History of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

Thomas Jefferson University began as Jefferson Medical College in 1824. The Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology has been part of Jefferson Medical College since its inception and was originally known as “Midwifery and Diseases of Woman and Children.” In 1825, Jefferson became the first medical college in the country to establish a clinic. At the time, standard medical school curricula consisted solely of lectures, making Jefferson an innovator in combining patient care with formal education. By 1877, the clinic had become the Jefferson Medical College Hospital, the second hospital in the United States to be directly associated with a medical school. In 2014, Jefferson Medical College became Sidney Kimmel Medical College. Since 1824, Jefferson has awarded more than 31,000 medical degrees and has more living graduates than any other private medical school in the nation.

Student lectures on midwifery and diseases of women and children and, later, obstetrics and gynecology have been given by a number of notable individuals over the years. These individuals include Drs. Samuel McClellan (brother of George McClellan), Charles Delucena (a founding editor of the North American Medical and Surgical Journal), Ellerslie Wallace (one of the founding members of the American Gynecological Society) and Edward E. Montgomery (who was a founding member of the American Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the first person to hold simultaneous memberships with the AAOG and the American Gynecological Society).

In 1835, Francis S. Beattie, 1st Chair of the Department, assisted Professor William Gibson with the first successful Caesarean section for both mother and child in Philadelphia.

In the late 19th century, Dr. Theophilus Parvin, 10th Chair of the Department, established “hospital instruction in obstetrics for medical students”1 and instituted, at Jefferson, the first obstetrical clinic in the United States.  

William D. Schlaff, MD 2011 – Present Professor and Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Joseph M. Montella, MD 2010 – 2011 Interim Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Louis Weinstein, MD 2004 – 2010 Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Vincenzo Berghella 2002 – 2004 Interim Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Ronald J. Bolognese, MD 1997 – 2002 Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Richard N. Depp, MD 1987 – 1997 Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
James H. Lee, MD 1975 – 1987 Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Roy G. Holly, MD 1965 – 1974 Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
John B. Montgomery, MD 1961 – 1965 Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Thaddeus L. Montgomery, MD 1955 – 1961 Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Lewis C. Scheffey, MD 1946 – 1955 Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, Division of Gynecology
Lewis C. Scheffey, MD 1940 – 1946 Professor of Gynecology
Norris W. Vaux 1937 – 1946 Chair of Obstetrics
Pascal B. Bland, MD 1925 – 1937 Professor of Obstetrics
Brooke M. Anspach, MD 1921 – 1940 Professor of Gynecology
Edward P. Davis, MD 1898 – 1925 Professor of Obstetrics
Edward E. Montgomery, MD 1892 – 1920 Professor of Gynecology
Theophilus Parvin, MD 1883 – 1898 Professor of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children
Ellerslie Wallace, MD 1862 – 1883 Professor of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women
William V. Keating, MD 1861 – 1862 Professor of Midwifery and Diseases of Woman and Children (unable to complete his term. Dr. Meigs acted as interim Professor for the remainder of the year.)
Charles Delucena Meigs, MD 1841 – 1862 Professor of Midwifery and Diseases of Woman and Children
Robert M. Huston, MD 1839 – 1841 Professor of Obstetrics and Disease of Women and Children
Samuel McClellan, MD 1832 – 1839 Chair of Midwifery
Usher Parsons, MD 1831 – 1832 Chair of Midwifery
John Eberle, MD 1928 – 1831 Professor of Midwifery
John Barnes, MD 1826 – 1827 Professor of Midwifery and Diseases of Woman and Children
Francis S. Beattie, MD 1824 –1826 Professor of Midwifery and Diseases of Woman and Children

Works Cited:

1. – 2.  “Part III: Clinical Departments and Divisions Continued --- Chapter 45: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (pages 707-736)” (1989).Thomas Jefferson University – tradition and heritage, edited by Frederick B. Wagner, Jr., MD 1989. Paper 36. jdc.jefferson.edu/wagner2/36.