Crawford W. Long collection, 1842-1992, undated

Emory University

Historical Collections

Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library

1462 Clifton Road, NE

Atlanta, GA 30322


Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/gsgc1

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Long, Crawford Williamson, 1815-1878.
Title: Crawford W. Long collection, 1842-1992, undated
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 008
Extent: 1 linear ft. (3 boxes)
Abstract:Contains original manuscripts, reproduced correspondence, writings and speeches about Long, reproduced photographs, and two framed items.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Separated Material

Portions of the Crawford Long Collection have been removed and are on permanent display in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library.


[after identification of item(s)], Crawford W. Long Collection, Historical Collections, Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library, Emory University.


Processed by Clayton McGahee, 2014.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Born in Danielsville, Georgia in 1815, Crawford Williamson Long attended the Franklin College in Athens, now the University of Georgia, at the age of fourteen, earning his Master of Arts five years later. His roommate in college was Alexander H. Stephens, also a Georgia native who would later become the Vice President of the Confederate States of America. After a year of teaching at the Danielsville Academy, Long enrolled in the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, where he would earn his M. D. in 1839. Two years later at the age of 26, Long returned to Georgia where he purchased a medical office in Jefferson, Georgia.

Crawford Long is recognized as the first physician to have administered ether anesthesia for surgery. This stemmed from a single evening in December, 1841 when a group of young men requested that Long prepare "laughing gas" for them, as was common in social gatherings at the time. Not having the requisite apparatus, Long instead had sulphuric ether on hand. After witnessing some of the young men receive falls and blows enough to cause pain, Long questioned these young men who insisted they felt no pain from the accidents. This led Long to believe that an anaesthetic condition of the body took place after the inhalation of ether, and its use could be applicable in surgical operations. Long's first procedure using ether anesthesia was administered on James M. Venable who had two tumors located on the back of his neck. The ether was given to Venable on a towel, with Long holding the towel with one hand while monitoring Venable's pulse with the other. After the procedure, Venable assured Long that throughout the procedure he did not experience any pain.

Long did not publish his discovery until years later on account of his desire to test ether anesthesia in several other operations. After he deemed his procedure to be satisfactorily tested, Long gave a full account of his discovery in the Southern Medical and Surgical Journal in 1849.

Crawford Long died in Athens, Georgia on June 16, 1878.

Scope and Content Note

The Crawford W. Long collection consists of original manuscripts including letters from Crawford Long and J. Marion Sims to Philip Wilhite, who was Long's assistant; also included are copies of certificates written by Crawford Long that represent testimonials of witnesses to Long's use of ether for surgical anaesthesia during an operation on James W. Venable in Jefferson, Georgia in 1842. The bulk of the collection consists of reproduced material about Long, including writings, speeches, and other printed material. Also included is correspondence related to Long, photographs of Crawford Long manuscripts, and various other papers including material on the Crawford Long Memorial Museum and Lecture series, papers from the unveiling of Long's statue in Statuary Hall in Washington, DC, and other papers.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by material type and then alphabetically.

Selected Search Terms

Personal Names

Topical Terms

Geographic Names

Form/Genre Terms


Container List

Original Manuscripts
Box Folder Content
1 1 Letter to Philip Wilhite from Crawford Long, 1877 August 22
1 2 Letters (4) from Philip Wilhite from J. Marion Sims, 1874-1877
1 3 Certificates copied by Crawford Long, 1884

Certificates represent testimonials of witnesses to Long's use of ether for surgical anaesthesia during an operation on James W. Venable in Jefferson, Georgia in 1842.

1 4 Boland, Frank K.; from Maud L. Baker, typescript, 1939 January 23
1 5 Long, Emma and Maude E., 1928, 1930
1 6 Sims, J. Marion, typescript drafts of correspondence, 1874-1877
1 7 Taylor, Frances Long, 1925-1928
1 8 Crawford W. Long Stamp Day committee, 1940 January 31
1 9 Reproductions of selected correspondence, 1842-1853
1 10 Frank K. Boland observing Crawford W. Long statue, undated
1 11 Photographs of Crawford W. Long documents, 1865, undated
1 12 Photographs used in James Harvey Young's presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, 1971 October 20
1 13 Reproduced photographs and images of Crawford W. Long
Printed Material
1 14 Georgia Historical Quarterly, 1923 June
1 15 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 1992 March 25
1 16 Newspaper clippings (1 of 2), 1926-1967
1 17 Newspaper clippings (2 of 2), 1926-1967
1 18 Newspaper clippings, 1983-1992
1 19 Publication: "Congressional Record," 1926 April 23
1 20 Publication: Patchwork, 1929 March
1 21 Young, James Harvey; "Crawford W. Long in his Medical Setting," 1983 October 9
Writings about Crawford W. Long
1 22 Beaton, Alexander; "Crawford Williamson Long," 1946 December
1 23 Boland, Frank K.; "Crawford W. Long's Discovery of Anesthesia," 1932
1 24 Jacobs, Joseph; "The Discovery of Ether Anaesthesia," 1927 June
1 25 Jacobs, Joseph; "Some Personal Recollections and Private Correspondence of Dr. Crawford Williamson Long," 1919
1 26 Jacobs, Joseph; other material about Crawford W. Long, 1919, 1927, undated
2 1 Long, John Wesley; "Crawford W. Long, the Discoverer of Ether Anesthesia," 1924
2 2 Luckhardt, Arno B.; "Historical Highlights and Shadows in the Discovery of General Anesthesia," 1930
2 3 Merritt, Katherine Pope; "First Painless Operation," 1931 March 22
2 4 Quillian, G. W.; "A Tribute and Plea for Appropriate Recognition in the Hall of Fame in Washington," 1921 July
2 5 Wilhite, J. O.; "Does Wilhite's Story of the Negro Boy Incident in the Discovery of Anaesthesia 'Lack Probability?" 1898 April
2 6 Young, Hugh H.; "Long - The Discoverer of Anesthesia," [1897]
2 7 Young, James Harvey; "Crawford Long, M. D., a Georgia Innovator," 1971
2 8 Young, James Harvey; "Crawford W. Long in his Medical Setting," 1992 March
2 9 Other photocopied articles about Crawford W. Long
Other Papers
2 10 A. B. Elizer material, [1925-1926]
2 11 Crawford W. Long Memorial Lecture, 1967-1982
2 12 Crawford W. Long Memorial Museum, 1982, undated
2 13 International Symposium on the History of Anesthesia, 1992 March
2 14 Material used in Crawford W. Long exhibit, 1967 April
2 15 Photocopies of certificates
2 16 Theatre program, "The Spit of the Devil," 1992
2 17 Unveiling of statue in Statuary Hall in Washington, DC, 1926
2 18 U.S. Postage stamp of Crawford Long, sheet of 35, 1940

Also includes two postcards and one envelope.

2 19 Miscellaneous, 1940, undated
Framed Items
3 1 Newspaper clipping of Crawford W. Long's office in Jefferson, Georgia, 1906 December 19
3 2 Silhouette of Crawford W. Long, 1928 July 29