation appears capable of destroying physical pain, it may probably be used with advantage during surgical operations in which no great effusion of blood takes place."

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:


1804

Japan's Hanaoka Seishu (1760-1835) formulates his general anesthetic Tsusensan.

Resources

ASA Newsletter Articles:


1805

Opium Tin

Opium Tin

Opium

Opium

Sertürner Crystallizes Morphine

Sertürner Crystallizes Morphine

Morphine

Morphine

Pharmacist Friedrich Sertürner (1783–1841)—Isolates a new substance from opium, which he later names "morphium" after Morpheus, the god of dreams.

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

Anesthesiology Reflections:


1824

Hickman Medal

Hickman Medal

Waters Hickman Medal

Henry Hill Hickman (1800-1830) describes carbon dioxide anesthesia for animals.

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:


1842

William Clarke (1819‐1908)—In Rochester, New York, a medical student etherizes a single patient for a dental extraction.

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:


Dr. Crawford W. Long Maquette

Portrait of Dr. Crawford W. Long Inscribed by Maude Long

Grandfather Crawford Long, M.D.

Grandfather Crawford Long, M.D.

The 2-cent Crawford Long Postage Stamp

The 2-cent Crawford Long
Postage Stamp

Dr. Crawford W. Long (1815-1878) etherizes James Venable for removal of neck cysts on March 30, 1842. Dr. Long would become honored as the 1st anesthesiologist on a US Postage stamp (1940) and as the inspiration for the 1st "National Doctors Day" on March 30, 1991.

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:


1845

Rare Books: Ether Controversy

Rare Books: Ether Controversy

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide

Dr. David Crary’s Calling Card

Dr. David Crary’s Calling Card

Nevius’ 1894 Discovery of Modern Anesthesia

Nevius’ 1894
Discovery of Modern Anesthesia

Dr. Horace Wells (1815-1848)-After bravely volunteering to inhale nitrous oxide for his own dental extraction back in December of 1844, Dr. Wells demonstrates nitrous oxide anesthesia for a tooth extraction near Massachusetts General Hospital, but the partial anesthetic is judged a "humbug."

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:


1846

"First Operation Under Ether" painting by Robert C. Hinckley

"First Operation Under Ether" painting
by Robert C. Hinckley. Courtesy of the Boston Medical
Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine

Ether Controversy

Ayerst Morton Inhaler Replica

Warren Medicine Chest

Warren Medicine Chest

Replica of Morton Inhaler

Replica of Morton Inhaler

Edward Gilbert Abbott

Edward Gilbert Abbott

Long, Wells, Morton, or Jackson?

Long, Wells, Morton, or Jackson?

On October 16, William T. G. Morton (1819-1868) made history by being first in the world to publicly and successfully demonstrate the use of ether anesthesia for surgery. This occurred at what came to be called "The Ether Dome," at Massachusetts General Hospital on patient Edward Gilbert Abbott. Surgeon John Collins Warren noted, "Gentlemen, this is no humbug." Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894)-suggests the terms "anaesthetic" and "anaesthesia" in a letter to William T. G. Morton. News of Morton's ether demonstration was carried by the paddle steamship Acadia from Boston to Dr. Francis Boott and then on to Dr. James Robinson (1813-1862), who extracted a tooth on December 19, 1846, under ether anesthesia. In 1847 Robinson authored one of the first textbooks on anesthesia: A Treatise on the Inhalation of the Vapour of Ether for the Prevention of Pain in Surgical Operations.* On December 21, Scottish surgeons in Dumfries, Scotland (Dr. William Scott) and in London (Dr. Robert Liston) amputate limbs of etherized patients- the first such surgical anesthetics in the British Isles. Liston commented, "This Yankee dodge beats mesmerism hollow." Dr. Liston describes the surgery in a letter to Dr. Francis Boott, which is published in The Lancet. The WLM owns this letter.

Resources

WLM Notecards:

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:

WLM Anesthesiologists' Famous Patients':


1847

Letter from James Y. Simpson to Fleetwood Churchill

Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP) Archives

Chloroform Drop Bottles

Chloroform Drop Bottles

Murphey Inhaler

Murphey Inhaler

Anesthetizing Enemy Sailors

Anesthetizing Enemy Sailors

Chloroforming or Etherizing Safecrackers

Chloroforming or Etherizing
Safecrackers

Prof. James Y. Simpson (1811-1870)-Scottish obstetrician begins administering chloroform to women for pain during childbirth. Chloroform quickly becomes a popular anesthetic for surgery and dental procedures as well. Chloroform was discovered independently in 1831 by the USA's Samuel Guthrie, France's Eugène Soubeiran, and Germany's Justus von Liebig.

