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Dr. Edward Cary Laid Dallas’ Medical Foundation

The former dean of Baylor College of Medicine helped establish UT Southwestern and was elected president of numerous medical societies.
| |HOM_00038. History of Medical Collection. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Special Collections Library and Archives
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Health Pioneer: Dr. Edward Cary (dressed in black) with 1920s-era residents at Baylor.

After being born in Alabama and trained as a physician at Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York, Dr. Edward Henry Cary moved to Dallas in 1901 to practice ophthalmology. A descendant of one of the first families of Virginia, he became a professor at the city’s first medical school, the University of Dallas Medical Department. He became dean after serving as volunteer faculty for six months.

He aimed to raise educational standards to what he experienced on the East Coast and only awarded four diplomas in 1903, as he believed the other students weren’t up to par. That year, he assisted the financially struggling school in its merger with Baylor University College of Medicine. He served as dean at the new Baylor Medical College between 1903 and 1920 and dean emeritus until 1943 while also a professor of ophthalmology and otolaryngology, helping the school become one of the top medical institutions in the Southwest.

Cary also led the Cary-Schneider Investment Company, which built the Medical Arts Building at the corner of St. Paul and Pacific in downtown Dallas. It was the first Dallas skyscraper with offices primarily for physicians. He also helped found the Dallas Historical Society and was a significant proponent of national health insurance.

He was the first to perform ocular surgery at the school in 1909. During World War I, he organized the Baylor Medical and Surgical Unit, which saw action during the way in France. In 1939, he helped found the Southwestern Medical Foundation, a group of businessmen interested in supporting medical research and services. The organization eventually led to the formation of UT Southwestern Medical Center—and finally negotiated the college’s entry into The University of Texas System in 1949.

Cary died in Dallas in December 1953, two years shy of UTSW opening its first facility on campus, later named the Edward H. Cary Science Hall. One of UTSW’s six academic colleges is named for Cary, as was a junior high in 1959. His concern for the community matched his passion for personal health. He also served as the president of the Texas Society of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, the Dallas County Medical Society, the Texas State Medical Association, the Southern Medical Association, and the American Medical Association. “The value of health and happiness to an individual who is afflicted cannot be estimated,” Cary once said. “The value to a community of a higher standard of public health is incalculable.”

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<strong>Garrett Tarango</strong>

Garrett Tarango

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