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Elmer Lee Henderson papers

Identifier: KORN136

This collection of materials on Elmer Lee Henderson, MD, consists of biographical information, artwork, programs, photographs, reference files, correspondence, certificates and clippings. Much of it concentrates on Henderson’s interest in the topic of socialized medicine.


  • 1927-1953



1.5 linear foot

Biographical / Historical

Louisville surgeon Dr. Elmer Lee Henderson built an enviable record of achievements in the field of medicine. Born on March 23, 1885, Henderson graduated with a degree in medicine in 1909 from the University of Louisville. Dr. Henderson worked in his surgical practice in Louisville from 1911 until his death, aside from his service in World War I. In 1942 he was appointed as special surgical consultant to the Air Surgeon's Office with the U.S. Army. He served as president of the world’s two largest medical organizations—The American Medical Association and the World Medical Association (both in 1950-1951). He served as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the AMA and also as chairman of its executive committee. He served simultaneously as president of the Southern Medical Association and the Southeastern Surgical Congress. He held every important medical office in Kentucky, including president of the Kentucky State Medical Association and the Jefferson County Medical Society and was an Honorary Fellow of the International College of Surgeons.

In 1948, the House of Delegates of the World Medical Association voted to embark on a national education campaign against the socialization of medicine in the United States. The House set up a Campaign Coordinating Committee, made up of 11 prominent physicians, and Dr. Henderson was made chairman. From 1948 until the election of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, Dr. Henderson tackled his job of educating the American public against socialized medicine with stamina that knew no bounds. Also, he served as chairman for the National Professional Committee for Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon.

Dr. Elmer Lee Henderson died on July 30, 1953 from a long-standing illness

Elmer Lee Henderson papers
Mary K. Marlatt
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Repository Details

Part of the Kornhauser Health Sciences Library Repository

Kornhauser Library
500 S. Preston Street
Louisville KY 40292 United States
(502) 852-5766