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:

WLM Finding Aids:


1853

Pitkin Syringe

Pitkin Syringe

Record Syringe

Record Syringe

Drs. Charles Pravaz (1791-1853) and Alexander Wood (1817-1884)-These men independently invented the hollow hypodermic needle, which will be attached to an earlier invention, the syringe popularized in 1845 by Ireland's Francis Rynd.

Resources

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:


1853 & 1857

Snow Inhaler, Mark II

Rare Books: Obstetrical Anesthesia

Rare Books: Obstetrical Anesthesia

Rare Books: Chloroform and Anesthesia

Rare Books: Chloroform and
Anesthesia

Belskie’s 1971 Medallion of John Snow

Belskie's 1971 Medallion of John Snow

Snow Inhaler, Mark II

Snow Inhaler, Mark II

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

Dr. John Snow (1813-1858)-A fulltime anesthetist since 1847, Dr. Snow popularizes obstetric anesthesia by chloroforming Queen Victoria for the birth of Prince Leopold (1853) and Princess Beatrice (1857). His books On the Inhalation of the Vapour of Ether** and On Chloroform and Other Anaesthetics*** enlightened physician-anesthetists. His sourcing of the 1854 London cholera epidemic to the Broad Street water pump founded epidemiology.

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:

WLM Finding Aids:

WLM Anesthesiologists' Famous Patients':


1863

The Lazare Anaesthesia Apron

The Lazare Anaesthesia Apron

Colton's Laughing Gas Broadside

Colton's Laughing Gas Broadside

S.S. White's Poster for the Centennial Exhibition of 1876

S.S. White's Poster for the Centennial
Exhibition of 1876

"Professor" Gardner Quincy Colton (1814-1898) of the Cooper Institute in New York reintroduces nitrous oxide.

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

Anesthesiology Reflections:


1868

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide

The History of Anesthesiology Reprint Series: Part 20 - Surgeons and Their Contributions to Anesthesia

The History of
Anesthesiology
Reprint Series:
Part 20 - Surgeons
and Their
Contributions to
Anesthesia

The History of Anesthesiology Reprint Series: Part 11 - Nitrous Oxide

The History of
Anesthesiology
Reprint Series:
Part 11 - Nitrous
Oxide

Dr. Edmund Andrews (1824-1904) of Chicago proposes using nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen as an anesthetic in the Chicago Medical Examiner.

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:


1884

A "Cocaine Paperweight" from C.F. Boehringer & Soehne

A "Cocaine Paperweight" from
C.F. Boehringer & Soehne

Cocaine

Cocaine

Fourneau Synthesizes Stovaine

Fourneau Synthesizes Stovaine

A Tin of Borate-Menthol-Cocaine Dragées by Dalloz

A Tin of Borate-Menthol-Cocaine
Dragées by Dalloz

Dr. Karl Koller (1857-1944)-Viennese ophthalmologist and colleague of Sigmund Freud, introduces cocaine as an anesthetic for eye surgery.

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

Anesthesiology Reflections:


The History of Anesthesiology Reprint Series: Part 14 - The Introduction of Local Anesthesia

The History of
Anesthesiology
Reprint Series:
Part 14 - The
Introduction of
Local Anesthesia

Dr. William S. Halsted uses cocaine (1852-1922) for the first regional (mandibular or jaw) nerve block with cocaine.

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

WLM Finding Aids:


1889

At the Philadelphia College of Dentistry, Henry I. Dorr, MD, DDS was appointed as the world's 1st Professor of the Practice of Dentistry, Anaesthetics and Anaesthesia. The world's 1st unidisciplinary "Professors of Anaesthesia" will follow in dentistry at Chicago's American College of Dental Surgery (1892, George Leininger, MD) and in medicine at the New York Homeopathic Medical College (1903, T. Drysdale Buchanan, MD).

Resources

Anesthesiology Journal Articles:


1891

The Final Dental and Surgical Microcosm

The Final Dental and Surgical
Microcosm

From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, The Dental and Surgical Microcosm is published as the world's first journal "devoted chiefly to the science of Anaesthesia and Anaesthetics."

