December 2017

Historian Corner

George H. Thompson, MD
SRS Historian

During the recent Annual Meeting, I and others had the chance to interview our two Lifetime Achievement winners, G. Dean MacEwen, MD and Howard Steel, MD as well as Robert Campbell, MD. These interviews will be made available on the SRS History & Archives website in the coming months.

Several other updates are also underway with the SRS History & Archives page including a design update to match the main SRS website and adding historical Board of Directors Minutes, Business Meeting Minutes and many other documents. For those who have not visited the History & Archives page, you can access it via the SRS Member’s Only section!

In other exciting news, 2018 will celebrate the 25th International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques (IMAST) in Los Angeles, CA, USA. This Historical Committee will be putting together a display about the creation and history of IMAST. The Committee looks forward to having the opportunity to celebrate another amazing milestone for our Society!

SRS Archives Update
Christopher Crenner, MD, PhD
Robert Hudson and Ralph Major Professor of the History and Philosophy of Medicine
Chair, Department of History and Philosophy of Medicine

A number of significant events have occurred over the past year at the SRS Archives, housed in the Spine and Orthopedic Historical Collections at the University of Kansas Medical Center Archives in Kansas City, Kansas.  Earlier this spring, the archives received an accession of six cubic feet of new material from the SRS offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Archives staff are incorporating the accession, consisting of board agendas, cabinet meeting minutes, and committee reports, into the existing SRS Archives, which now exceeds 30 cubic feet. In addition to the SRS Archives, the Spine and Orthopedic Historical Collections include the papers of Paul R. Harrington, MD; Leonard F. Peltier, MD; Walter P. Blount, MD; and Rex L. Dively, MD. Physicians, historians and scholars interested in research using the collections at the KUMC Archives are encouraged to contact Archivist Alex Welborn at  

The KUMC Archives recently completed upgrades to its environmental control system. Earlier this summer, archives staff worked with facilities management to replace an aging dehumidifier, to better keep pace with Kansas City’s often-unpredictable weather.  The new dehumidifier helps to ensure that collections such as the SRS Archives and the Spine and Orthopedic Historical Collections remain accessible to researchers well into the future.

Also of interest, Dr. Marc Asher’s biography of Dr. Paul R. Harrington, Dogged Persistence: Harrington, Post-polio Scoliosis, and the Origin of Spine Instrumentation, continues to spread the word of these fundamental advances in spinal surgery. Dogged Persistence, researched from original archival collections in the Paul R. Harrington Archives, tells the story of Dr. Harrington and the development of the Harrington Rods, the first successful, implanted spine instrumentation system.  To date, 394 copies of Dr. Asher’s work have been sold, adding over $7,000 in royalties to the endowments of the Paul R. Harrington Archives and the SRS Archives. Dogged Persistence is available online at, or for purchase at the KU Bookstore at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and its branch at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City.


Chair: George H. Thompson Committee: Behrooz A. Akbarnia, Past Chair; Jay Shapiro; David B. Bumpass (C); Pooria Hosseini (C); Ahmed S. Mohamed (C); Hani H. Mhaidli; Andrew G. King; Acke Ohlin (E); Patricia N. Kostial (A)