Family Donates Grandfather’s Medical Bag and 1910 Class Photo

by Renée Sharrock

The descendants of Kilpatrick Cross, M.D., recently donated his medical bag and two copies of his 1910 class photograph to the Historical Collections and Archives of the Greenblatt Library. Four members of the Cross family were present when the Library formally received the items on June 22, 2015.

Dr. Kilpatrick Cross began his KCross-Class1910medical education at Medical College of Georgia in 1906, when the institution was officially known as the University of Georgia Medical Department. The graduating class of 1910 was small in comparison to most years; there were only twelve graduates. The May 1, 1910 article in the Augusta Chronicle regarding the school’s commencement reveals that Cross received the recognition of “Second Honor.”

After he received his degree and medical license, Cross practiced medicine in his hometown of Guyton, Georgia. The 1912 edition of the American Medical Directory states that Guyton had a population of 545 and one other physician in addition to Cross. By 1914, Cross had moved to Inverness, Florida and received his license to practice medicine in Florida.

According to his grandchildren, as told to them by their parents, Cross’ medical practice included everything from pulling teeth to birthing babies to stitching up gunshot wounds. As a physician in a rural area, Cross was often paid for his services with local produce, part of a butchered hog, or even a handmade dress for his daughter. Visiting and tending to the sick in their homes was a common practice of physicians in that time period. Their medical bag or physician’s bag held their tools and the necessities needed to treat a variety of ailments and needs. Dr. Cross’ medical bag retains such instruments and small vials of medicines that disintegrated long ago. But there is a fascination and wonder for those who open the medical bag and view its contents.

Cross died in 1937 shortly before his 60th birthday. His surviving family included his wife and four children. His 1910 class photograph and medical bag were passed around between his children and grandchildren. The class photograph had deteriorated, so Cross’ grandson Miller Cross had the photo scanned and digitally restored by a Georgia College and State University senior student, Paige Ellington. The digitally restored photograph was professionally printed and framed. The Cross family gave the Greenblatt Library the original and the digitally restored photograph. Currently, the restored copy is on display in the exhibit case on the second floor. Eventually, it will be on permanent display in the Historical Collections and Archives Room (AB-225).

The Greenblatt Library and Georgia Regents University give thanks to the descendants of Dr. Kilpatrick Cross for their generosity and for the honor of safe-keeping and preserving their grandfather’s medical bag and his photograph of the 1910 Class of the Medical College of Georgia.