Resources

Anesthesiology Reflections:


1893

The London Society of Anaesthetists, the world's first anesthesia society, is formed in London, England.


1894

Davis Inhaler

Davis Inhaler

Riva-Rocci Sphygmomanometer

Riva-Rocci Sphygmomanometer

The 45-cent Harvey Cushing Stamp

The 45-cent Harvey Cushing Stamp

Cushing, Riva-Rocci and Intraoperative Blood Pressure

Cushing, Riva-Rocci and Intraoperative
Blood Pressure

Medical students E. Amory Codman (1869-1940) and Harvey Cushing (1869-1939)-develop the first anesthesia record using observed respiratory rate and palpated pulse rate. By 1901, Cushing will add blood pressure measurement by Riva Rocci sphygmomanometry; by 1903, respiratory rate and heart rate as auscultated by precordial stethoscope (use of which was pioneered by Cushing on dogs and by his favorite physician-anesthetist, S. Griffith Davis, on patients).

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:


1898

Pitkin Tiltometer

Pitkin Tiltometer

Cocaine

Cocaine

The End of the Road for "Huron Road"

The End of the Road for "Huron Road"

Pitkin Syringe

Pitkin Syringe

Dr. August Bier (1861-1949)-Conducts the first spinal anesthetic using cocaine; 10 years later, he popularized the intravenous regional ("Bier") block.

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

Anesthesiology Reflections:

WLM Finding Aids:


1901

Caudal epidural analgesia is described independently by France's Drs. Jean-Anthanase Sicard and Fernand Cathelin. Their innovation comes after an inadvertent epidural injection by Dr. J. Leonard Corning (1855-1923).

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:


1902

Dr. Seifert's letter to Dr. Paul Wood

Dr. Seifert's letter to
Dr. Paul Wood

Dr. Mathias J. Seifert of Chicago coins the words "anesthesiology" and "anesthesiologist." He asserted that an "ANESTHETIST" is a technician and an "ANESTHESIOLOGIST" is the scientific authority on anesthesia and anesthetics.

Resources

WLM Archives:


Chloroform Drop Bottles

Chloroform Drop Bottles

Hewitt Airway

Hewitt Airway

Thomas A.C.E. Bottle

Thomas A.C.E. Bottle

Hewitt Wide-Bore Inhaler

Hewitt Wide-Bore Inhaler

Dr. Frederic W. Hewitt administers a chloroform-ether mixture to the future King Edward VII. Perhaps tugging on the portly prince's beard (to keep the royal airway open) inspired Hewitt by 1908 to design his oral "air-way."

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:


1905

Erdmann's Life Membership No. 1 in the ASA

Erdmann's Life Membership No. 1
in the ASA

Erdmann Certificate

Erdmann Certificate

The McMechans Telegram Erdmann on October 17, 1930

The McMechans Telegram Erdmann
on October 17, 1930

Dr. A. Frederick Erdmann (1867-1953)-Founds the Long Island Society of Anesthetists (LISA), the first professional anesthesia society in the USA. (LISA membership starts as 9 total.)

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

Anesthesiology Reflections:

WLM Finding Aids:


Novocain

Novocain

Alfred Einhorn (1857-1917)-German chemist develops procaine and names the substance "Novocain."

Resources

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:


1911

The History of Anesthesiology Reprint Series: Volume 26 - Anesthesia Organizations

The History of
Anesthesiology
Reprint Series:
Volume 26 -
Anesthesia
Organizations

The Long Island Society is renamed the New York Society of Anesthetists (NYSA). (NYSA membership reaches 23 in 1911.)

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Finding Aids:


1914

Gwathmey-Woolsey Apparatus

Gwathmey-Woolsey Apparatus

Gwathmey Expanding Airway

Gwathmey Expanding Airway

Yankauer-Gwathmey Masks

Yankauer-Gwathmey Masks

Gwathmey Mask

Gwathmey Mask

The 1st of 2 editions of Anesthesia, the USA's first such comprehensive textbook, is published by Dr. James T. Gwathmey, the 1912 NYSA President.

Resources

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:


A Rural Scene by Dennis Jackson

A Rural Scene by Dennis Jackson

Jackson CO2 Absorber

Jackson CO2 Absorber

Dr. Dennis E. Jackson develops a carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbing anesthesia system, allowing for a patient to re-breathe their exhaled air containing the anesthetic, cleansed of the carbon dioxide, resulting in the use of less anesthetic and the avoidance of waste. Ten years later, Dr. Ralph Waters develops the first simple and easily transportable absorber, known as the "Waters Canister" and the "Waters To-and-Fro."

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

Anesthesiology Reflections:

WLM Multimedia Collection:


1916

Flagg Endotracheal Tube

Flagg Endotracheal Tube

The 1st of 7 editions of The Art of Anaesthesia is published by Dr. Paluel J. Flagg, the 1919-1920 ASA President.

Resources

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:


1920

Dr. Guedel's "Old Gray Mare"

Dr. Guedel's "Old Gray Mare"

Guedel Airways

Guedel Airways

Arthur Guedel publishes his eye signs of ether anesthesia in the American Journal of Surgery. His Guedel (oral) airway is still used today, and he has been memorialized by the Arthur E. Guedel Memorial Anesthesia Center, San Francisco, CA.

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:


1922

Wood Loving Cup

Wood Loving Cup

From Cleveland, Ohio, Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia is launched by Francis H. "Frank" McMechan (1879-1939) as the world's first journal published by an anesthesia society, the International Anesthesia Research Society.

Resources

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:


1923

Herb-Mueller Apparatus

Herb-Mueller Apparatus

Arno Luckhardt Archives

Dr. Isabella Herb administers the first ethylene-oxygen surgical anesthetic. She demonstrated the remarkable trance-like state that low-dose ethylene could induce in human subjects.

Resources

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

WLM Finding Aids:


1927

Diaries of Noel Gillespie

Cyclopropane

Cyclopropane

Waters Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Absorber

Waters Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Absorber

Thiopental

Thiopental

Hickman Medal

Hickman Medal

Dr. Ralph M. Waters arrives at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. From there he will train his anesthesia residents (Waters' trainees were affectionately known as "Aqualumni") in one of the world's 1st university-based residency training programs in anesthesiology. Waters also will pioneer carbon dioxide absorbing apparatus (To-and-Fro Canister), will clinically introduce intravenous sodium thiopental and inhalational anesthetic cyclopropane, and will become the ASA President in 1945.

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:

WLM Finding Aids:


1929

Pentothal and Pearl Harbor

Pentothal and the Pacific Front

Lundy Rochester Model Machine

Lundy Rochester Model Machine

Thiopental

Thiopental

Pontocaine (tetracaine)

Pontocaine (tetracaine)

The Anaesthetists' Travel Club is organized by Dr. John S. Lundy, who will popularize use of the intravenous anesthetic thiopental (Pentothal) and will become the ASA President in 1946. The popularity of thiopental-as a swift-onset intravenous agent for inducing general anesthesia-will pave the way for other totally unrelated intravenous induction agents, such as ketamine, etomidate, and propofol.

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

WLM Finding Aids:

WLM Multimedia Collection:


1933

Paul Meyer Wood, M.D. Archives

Listen to a lecture given by Dr. Wood in 1955 - The History of Anesthesia Apparatus

Portrait of Paul M. Wood, M.D.

Portrait of Paul M. Wood, M.D.

Avertin Kit

Avertin Kit

From Print to Web: The Wood Library-Museum Seal

From Print to Web: The Wood
Library-Museum Seal

Wood, Bickley, and Avertin

Wood, Bickley, and Avertin

To the NYSA (the future ASA), Dr. Paul M. Wood formally donates his personal collections, which form the basis of his future namesake, the Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology.

Resources

WLM Feature:

WLM Archives:

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:


1935

Cyclopropane

Cyclopropane

The History of Anesthesiology Reprint Series: Volume 24 - The Rovenstine Lectures, part 2

The History of
Anesthesiology
Reprint Series:
Volume 24 -
The Rovenstine
Lectures, part 2

The History of Anesthesiology Reprint Series: Volume 23 - The Rovenstine Lectures, part 1

The History of
Anesthesiology
Reprint Series:
Volume 23 -
The Rovenstine
Lectures, part 1

Dr. Emery A. Rovenstine arrives at Bellevue Hospital in New York to establish a premiere residency there. Having co-pioneered in the 1930s the use of cyclopropane and punch-card databases of his anesthesia cases, he co-founds the American Board of Anesthesiology and New York's PostGraduate Assembly in Anesthesiology. He will serve as the 1943-1944 ASA President and will receive the ASA's Distinguished Service Award in 1957.

