Gorgas, William Crawford, 1854-1920

Alternative names
Birth 1854-10-03
Death 1920

Biographical notes:

William Crawford Gorgas, an authority in the control of yellow fever, worked as sanitation expert in the preparation and construction of the Panama Canal. He was instrumental in the investigation and control of yellow fever in Cuba, Central and South America, and Africa. Gorgas was appointed Surgeon General of the United States Army January 1914.

From the description of William Crawford Gorgas papers, 1912-1937. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 244484754

A member of the Army Medical Corps since 1880, William C. Gorgas directed sanitation work in Havana, Santiago, and Siboney, Cuba during the Spanish American War and after, from 1899 to 1902, as chief surgeon of the department of Havana. From 1904 to 1913 Gorgas led sanitation activities in the canal zone during construction of the Panama Canal. From 1914 to 1917 he served as Surgeon General of the Army.

From the guide to the William Crawford Gorgas Papers, 1890-1918, (History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine)

Surgeon General of the United States.

From the description of Gorgas collection, 1903-1933. (Armed Forces Institute of Pathology Association Library). WorldCat record id: 70938939

Army medical officer.

From the description of Papers of William Crawford Gorgas, 1885-1919 (bulk 1904-1913). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 84401330

Biographical Note

  • 1854, Oct. 3: Born, Mobile, Ala.
  • 1875: Graduated, University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn.
  • 1879: Awarded doctor of medicine degree, Bellevue Hospital Medical College of New York, New York, N.Y.
  • 1880: Commissioned lieutenant, United States Army Medical Corps and assigned to duty in Texas
  • 1885: Promoted to captain
  • 1888: Transferred from Fort Randall, N.Dak., to Fort Barrancas, Fla., to aid in control of yellow fever epidemic
  • 1898: Promoted to major Appointed medical officer in Cuba during Spanish-American War
  • 1899: Assumed duties as sanitation officer of Havana, Cuba, with American occupation forces
  • 1903: Promoted to colonel in recognition for services in Cuba
  • 1904: Appointed chief sanitation officer of the Panama Canal Zone during period of canal construction
  • 1907: Named member of Isthmian Canal Commission
  • 1914: Appointed surgeon general of United States Army with rank of brigadier general
  • 1915: Promoted to major general
  • 1916: Chief of Yellow Fever Commission, Rockefeller Foundation
  • 1918: Official retirement from United States Army
  • 1920, July 4: Died, London, England; buried in Arlington Cemetery

From the guide to the William Crawford Gorgas Papers, 1857-1919, (bulk 1904-1913), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)


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Ark ID:


  • Medicine, Military
  • Yellow fever
  • Public health--Cuba
  • Yellow fever--Panama
  • Medicine--Latin America
  • Medicine--Panama
  • Medicine--Florida
  • World War, 1914-1918--Medical care
  • Public health--Florida
  • Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)
  • Yellow fever--Florida
  • Public health--Latin America
  • Tropical medicine
  • Yellow fever--Cuba
  • Yellow fever--Latin America
  • Medicine--Cuba
  • Public health--Panama


  • Physicians
  • Army officers
  • Physicians--United States
  • Surgeons General--United States


  • Southern States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Cuba (as recorded)
  • Brazil (as recorded)
  • Cuba (as recorded)
  • Panama--Canal Zone (as recorded)
  • Panama (as recorded)
  • Peru (as recorded)