Skip Navigation Bar

Street Fight


One must be aware a publication exists before searching for it. Sometimes, particularly for regional medical journals that might have short life spans, local knowledge is essential.

Surgeon Andrew Kingsbury Smith, stationed at McPherson barracks in Atlanta received one of Dr. Billings' journal requests in January 1872 and felt particularly well positioned to help. He was "on very good terms with the Doctors in town, some of whom are or have been Editors of medical periodicals, I have no doubt that they will assist me as far as possible in the collection you wish made."

In no time he had sent issues of the Atlanta Medical and Surgical Journal, courtesy of one of its editors, Dr. Willis F. Westmoreland. But Smith told Billings that some of the titles on his journal list were fictitious.

Billings told Smith that he was wrong: "There is no doubt of the existence of the other Journals mentioned in the list I sent you, as I have seen copies of them."

Further investigation revealed that Dr. Thomas S. Powell's Georgia Medical Companion was indeed real. Although Dr. Westmoreland had told the unwitting Smith that Powell's journal didn't exist, Smith observed that "this may be accounted for by the fact that Westmoreland and Dr. Powell had a street fight some time since."

And, for his own part, when queried by Smith, Dr. Powell said Westmoreland's Atlanta Medical and Surgical Journal didn't exist.



Photographic portrait, black and white, of Thomas Spencer Powell, head and shoulders, clean shaven, bald, solemn expression.

Thomas Spencer Powell (1826 -1896). Dr. Powell taught obstetrics at Atlanta Medical College. In 1866 he helped support the publication of the Ladies Home Gazette, a publication featuring writing by women. The school's board felt Powell brought dishonor to the medical profession and the college by using the paper to publicize his practice. When he refused to stop, he was fired, thus initiating his feud with members of the board, particularly Willis F. Westmoreland. By 1872 Powell had formed a rival Atlanta medical association and was actively trying to damage the reputations of the older medical association, whose members included the school's board members.

Next Section > >

SGO label decoration
Title page with printed text in black, as follows: The Georgia Medical Companion. Editors, T. S. Powell, M.D., and W. T. Goldsmith, M.D. Associate Editors: Georgia. Robert Battey, M D, R C Word, M D, W L Kirkpatrick, M D, James A Long, M D, W L M Harris, M D, H L Battle, M D, W C Musgrove, M D, L. B Bouchelle, M D, John C Drake, M D, E H W Hunter, M D, V S Hitt, M D, J E Pope, M D, C H Bass, M D, J A Hunnicutt, M D, A H Brantley, M D, J J Knott, M D, J C Wisdom, M D, W W Leake, M D, South Carolina. E T McSwain, M D, G M Rivers, M D., J. D. Tucker, M.D., Tenn. Swan M Burnett, M.D., Tenn. S M Welch, M D, Tex T J Heard, M D, Tex. W A Heard, M D, Tex. Alabama. J C Knox, M D, Geo F Taylor, M D, J B Barnett, M D, S M Hogan, M D, D. S Hopping, M D, J T Searcy, M.D. J F Hill, M.D. Mississippi. C B Gallaway, M D, Edward Lea, M D, S V D Hill, M D, W B Harvey, M D, J W M. Shattuck, M D, E T Henry, M D, T P Lockwood, M D, Robert Kells, M D, R J Preston, M D, A D Hodge, M D, Ark. Virginia. Charles S Lewis, M D. John H Claiborn, MD, F Horner, Jr. M D, A S Payne, M D, J. E. Lockridge, M.D. J S Whorton, M D. Wm O Owen, M D, Sam'l R Ripley, M D, Benj Blackford, M D, E A Drewry, M D, Rob. B. Tunstall, M D, A J Terrell, M D, W. F Bary, M D L. B. Anderson, M. D. S L. Jepson, M.D., W Va J M Lazzell, M.D., J K Hodge, M D, Ark North Carolina. Geo A Foote, M D. Thos. F Wood, M D. H Kelly, M.D. J R Hughes, M.D. N J Pittman, MD, S S Satchwell, M D. A B Pierce, M D, E A Anderson, M D H T Bahnson, M. D. Willis Alston, MD. Corresponding Editors: J M Toner, M D, Washington City, D C; John H. Weir, M D, Ill; Thomas J Gallagher M D, Pa; Ely Van De Warker, M D, N Y; Rob't Robson, M.D. Ind; C C F Gay, M D. N Y. (Surgeon of Buffalo General Hospital); W T Taylor, M D, Ky; A Patton, M D, Ind; J Orne Green, Boston, Mass; B W Stone, M D, Ky. (Assistant Physician Western Lunatic Asylum); James Tyson, M D. Philadelphia, Pa; M H Henry, M D. N Y. (Surgeon to New York Dispensary, Department of Venerial and Skin Diseases); Wm R Whitehead, M D. N Y; Thomas H Kearney, M D, Cincinnati, O; Benjamin Howard, M D. New York. Chas Kearns, M D. Ky. S C Busey, M D, Washington, D C.; A W Hobson, M. D., Ark.; A W Calhoun, M. D., now of Berlin, Prussia; T Curtis Smith, O; George Strawbridge, M D, W W Leen, M D, Philadelphia. 'Quicquid praecipies esto brevis.' Atlanta, Ga. Franklin Steam Printing House. J. J. Toon, Proprietor. Terms, $2.50 a Year, in Advance.

Georgia Medical Companion. Dr. Powell sent copies of his journal to the Library.

Title page of journal, text in black and white, as follows: Atlanta Medical and Surgical Journal. Edited by Joseph P. Logan, M.D., and W. F. Westmoreland, M.D., Professor of the Principles and Practice fo Surgery in Atlanta Medical College. Pax et Scientia, sed veritas sine timore. Index to volume IXB. Atlanta, Georgia: Plantation Publishing Company's Press. 1872.

Atlanta Medical and Surgical Journal. Dr. Westmoreland sent issues of his publication through Dr. Smith. Westmoreland taught at the Atlanta Medical College and served on its board. When Dr. Powell was dismissed from the school for his activities with the Ladies Home Gazette, Westmoreland suffered Powell's wrath. Ironically, Dr. Westmoreland's wife wrote some articles which were published in Dr. Powell's Gazette.