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

WLM Finding Aids:


1936

American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Archives

The New York Society of Anesthetists is renamed the American Society of Anesthetists. (The ASA's membership reaches 487 in 1936.)

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

WLM Finding Aids:


1937

Macintosh Gown

Macintosh Gown

Macintosh Laryngoscope (Prototype)

Macintosh Laryngoscope (Prototype)

Prof. Robert R. Macintosh-Appointed to the world's 1st endowed chair in Anaesthetics, Oxford's Nuffield Professor Macintosh would introduce his curved laryngoscope blade- the world's favorite- in 1943 and be knighted in 1955 for redesigning aviators' life jackets.

Resources

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

WLM Multimedia Collection:


1940

The History of Anesthesiology Reprint Series: Volume 26 - Anesthesia Organizations

The History of
Anesthesiology
Reprint Series:
Volume 26 -
Anesthesia
Organizations

The History of Anesthesiology Reprint Series: Part 19 - Anesthesia Journals

The History of
Anesthesiology
Reprint Series:
Part 19 -
Anesthesia Journals

Two years after forming as a subsidiary to the American Board of Surgery and the year after administering its first written examination, the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) is granted independent board status. The ABA helped define anesthesiology as a medical specialty and provided the American medical establishment with formal recognition of physicians specializing in the art and science of anesthesia. An ABA founder, Dr. Paul M. Wood also serves as Business Manager for Anesthesiology, the journal that the ASA begins publishing in July of 1940.

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Finding Aids:

WLM Multimedia Collection:


1941

The History of Anesthesiology Reprint Series: Part 21 - Views of Our Specialty

The History of
Anesthesiology
Reprint Series:
Part 21 -
Views of Our
Specialty

Henry K. Beecher, MD- After his appointment to the USA's first endowed chair in anesthesiology as Harvard's Henry Isaiah Dorr Professor of Anaesthesia Research, Prof. Beecher will pioneer understanding of medical ethics, patient consent, clinical trials, the placebo effect, and "brain death."

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

WLM Multimedia Collection:


The ASA develops a classification for patient's physical status before surgery that alerts the medical team to patient's overall health. The ASA Physical Status Classification System is now used in hospitals all around the world.

Resources

American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA):


Robert A. Hingson Archives

Hingson Field Unit

Hingson Field Unit

Hingson Peace Gun

Hingson Peace Gun

Dr. Robert Hingson develops Continuous Caudal Anesthesia, an innovation in obstetrical anesthesia that provides continuous pain relief for prolonged or difficult labor. In 1958, Dr. Hingson starts Brother's Brother, a nonprofit charity for supplying medical, educational, and agricultural supplies worldwide. His needle-free "Peace Guns" would mass-immunize millions by jet injection and would be featured as the "Hypospray" in Star Trek and many science fiction films.

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

WLM Finding Aids:

WLM Multimedia Collection:


1942

Waterton Riding the Cayman

Waterton Riding the Cayman

Curare

Curare

Drs. Harold Griffith (1894-1985) and Enid Johnson (1909-2001)
Squibb's Lewis H. Wright, MD supplied pharmaceutical grade curare to Drs. Griffith and Johnson for the world's 1st successful anesthetic use of the muscle relaxant. The curare had been received by Squibb in raw form in 1939 following Ecuadorean expeditions by Richard C. Gill (1901-1958).

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

Anesthesiology Reflections:

WLM Multimedia Collection:


1944

Lidocaine

Lidocaine

Sweden's Torsten Gordh, MD (1907-2010) clinically introduces lidocaine as a local anesthetic.

Resources

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

WLM Multimedia Collection:


1945

Picrotoxin

Picrotoxin

Nikethamide

Nikethamide

After receiving the 1st Distinguished Service Award of the newly renamed American Society of Anesthesiologists, Wood Library-Museum Founder Paul M. Wood announced his plans for New York's 1st PostGraduate Assembly in Anesthesiology (PGA). (ASA membership reaches 1,977 in 1945.)

