Dr. Watkins: Surgeon of uncanny skill

by Max Johnson, University Archivist, OHSU Library

October 21, 2014

Ray WatkinsRaymond E. Watkins (1882-1945), a native of Illinois and a graduate of the School of Medicine at the University of Illinois, was a well-known professor of OB/GYN at the University of Oregon Medical School as well as a departmental dean of the same.

“Ray,” as he was affectionately called by his friends was noted for his outstandingly accurate diagnosis, especially in the area of pelvic pathology and his abilities in “plastic vaginal surgery.” He attained this regard not through rigorous, formal post-graduate training, but rather through clinical visits and close relationships with the “celebrated technicians” of these “great clinics.”

OHSU HC&A’s collection, the Raymond E. Watkins Papers, contains an assortment of manuscripts of Watkins’ articles, publications and case studies. These rough drafts contain interesting marginalia, marked-up photographs and drawings, both original and borrowed, and provide a unique look at early structures for creating scholarly work. Included in this collection are large format charts containing patient data which are hand-written.

Ray WatkinsThe Raymond E. Watkins Papers provide a detailed look into the history of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the development of these areas of medicine in the early 20th century. The collection has played a role in the development of our Fall exhibit in the Library titled “Women, Power and Reproductive Healthcare,” which was researched, assembled and promoted by HC&A’s Student Assistant, Crystal Rodgers.

Additionally, the exhibit will be up on the 3rd Floor of the BICC until January. The physical exhibit contains many examples of OHSU's archival holdings as well as a substantial number of artifacts brought together from HC&A’s print, image, artifact and publication collections.


  • OHSU HC&A Biographical Files, Watkins, Raymond E.  Box 148.
      Reprinted from Western Journal of Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1945.

  • OHSU HC&A Historical Image Collection, Watkins, Raymond E.  Box 34

  • Raymond E. Watkins Papers 2002-003, OHSU HC&A

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