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Northwestern University Library
Northwestern University Library

Guide to the Michael Mason Papers 1912/1968

Overview of the Collection

Mason, Michael L., 1895-1963


Michael Mason Papers






Northwestern University Archives

Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
Phone: 847-491-3354


Michael Mason, a surgeon, received four degrees from Northwestern University. Following his education he taught at Northwestern and revived U.S. Base Hospital No. 12, which operated essentially as a Northwestern military medical unit. Mason's papers fill four folders and contain biographical information, correspondence, and programs and brief histories of the Surgeons Club.

Biographical Information

Michael Livingood Mason was born on April 23, 1895, in Rossville, Illinois, the son of Francis Marion and Katherine Elizabeth Mason. Mason earned four degrees at Northwestern University: B.S. (Zoology) in 1916, M.A. (Zoology) in 1917, M.D. in 1924, and Ph.D. (Surgery) in 1931.

While a graduate student at Northwestern, Mason volunteered for military service as a member of the U.S. Base Hospital No. 12 in which he became sergeant first class in charge of orderlies. In this capacity he saw overseas service in France during World War I. In 1942 Dr. Mason, along with Dr. J. Roscoe Miller, was instrumental in reviving the Base Hospital No. 12, essentially a Northwestern military medical unit as General Hospital No. 12, which took the field in North Africa and Italy. Mason, Chief of the Surgical Services, was discharged in 1946 with the rank of colonel. In 1945 he was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Ordem Nacional Do Cruzeiro Do Sol of Brazil.

After taking his M.D., Mason held various teaching positions in anatomy and surgery at Northwestern's Medical School. In 1931 he developed and performed a series of important experiments to elucidate the healing process in tendons. Mason later expanded this work, which gained him a Ph.D. in surgery, into a major article coauthored by Harvey S. Allen.

Mason was involved in the editing of several medical journals including the Northwestern University Medical School Quarterly Bulletin, and Surgery, Gynecology, and Obstetrics, and was associated with a number of hospitals (he was chief of staff at Chicago's Passavant Hospital in 1951-52). He was active in several surgical societies, among them the Chicago Surgical Society, the Western Surgical Association, the American College of Surgeons, the American Surgical Association, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, the Central Surgical Association, and the Surgeon's Club.

On December 28, 1921, Mason married Alice Frances Kolb (Northwestern University B.A., 1917). The couple had no children. Dr. Mason suffered a serious cerebral injury in 1959 which confined him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He died on March 30, 1963, at his home in Wood Dale, Illinois.

Access Terms

This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Topical Term

Surgeons--United States

Surgery--Study and teaching--United States

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The University Archives acquired the Michael Mason papers in two accessions: #85-116 (separations from the General Hospital No. 12 records) donated on June 19, 1985, by Dr. Ernest McEwen, and #88-97 (separations from the Frank and Claudine Mason papers) donated on May 3, 1988 by Claudine V. Mason.

Processing Information

William K. Beatty; January-February 1989.

Separated Materials

A few duplicate and extraneous items were discarded. 1 shoebox of negatives has been separated from the papers and are filed in Room 111B in Cabinet A.

Conditions Governing Access


Related Materials

Series 0/20/7

Scope and Contents

The Michael Mason Papers are arranged in four folders, the first of which contains a variety of biographical materials including academic records and related items from Mason's high school, college and graduate education; reprints and several obituaries.

One folder of correspondence contains a few letters to Mason while another holds half a dozen letters to his widow shortly after his death. Among the correspondents were Drs. Donald Balfour, James Barrett Brown, and Edward Churchill.

The series is completed by a folder of programs and brief histories of the Surgeons Club, of which Mason was an early member.


Box 1

Folder 1

Biographical Materials


Box 1

Folder 2


1955, 1962

Box 1

Folder 3

Correspondence: Alice Mason

1939-1940, 1963

Box 1

Folder 4

Surgeons Club