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Crawford Williamson Long Edit Profile

Pharmacist , physician , Surgeon

Crawford Williamson Long was an American physician.


Crawford Long was born in Danielsville, Ga. , on March 1, 1815.


At the age of 14 he entered Franklin College in Athens (later the University of Georgia), graduating in 1835. In 1836 he served as principal of an academy in Danielsville while studying medicine with a doctor in a nearby town. In 1836 Long entered the Medical Department of Transylvania College at Lexington, Ky. , and in 1838 he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, from which he received his medical degree in 1839. He then went to New York, where he studied surgery for 18 months.


In 1841 he established a practice in Jefferson, Ga. On March 30, 1842, Long used ether as an anesthetic during the removal of a tumor from the neck of James M. Venable. His use of ether came from observations made at "ether frolics. " Ether, in limited quantity, produces exhilaration rather than unconsciousness, and the inhalation of ether for this effect was common. Long participated in many ether parties and often noticed that participants received bumps and bruises but experienced no pain. After his success with ether in the surgery on Venable, Long used it whenever possible; but for reasons that are not clear, he made no effort to make his discovery public until 1848, when he announced it to the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. By then, however, nitrous oxide as an anesthetic had been introduced by Horace Wells, and ether anesthesia had been publicly demonstrated by William Morton and Charles T. Jackson of Boston. Although Long is historically credited with the first use of ether, his delay in announcing his discovery lessened recognition for him and robbed him of a primary position in the discovery of modern anesthesia. In 1849 Long published a claim to the discovery of ether in the Southern Medical and Surgical Journal entitled "An Account of the First Use of Sulphuric Ether by Inhalation as an Anesthetic in Surgical Operations, " and this claim became part of a long and bitter contest over priority of discovery. In 1851 Long moved to Athens, Ga. , where he built a thriving practice and spent the rest of his life. During the Civil War he enlisted in the Georgia infantry. After the war he was appointed surgeon to the military post in Athens. He died on July 16, 1878.


  • Crawford Williamson Long is credited with the first use of ether as an anesthetic in a surgical procedure. In 1879, the National Eclectic Medical Association declared that Long was the official discoverer of anesthesia. "Doctors Day" is celebrated on March 30 every year to commemorate Long's contributions. The University of Pennsylvania memorialized Crawford W. Long in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 1912, with a bulletin and bronze medallion. On August 14, 1920, the Georgia state legislature proposed a constitutional amendment to create a new county from the western portions of Liberty County, to be named after Long. The amendment creating Long County was ratified on November 2, 1920. The county seat is Ludowici. The Emory-University-operated Crawford W. Long Hospital in downtown Atlanta, Georgia was named in his honor in 1931 and retained that name for 78 years. In 2009 the hospital was renamed "Emory University Hospital Midtown". References to Crawford W. Long Memorial Hospital are retained on exterior monuments. Long was honored in the "Famous American Series" of postage stamps in 1940, and in 1978 with a postcard. The Crawford W. Long Museum in downtown Jefferson, Georgia has been in operation since 1957. A monument in honor of Dr. Crawford W. Long was unveiled at Jefferson, Ga. April 21, 1910. A statue of Crawford Long stands in the crypt of the United States Capitol as one of the two designated monuments to represent the state of Georgia in the National Statuary Hall Collection (the other is his college roommate, Alexander Stephens). Crawford Long Middle School, in Atlanta, Georgia, was also named in his honor. Long's childhood home was added to the National Register of Historic Places (National Register of Historic Places listings in Madison County, Georgia) on December 6, 1977. It is located on Crawford W. