Physician, Conqueror of Yellow Fever
This native Alabamian's contribution to the welfare of mankind was local,
national and international. He was born to Josiah and Amelia (Gayle) Gorgas
on October 3, 1854 in Mobile, Alabama. He received his AB degree at the University
of the South in 1875 and his MD from Bellevue Medical College in New York. He
also received many honorary degrees including one from the University of Alabama.
Dr. Gorgas had a brilliant military career and became Surgeon General of the
United States Army. He became an expert in sanitation and insect control. He
used these skills effectively in conquering Yellow Fever in Central America
and enabling the United States to complete the building of the Panama Canal.
Dr. Gorgas was married in 1885 to Marie Cook Doughty in Cincinnati. They had one child, Aileen Tyster. His varied duties took him to all parts of the world and he received honors too numerous to list. A person of initiative, vision, purpose, tenacity and energy, he was probably best known for translating the discoveries of Dr. Walter Reed concerning yellow fever and malaria to practical application. Gorgas' work conquered those diseases by destroying the disease-bearing mosquitoes of the tropics.
Many books and articles have been written about Dr. Gorgas recognizing him as a benefactor of all mankind. General Gorgas has been memorialized at the University of Alabama, in Mobile, and in many other places around the world. His statue is in the New York University Hall of Fame.
Dr. Gorgas died in London, England on July 4, 1920. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
Dr. William Crawford Gorgas was inducted into the Alabama Men's Hall of Fame in 1989.