Resources

WLM Archives:

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

WLM Finding Aids:


1953

Virginia Apgar Archives

Women Anesthetists During WWII

The 20-cent Virginia Apgar Stamp

The 20-cent Virginia Apgar Stamp

Apgar Clipboard

Apgar Clipboard

Dr. Virginia Apgar (1909-1974)-Publishes now-universal APGAR Score to assess the health of newborns. She will direct the precursor to the March of Dimes and will be honored (1994) as the 1st female anesthesiologist to grace a U.S. postage stamp.

Resources

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:

WLM Finding Aids:


The History of Anesthesiology Reprint Series: Volume 28 - Pain: Perspective and Trends

The History of
Anesthesiology
Reprint Series:
Volume 28 -
Pain: Perspective
and Trends

Dr. John J. Bonica (1917-1994)- A masterwork on multidisciplinary approaches for relieving pain, The Management of Pain is published by Dr. John J. Bonica, who would become the 1966 ASA President.

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

WLM Multimedia Collection:


1954

How the War Shaped American Anesthesiology

Drs. Henry Beecher and Donald Todd publish "Deaths Associated with Anesthesia and Surgery," reporting their research findings on perioperative mortality.

Resources

WLM Multimedia Collection:


1955

World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) Archives

The World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) was constituted at the first World Congress of Anaesthesiologists (WCA) in Scheveningen, the Netherlands in 1955.

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:


1956

Halothane

Halothane

Goldman Vaporizer

Goldman Vaporizer

Siker Laryngoscope

Siker Laryngoscope

The UK's Dr. Michael Johnstone clinically introduces halothane, the first modern-day brominated general anesthetic. The USA's 1st uses of halothane would follow by Drs. C. Ronald Stephen and then E. S. "Rick" Siker, who would become the 1973 ASA President.

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

WLM Multimedia Collection:


Anesthesia Foundation Archives

In memory of 5 fallen anesthetic pioneers, the ASA founds the Anesthesia (Memorial) Foundation to "loan or give money to deserving persons to assist them in becoming specialists in anesthesia or for research or study in the field of anesthesia..."

Resources

WLM Finding Aids:


1958

The History of Anesthesiology Reprint Series: Part 15 - Uptake and Distribution of Inhalation Anesthetics

The History of
Anesthesiology
Reprint Series:
Part 15 -
Uptake and
Distribution of
Inhalation
Anesthetics

John W. Severinghaus developed a complete gas apparatus by combining his practical version of Stow's CO2 electrode with Clark's pO2 electrode.

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Multimedia Collection:


1960

The History of Anesthesiology Reprint Series: Volume 27 - Ideas That Failed

The History of
Anesthesiology
Reprint Series:
Volume 27 -
Ideas That Failed

Drs. Joseph Artusio, Alan van Poznak et al. begin human trials of the inhalational anesthetic methoxyflurane.

Resources

WLM Library - Free eBooks:

WLM Multimedia Collection:


1963

Dr. Edmond I. Eger, II describes minimum alveolar concentration (MAC), later characterized as "the concentration [of inhaled anesthetic] producing immobility in 50% of patients subjected to a noxious stimulus."

Resources

WLM Multimedia Collection:


Wood Loving Cup

Wood Loving Cup

Paul Wood, M.D. 1894 - 1963

Paul Wood, M.D. 1894 - 1963

Dr. Paul M. Wood passes away and his namesake Wood Library-Museum opens 6 months later in a 2-story annex to the ASA's one-story headquarters on Busse Highway in Park Ridge, Illinois.

Resources

WLM Feature:

WLM Archives:

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:


1964

Dr. Günter Corssen et al. begin human trials of the dissociative intravenous anesthetic ketamine.


1966

Dr. Robert Virtue et al. begin human trials of the inhalational anesthetic enflurane.


1969

The ASA launches the Self-Evaluation Program, the first in a series of educational initiatives for members. Renamed the Self-Education and Evaluation Program (SEE) by 1979, this initiative provides a self-assessment which practitioners could complete at their own convenience. SEE enables anesthesiologists to gain an objective measure of their professional knowledge and provides guidance for continuing education. By 2004, the Anesthesiology Continuing Education Program (ACE) was launched. ACE facilitates lifelong learning by allowing practitioners to assess their status of knowledge, identify any areas of improvement, and prepare for the written anesthesiology recertification examination.

Resources

American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA):


1970

Dr. J. Antonio Aldrete publishes his "Postanesthetic Recovery Score."

