A Family Practice

$34.95 $26.21

The Russell Doctors and the Evolving Business of Medicine, 1799–1989
William D. Lindsey, William L. Russell, and Mary L. Ryan
264 pages, 6 × 9, 38 images, index
978-1-68226-127-9 (cloth)
978-1-61075-686-0 (ebook)
May 2020


Add to Cart

“The evolution of the American physician/businessman is exemplified in A Family Practice: The Russell Doctors and the Evolving Business of Medicine, 1799–1989. While the Russell pedigree is not unique to American medicine—many of today’s physicians often come from a ‘long line of doctors’—tracing the lives and legacies of four generations of Russell physicians makes this an authentic American epic, not unlike the medical equivalent to Alex Haley’s Roots. Even more fascinating are the authors’ voluminous sources, both genealogical and historical, drawn upon in weaving together this saga of sojourning surgeons.”
—Bill J. Gurley, from the Foreword

A Family Practice is the sweeping saga of four generations of doctors, Russell men seeking innovative ways to sustain themselves as medical practitioners in the American South from the early nineteenth to the latter half of the twentieth century. The thread that binds the stories in this saga is one of blood, of medical vocations passed from fathers to sons and nephews. This study of four generations of Russell doctors is an historical study with a biographical thread running through it.

The authors take a wide-ranging look at the meaning of intergenerational vocations and the role of family, the economy, and social issues on the evolution of medical education and practice in the United States.

William D. Lindsey is a former academic and university administrator and the winner of the Booker Worthen Literary Prize for Fiat Flux: The Writings of Wilson R. Bachelor, Nineteenth-Century Country Doctor and Philosopher.

William L. Russell is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army and media-relations specialist who is descended from the Russell physicians.

Mary L. Ryan
worked in health sciences libraries at Tulane University and the Texas Medical Center and was director of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Library for seventeen years.

“A meticulously woven study of medical history set within the context of a family of healthcare practitioners spanning generations. The thoughtful examination of each doctor’s education, career, choices, and challenges is connected to the larger trends in medical practice. The authors’ insightful account of the Russell family doctors speaks to the enduring legacy of the compassion, dedication, ambition and ingenuity of country doctors.”
—Annie Anderson, The Country Doctor Museum


Chapter 1 – William James Russell (1799–1872)
Chapter 2 – William James Park Russell (1830–1892)
Chapter 3 – Seaborn Rentz Russell (1859–1928)
Chapter 4 – Ralph Morgan Russell (1867–1916)
Chapter 5 – Benjamin Franklin Norwood (1886–1942) and George Washington Russell (1915–1989)

Illustrations and Photographs

You may also like…