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Fifty Years of History

Southeastern Section of the American Urological Association

1931 - 1981

Prepared by the Section Historian,
Russell Carson, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida - December 1981

The Atlanta Urologic Society, organized in 1928 and chaired by Dr. W.L. Champion, was perhaps the forerunner of the Southeastern Branch of the AUA, given the nomenclature of that time. Some interest had been shown in the formation of a South Atlantic Branch of the AUA, which would be composed of urologists in the two Carolinas, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Montague L. BoydInterest in this project languished until 1931, when Dr. Montague Boyd of Atlanta, Ga., revived the concept. He laid the foundation for the organization of today's SESAUA. A series of communications between the AUA and Dr. Boyd finally resulted in a pre-organizational meeting in New Orleans, La. A petition for establishment of a Southeastern Branch was submitted to the AUA in October 1931. This petition represented the 44 members of the AUA residing in the southeastern states. The petition was favorably received at the AUA meeting in Toronto, Canada, in 1932, and a charter was granted to members of the AUA living in the southern states for the organization of the Southeastern Branch.

An organizational meeting was held in November 1932 at the Tutwiler Hotel in Birmingham, Ala. Dr. Edgar Ballenger was elected temporary chairman and Dr. Montague Boyd was unanimously elected the first President of the Southeastern Branch of the AUA.

Edgar BallengerThe next meeting of the Southeastern Branch was called for November 1933 at the Hotel Richmond, in Richmond,Va. There was a Great Depression in the United States at that time, as well as in many other parts of the world, and dues were established at $2.00 per year. Twenty-two gentlemen attended the meeting that year, but only nine paid dues, causing concern among those administering the business of the Southeastern Branch. Not until 1934 was there sufficient money "in the till" to publish the constitution and bylaws of the Southeastern Branch. Dues were raised from $2.00 to $5.00 in 1938. The first scientific meeting of the Southeastern Branch was held in Atlanta in December 1934. The program was comprehensive, informative and instructional to the attendees. A copy of the first scientific program can be seen here.

Dr. Montague Boyd relinquished the office of the President after the 1934 meeting. Dr. Edgar Ballenger succeeded him. Dr. Ballenger's meeting was held in 1935 in Nashville, Tenn. The scientific program at that meeting was no less distinguished than that of the 1934 meeting. Significantly, it was decided at that meeting that "the Society should, for the present, select men from without the territory to appear on the program." This dictum for education of our Section members from sources without our regional boundaries persists into the new century.

At that meeting, Dr. Henry W.E. Walther of New Orleans (developer of the female sound-dilator) was appointed as the first historian of the Section. Dr. Samuel Ambrose of Atlanta, Ga., is the current historian of the Section.

The year 1939 brought significant challenges to the southeastern United States and the rest of the world. A minor change of name, from the Southeastern Branch to the Southeastern Section of the AUA, occurred. Puerto Rico, Panama, and Cuba joined the Southeastern Section.

The war years impacted the southeastern states, their urologists, training and research no less than it did the other Sections. The Second World War took its sad toll of our urologists and would-be urologists, but added greatly to the body of knowledge of the management of urologic trauma.

Progress in patient care, technology, education and research in the Southeastern Section has kept abreast of the progress in general urology seen worldwide since the war years.

We have reason to be proud of the Southeastern Section urologists. They have become presidents and leaders of the AUA, the AMA, their component state and local societies, chairpersons of academic programs, military medical officers, missionaries, and teachers of young men and women who wish to be "versed in Urology." They have taught, researched, studied and, above all, have taken care of their patients day by day and night by night.

Please be advised that the facts, figures, photos and quotes on this page have been freely excerpted from Dr. Russell Carson's book, "Fifty Years of History," privately published in 1981, and we give complete credit to him and his publication for the information provided in this historical summary. His book has been safely kept and was generously shared with us by the former office of the Executive Secretary of the SESAUA in Mandeville, La. It would be appropriate for you to express your appreciation to Dr. and Mrs. William Brannan (Bill and Emma) for their foresight in preserving these historic observance notes. We hope that more documentation of the history of Urology in the southeastern United States, Panama, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands exists and will surface in time as the result of this brief summary of the generous work of Dr. Carson.