University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Frank Billings Papers 1915

© 2002 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Billings, Frank. Papers




.1 linear ft. (1 folder)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Frank Billings, physician. The Frank Billings Papers consists of one folder containing a single letter from Billings to Dr. E. M. Price, dated May 28, 1915.

Information on Use


The collection is open for research.


When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is:

Frank Billings. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Frank Billings was born on April 2, 1854 on a farm in Highland Township, Iowa County, Wisconsin to parents Henry Mortimer Billings and Ann Bray Billings.

From 1873 to 1876 Billings taught in grade and high schools in Wisconsin. He received his degree in Medicine in 1881 from the old Chicago Medical School (now Northwestern University Medical School). He also received a M.S. from Northwestern University in 1890. In 1915 Harvard University awarded him an honorary degree of Doctor of Science. He was awarded this degree in 1924 by the University of Wisconsin, in 1926 by Northwestern University, and again in 1927 by the University of Chicago.

In 1882 Billings became a Demonstrator in Anatomy at Northwestern University Medical School. He was Secretary of the Faculty at Northwestern Medical School from 1886-1897 where he helped with the construction of Wesley Hospital. Billings went to Vienna, Paris, and London for post-graduate study from 1885 to 1886. He returned to Northwestern as Professor of Physical Diagnosis until 1891, when he became Professor of Medicine. He was also the attending physician at Mercy Hospital from 1888 to 1891.

In 1898 Rush Medical College became part of the University of Chicago and Billings became Professor of Medicine there. He became Dean of Faculty and served there for the next twenty years. Billings shaped the early years of the University of Chicago's medical program, influencing the John McCormick Memorial Institute (1902), the Presbyterian Hospital, the Anna W. Durand Contagious Hospital (1911), the Otho S.A. Sprague Memorial Institute (1909), the Albert Merritt Billings Hospital and other Chicago institutions. Albert Billings was Frank's uncle, and helped finance his medical education.

Billings served as treasurer of the American Medical Association for seven years, president from 1902 to 1904, and trustee and secretary of the board from 1918 to 1924. From 1906 to 1912, Billings served as the Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Charities and the State Charities Commission. He was president of the John McCormick Institute for Infectious Diseases from 1902 to 1932 as well as serving as president of the Board of Trustees of the Otho S.A. Sprague Memorial Institute from 1909 to 1932. In 1906 Billings was president of the Association of American Physicians and in 1907 served as president of the National Tuberculosis Association. He founded, with others, the Institute of Medicine of Chicago in 1915, and was its governor until 1932.

He was the Chairman of the American Red Cross Commission to Russia and was a colonel in the Medical Corps of the Army during WWI. Billings was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in 1918. Billings was president of the Congress of Physicians and Surgeons in 1924. He was made officer of the Legion of Honor of France in 1928.

In 1887 Billings married Dane Ford Brawley of Washington, D.C. Their daughter, Margaret, was born in 1888. Dane died in 1896.

Billings retired in 1924 but continued to donate time and money to the University of Chicago.

Frank Billings died on September 20, 1932.

Scope Note

The Frank Billings Papers consists of one folder containing a single letter from Billings to Dr. E.M. Price. The letter is dated May 28, 1915. In it, Billings writes his medical opinions on one of Price's patients, C.A. Kuhl.

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Folder 1

Frank Billings to Dr. E. M. Price,

May 28, 1915