The Medical College of Virginia (MCV) marked the 125th anniversary of its founding with a year-long celebration in 1963, culminating in the publication of The First 125 Years. Issued as hard- and soft-back publications in the college's bulletin series, the 96-page photo history received many favorable reviews. The book is largely the work of Thelma Vaine Hoke, although she received no formal attribution on the cover or title page of the work. Hoke began her career at MCV in 1932 as secretary for college president William T. Sanger. Over the years she served as the college information bureau, publications director, records manager, and an instructor in the School of Hospital Administration. She earned the sobriquet "majordomo, boss-ma'am, and factotum-at-large for the Medical College of Virginia" from the Richmond News Leader at the time of her retirement in 1966.
Hoke pulled photographs, letters, documents, reports, and publications for the book from a rich collection of historical materials gathered and preserved by James Ralph McCauley, who served as secretary-treasurer for the college and secretary for the Board of Visitors from 1902 until his death in 1950. McCauley had researched many aspects of the college's history and left detailed notes that Hoke found invaluable while compiling The First 125 Years. MCV President Robert Blackwell Smith's address to the Newcomen Society of North America on September 26, 1963 served as the books main historical narrative. Around this story Hoke placed photo captions, sidebars, contemporary documents, and short articles to present the college's first full-length history. Col. John H. Heil, Jr., Secretary of the MCV Board of Visitors noted: "This permanent record of the history of the institution is one which will be a frequent source for material and a constant reminder of the importance of MCV in the state and community."
The First 125 Years remains a valuable source today. The VCU Libraries is pleased to offer this electronic version of this important historical work. Each page of the book is presented as a high-resolution JPEG 2000 file suitable for zooming. A PDF print version is also available. Copyright for the materials in this collection is managed by the VCU Libraries. The use of these materials is subject to the stipulations specified in the VCU Libraries copyright page.