Resources

WLM Multimedia Collection:


1972

Isoflurane

Isoflurane

Isoflurane is clinically introduced as an inhalational anesthetic.

Resources

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:


1985

Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) Archives

The Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) is founded by the ASA.

Resources

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:


Rare Books: Technique of Intubation

Rare Books: Technique of Intubation

Dr. S. R. Mallampati publishes a study validating a clinical sign for predicting difficult tracheal intubation.

Resources

WLM Rare Book Room - Digital Copies of Titles:


1986

Lessons in Patient Safety and Equipment Standardization from WWII

Kirschbaum's Oxygen Content Controller

Kirschbaum's Oxygen Content Controller

Safety and Monitoring

Safety and Monitoring

The ASA approves the first medical standard-of-care for basic intraoperative monitoring. In subsequent years, the ASA promulgates evidence-based Practice Parameters and Standards, Guidelines, and Statements.

Resources

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

ASA Newsletter Articles:

Anesthesiology Reflections:

American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA):


The Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) is founded by the ASA.


1990

The Overseas Anesthesia Teaching Program (OTP) is founded by Dr. Nicholas M. Greene. Later, the Global Humanitarian Outreach Program (GHO) encourages volunteerism, supports anesthesia education and training in low- and middle-income countries, advocates for long-term academic partnership with hospitals and universities in countries of need, and collaborates with organizations, institutions, and initiatives with common missions and philosophies. In 2011, the ASA awards the first NICHOLAS M. GREENE, M.D. AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING HUMANITARIAN CONTRIBUTION.

Resources

WLM Multimedia Collection:


1992

Ohmeda TEC 6 Vaporizer

Ohmeda TEC 6 Vaporizer

Desflurane is clinically introduced as an inhalational anesthetic.

Resources

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:


1993

The ASA publishes its first Difficult Airway Algorithm, specifying a safe and systematic approach to assisted ventilation in patients under general anesthesia.

Resources

ASA Newsletter Articles:


1994

Isoflurane

Isoflurane

Sevoflurane is clinically introduced as an inhalational anesthetic.

Resources

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:


The ASA establishes an online presence for communication with members and the public. A website will coalesce into www.asahq.org.


1999

The Horton Intercoupler

The Horton Intercoupler

Safety & Monitoring

Safety & Monitoring

In its report To Err is Human, the Institute of Medicine lauds the efforts of anesthesiologists in improving patient safety.

Resources

WLM Online Museum Exhibits:

Anesthesiology Reflections:


2000-2012

MOCA Logo

MOCA Logo

Starting in 2000, Maintenance of Certification (MOCA) begins for newly-minted Diplomates of the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA). Over the next dozen years, individual ASA members and then a formal ASA committee work with the ABA to establish a Simulation Education Network (SEN) to assist in educating and certifying anesthesiologists in their medical specialty.


2009

The Anesthesia Quality Institute (AQI) is founded by the ASA.


2011

The ASA Charitable Foundation is established.


2012

The Heritage of Anesthesia - Notes

The Irish Connections of Patrick Sim, M.L.S.

The Irish Connections of Patrick Sim, M.L.S.

The Heritage of Anesthesia: Patrick Sim's Annotated Bibliography of the Rare Book Collection of the Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology

The Heritage of
Anesthesia: Patrick
Sim's Annotated
Bibliography of the
Rare Book Collection
of the Wood Library-
Museum of
Anesthesiology

Publication of The Heritage of Anesthesia: Patrick Sim's Annotated Bibliography of the Rare Book Collection of the Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology. From 1971-2010, Patrick Sim, MLS had worked as the sole and then the senior librarian at the ASA's Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology. (The ASA's membership reaches 50,023 in 2012.)

Resources

WLM Books:

Anesthesiology Reflections:

WLM Multimedia Collection:


2013

As its membership numbers pass 50,000, the ASA breaks ground for its Schaumburg, Illinois complex.

Resources

American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA):


2014

Newly Expanded Wood Library-Museum (WLM) of Anesthesiology Opens in Breathtaking New Schaumburg, IL Headquarters

Newly Expanded Wood Library-Museum
(WLM) of Anesthesiology Opens in
Breathtaking New Schaumburg, IL
Headquarters

The ASA moves into its new Schaumburg, Illinois complex.

Resources

American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA):

WLM Press Releases:

 

Multimedia Museum Exhibit Photo Gallery:


Website Development by EdensWorks, Inc.