Crawford Long

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Crawford Long
Crawford Long
Born (1815-11-01)November 1, 1815
Danielsville, Georgia
Died June 16, 1878(1878-06-16) (aged 62)
Athens, Georgia
Nationality United States
Fields Medicine
Alma mater University of Georgia
University of Pennsylvania
Known for Anesthesia induced by ether

Crawford Williamson Long (November 1, 1815 – June 16, 1878) was an American surgeon and pharmacist best known for his first use of inhaled sulfuric ether as an anesthetic.[1][2]

Life and work[edit]

Crawford Long U.S. postage stamp

Long was born in Danielsville,[3] Madison County, Georgia on November 1, 1815.[4]

He received his M.D. degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1839. After observing the same physiological effects with diethyl ether ("ether") that Humphry Davy had described for nitrous oxide in 1800, Long used ether for the first time on March 30, 1842 to remove a tumor from the neck of a patient, James M. Venable, in Jefferson, Georgia. Long subsequently removed a second tumor from Venable and used ether as an anesthetic in amputations and childbirth. The results of these trials were published in 1849 in The Southern Medical and Surgical Journal.[5] An original copy of this publication is held in the U.S. National Library of Medicine.[6]

Crawford Long was a member of the Demosthenian Literary Society while a student at the University of Georgia and shared a room with Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. Long was a cousin of the western legend Doc Holliday, and may have operated on Doc's cleft lip.[7]

On October 16, 1846, unaware of Long's prior work with ether during surgery, William T. G. Morton administered ether anesthesia before a medical audience at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Although Long had informed several surgical colleagues who had similarly administered ether in their practices, Morton is generally credited with the first public demonstration of ether anesthesia. In 1854, Long requested William Crosby Dawson, a U.S. Senator, to present his claims of ether anesthesia discovery to the attention of Congress.[8]

He died of a stroke on June 16, 1878 shortly after helping to deliver a baby. Throughout his professional career, Long was strongly convinced of his calling to serve humanity. He said that his profession was a "ministry from God"[9] and that "his highest ambition was to do good and leave the world better by his labors."[10]


The University of Pennsylvania memorialized Crawford W. Long in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 1912, with a bulletin and bronze medallion.[11]

On August 14, 1920, the Georgia state legislature proposed a constitutional amendment to create a new county from the western portions of Liberty County, to be named after Long. The amendment creating Long County was ratified on November 2, 1920. The county seat is Ludowici.

The Emory-University-operated Crawford W. Long Hospital in downtown Atlanta, Georgia was named in his honor in 1931 and retained that name for 78 years. In 2009 the hospital was renamed "Emory University Hospital Midtown".[12] References to Crawford W. Long Memorial Hospital are retained on exterior monuments.[13]

Long was honored in the "Famous American Series" of postage stamps in 1940, and in 1978 with a postcard.[14]

The Crawford W. Long Museum in downtown Jefferson, Georgia has been in operation since 1957.[15] A monument in honor of Dr. Crawford W. Long was unveiled at Jefferson, Ga. April 21, 1910.[16]

A statue of Crawford Long stands in the crypt of the United States Capitol as one of the two designated monuments to represent the state of Georgia in the National Statuary Hall Collection (the other is his college roommate, Alexander Stephens).[17]

Crawford Long Middle School, in Atlanta, Georgia, was also named in his honor.

Long's childhood home was added to the National Register of Historic Places (National Register of Historic Places listings in Madison County, Georgia) on December 6, 1977. It is located on Crawford W. Long St. in Danielsville, Georgia. Its coordinates are: 34°07′34″N 83°13′28″W / 34.126111°N 83.224444°W / 34.126111; -83.224444

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Madden, M. Leslie (May 14, 2004). "Crawford Long (1815-1878)". New Georgia Encylcopedia. University of Georgia Press. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Crawford W. Long". Doctors' Day. Southern Medical Association. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Crawford Long Birthsite historical marker". Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  4. ^ Hellmann, Paul T. (May 13, 2013). Historical Gazetteer of the United States. Routledge. p. 227. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Long, CW (1849). "An account of the first use of Sulphuric Ether by Inhalation as an Anaesthetic in Surgical Operations". Southern Medical and Surgical Journal. 5: 705–713. 
  6. ^ "The first patient to whom Crawford Williamson Long administered s[ulphuric] ether c.1854-1910". National Library of Medicine. 
  7. ^ Nakayama, Don K. (2016). "Surgical History: Crawford Long, Alfred Blalock, Louis Wright, and Georgia's Surgical Heritage". American Surgeon. 82 (2): 90. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  8. ^ Northen, William J.; Graves, John Temple (1910). Men of Mark in Georgia: A Complete and Elaborate History of the State from Its Settlement to the Present Time, Chiefly Told in Biographies and Autobiographies of the Most Eminent Men of Each Period of Georgia's Progress and Development. 2. Atlanta, Georgia: A. B. Caldwell. pp. 131–136. 
  9. ^ "Crawford W. Long". Architect of the Capitol. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  10. ^ Boland, Frank Kells (2009). The First Anesthetic: The Story of Crawford Long. Athens: University of Georgia Press. p. 121. ISBN 0820334367. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  11. ^ "Bulletin of memorial to Crawford W. Long, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1912 April". Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  12. ^ Goodwin, Sarah (February 16, 2009). "Hospital name change enhances mission" (Press release). Emory University. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Emory Crawford Long Hospital Renamed Emory University Hospital Midtown" (Press release). Emory Healthcare. February 13, 2009. Archived from the original on February 26, 2009. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  14. ^ Sekhar, K. C. (2013). "A Philatelic History of Anesthesiology". Journal Of Anaesthesiology Clinical Pharmacology. 29 (1): 22. doi:10.4103/0970-9185.105788. Retrieved 5 October 2016. 
  15. ^ Murdock, Eugene J.; Deaver, Susan (1996). "Imagining in time. Documenting the discovery of anesthesia: the Crawford W. Long Museum". AANA Journal. 64 (1): 60. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  16. ^ "Dr. Crawford W. Long Monument. Unveiled at Jefferson, Ga. April 21, 1910". Historic Postcard Collection, RG 48-2-5. Georgia Archives. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  17. ^ "Crawford W. Long". Architect of the Capitol. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 

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