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Facts From The Past

Notes from the Archives


Frank C. Furlong, MD
AMC Class of 1914


Frank Furlong MD

A former President of the Albany Medical College Alumni Association, Dr. Furlong was born in Italy in 1890 and a year later moved with his family to the United States. Following his internship at Albany Memorial Hospital, Dr. Furlong continued the last two years of his internship at Blackwell’s Island Workhouse (now Roosevelt Island). In 1917, he started a medical practice in Poughkeepsie, NY until 1930, when he traveled overseas to Vienna for postgraduate work in otorhinolaryngology and later studied at Harvard University Medical School in laryngology. Following his postgraduate work he started a private practice in otorhinolaryngology in Schenectady, NY.


Did you know….?


Lecture card 

In the early days of the College, students were required to buy tickets for all aspects of their medical education, including admission to the medical school lectures and working in the lab and dissecting rooms. Students could buy a lab and dissecting room ticket for $5 each. The lecture tickets ranged from $10 to $13 for each subject or $100 for a perpetual ticket.

To graduate from medical school, the candidate had to be 21 years of age, possess a certificate from a physician or surgeon indicating that the candidate had studied with the physician for three years, have attended two full courses of lectures, deliver and defend a thesis on some medical subject, and pass an examination on several branches of medicine and surgery.


Maurice Joseph Lewi, M.D.
AMC Class of 1877


Maurice Joseph Lewi MD


Dr. Lewi’s motto was “Live happily and you will die happily.” At 96 he was still “smoking 12 cigars a day, playing poker into the early morning hours, and working a ten-hour day as president of the Long Island University College of Podiatry.”


Often pictured with a cigar in hand, Dr. Maurice Joseph Lewi, lived a very long and productive life. Born into a large family on December 1, 1857, Maurice was the sixth of fourteen children born to Bertha and Joseph Lewi. Following his high school graduation, Lewi flirted with the idea of becoming a journalist, however after some study in this area, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and enter the field of medicine. He graduated from Albany Medical College with the class of 1877 and immediately served on the staff of Albany Hospital.  As was the norm during this period, he was sent to Europe for postgraduate study at the Universities of Heidelberg and Vienna. Upon his return to Albany, he entered the practice of medicine as well as teaching posts at Albany Medical College and Albany Law School. Dr. Lewi tried to incorporate new, European teaching methods into his courses at Albany Medical College, much to the criticism of his fellow faculty members. As a result of the rebuke, he resigned from the College and instead concentrated on making educational changes on the state level. His time as Secretary of the Committee on Legislation of the New York State Medical Society and Secretary of the New York State Board of Medical Examiners led to his participation in many improvements and changes in medical education. During his long life, he wrote numerous scientific articles, was highly active in professional organizations, and was responsible for improvements in public health methods.


A pioneer in the field of podiatry, Lewi founded the New York School of Chiropody, later named First Institute of Podiatry, then Long Island University College of Podiatry (now the New York College of Podiatric Medicine). He became the first President of the College in 1913, and remained there until his death on May 27, 1957. Following his death, the Long Island University College of Podiatry was renamed the M.J. Lewi College of Podiatry in his honor, and in 1972, received its present name, the New York College of Podiatric Medicine.


Albany Medical College Theses

Thesis on Inturbation of the Larynx 1890

Of the many interesting and historical items and collections in the Albany Medical College Archives, one of particular interest is the Albany Medical College Theses collection. When Albany Medical College was first established in 1839, part of the requirements for a medical degree was to write a thesis on a particular medical subject. The collection contains theses from graduates dating from 1839-1891. The varying topics of the theses from the collection include bloodletting, cholera, abortion, conjunctivitis, sclerosis of the liver, anesthesia, and many others. The students then had to be prepared to defend the thesis at their examination.  During that time period, the theses were handwritten and many students produced intricate and artistic title pages, such as the one above. 


John W. Houser, MD
AMC Class of 1875
(b. 1856, d.1929)


Dr. John Houser

A native of Pennsylvania, John W. Houser’s interest in medicine emerged from his work with pharmaceuticals. Following his short career in the drug industry he began the study of medicine with Dr. W.E. Allen, (AMC 1856) as his preceptor. He graduated from Albany Medical College in 1875 and returned to Pennsylvania to start a private practice. He had a wide range of medical skills that were put to great use in his native state. These skills allowed him to tend to coal mine accident victims, pregnant women, and those in need of surgery. In addition to his typical physician duties he also served as medical officer for the Ransom Township poor farm and was the first to give students the diphtheria toxin-antitoxin injections as school physician in the Taylor, PA schools. His wide range of interests extended to politics and he was even a candidate for sheriff. In an address to fellow alumni at his fiftieth reunion in 1925, he wrote fondly of his time at Albany Medical College stating, “It was my privilege to obtain instructions and listen to the lectures of those wonderful men (the old faculty) who made the Albany Medical College what it is today. Armsby, one of the greatest surgeons of his time . . . Billy Hailes (Anatomy Professor) was a brother to all of us . . .  and Professor Henry Haskins (Anatomy) was the greatest anatomist I ever knew.” 


William P. Howard, MD
AMC Class of 1914


William P. Howard MD

An Albany native, Dr. William P. Howard was born in Albany in 1892 and educated in the Albany Public Schools. After his graduation from Albany Medical College, he became interested in Radiology and Orthopedic Surgery. During WWI, Dr. Howard served in the Medical Officers Reserve Corps and joined Base Hospital #33 as a Radiologist. Following the war he came to Albany and taught at the College, eventually becoming the Head of the Department of Radiology. In addition to his duties as Department Head, he also had a private practice in Radiology and Orthopedic Surgery, as well as serving as President of the Alumni Association.


Dr. Frederick C. Curtis

Dr. F.C. Curtis


Dr. Frederick C. Curtis was the first Professor of Dermatology at Albany Medical College. During the 19th century most physicians were general practitioners, specialty practice did not exist in many places. Therefore, a physician often had an interest in a particular field and could become the specialist for a geographical area. This was the case with Dr. Curtis. Dr. Curtis was born in 1843 in South Carolina.  He moved with his family to Canaan, New York in 1850. He graduated from Beloit College in Wisconsin and completed his medical studies at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York in 1870, followed by postgraduate work in Vienna. Following his return to the United States in 1872, he settled in Albany to join the practice of Dr. W.H. Bailey.  During this time he became interested in dermatology and was offered a course at Albany Medical College in dermatology. Dr. Curtis was also highly involved with public health, serving as a sanitary investigator for the State Board of Health as well as a consultant for New York State in dermatology. 


Did you know……. ?

Skull Yearbook

The Albany Medical College Yearbook, The Skull, was not published from 1917-1946. It is unclear why there was a break in publication. Many speculated the break was connected with the newly appointed Dean Ordway, and his strict running of the College, including tight censorship of the yearbook content.

In 1958, Albany Medical College began its own radio station, WAMC-FM (currently WAMC Northeast Public Radio), with the transmitter on the top of Mt. Greylock in Adams, Massachusetts. The radio station was the next step in the College’s Two-Way Radio program used to bring continuing education programs to physicians.


"Facts from the Past" is provided from the AMC Archives through the generous support of the Alumni Association and is part of an informational campaign to share the historical knowledge of Albany Medical College with the AMC community.

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