Brief Overview of Collection, MC56

Name: Luther Leonidas Hill Papers

Dates: 1880-1945 (bulk: 1920-1944)

Extent: 4 cubic feet

Historical Note: Luther Leonidas Hill, Jr., was born January 22, 1862, in Montgomery, Alabama, the son of Rev. Luther L. Hill and Laura (Croom) Hill. The young Luther attended Howard College in Marion, Alabama, from 1878 until 1880 and in the Fall of 1880 enrolled in the Medical Department of the University of the City of New York. In March of 1881, after one scholastic year of studies, the 19-year old Luther received an M.D. degree. Dr. Hill returned to his native Alabama where he passed the Jefferson County Board on April 12, 1881. Dr. Hill then elected to complete additional studies at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and in the Spring of 1882, Dr. Hill received his second M.D. degree. Next, he enrolled in the New York Polyclinic Medical School and Hospital and, in 1883, obtained a certificate in eye, ear, nose, and throat. Hill then decided to further his medical education by completing studies in Europe. He went to London, England, where from September 1883 until March of 1884 he received surgical instructions from Dr. Joseph Lister, the British surgeon later renowned as the "father of modern surgery." Dr. Luther L. Hill returned to Alabama and began the practice of medicine in his native Montgomery on May 15, 1884. During the final years of the nineteenth century, Dr. Hill began extensive study of heart wounds. In 1900 he published Wounds of the Heart with a Report of Seventeen Cases of Heart Suture. Because of his expertise in heart wounds, on September 15, 1902, Hill was asked to examine a young Montgomery man who had been stabbed through the heart. With the successful operation to the victim's heart, Dr. Luther L. Hill thus became the first American surgeon to successfully suture the human heart. Over the next three decades, Hill would continue to publish papers in various medical and surgical journals. His Wounds of the Heart was republished in 1915 in the third edition of the Reference Handbook of the Medical Sciences. In addition to research and publication, Hill also maintained his successful Montgomery practice. He retired in 1932 at the age of 70. Dr. Hill was married, on July 12, 1888, to Lillie Lyons of Mobile. Five children, three boys and two girls, were born to the couple, including Alabama's future U.S. Senator Lister Hill. After a fifteen-year retirement, the successful and famous Luther Leonidas Hill, M.D., passed away in Montgomery, Alabama, on April 4, 1946, at the age of 84.

Scope & Contents: Includes correspondence, telegrams, notes, greeting cards, photographs, manuscripts, research papers, speeches, ledgers, notebooks and journals, programs, pamphlets, and news clippings.

Arrangement: Organized into seven series: 1. Papers; 2. Article Manuscripts and Reprints; 3. Printed Materials; 4. Journals and Notebooks; 5. Ledgers; 6. Scrapbooks; and 7. Photographs.

Accession Number: M97-18

Provenance: After Dr. Hill's death in 1946, his children donated these materials to the Medical College of Alabama Library. A formal presentation and acceptance ceremony was held in Birmingham on December 14, 1947. The materials remained in the Library until the Fall of 1997 when they were transferred from the Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences to the UAB Archives. The materials were then processed by archives staff.

Finding aid: Printed descriptive guide by Tim L. Pennycuff available in repository.

Access Points:
Denny, George Hutcheson, 1870-1955.
Hill, Lister, b. 1894.
Hill, Luther Leonidas, 1862-1946.
Laura Hill Hospital (Montgomery, Ala).
Lister, Joseph, c Baron, 1827-1912.
Medicine z Alabama x History.
Physicians z Alabama.
Surgery z Alabama z Montgomery.
University of Alabama. b Gorgas Medical Society.

Document Types: Clippings, Correspondence, Ledgers, Manuscripts for Publication, Notebooks, Photographs, Speeches, Telegrams, and Scrapbooks.

Location: Manuscript Stacks

Related Series: PMC56, Luther Leonidas Hill Photographs; MC57 Dedication of Luther L. Hill Medical Library Collection [Scrapbook]

Physical Condition: Materials have been placed in acid free folders and in acid free boxes.


This page last updated on 7 July 1999.

Copyright:  The University of Alabama Board of Trustees.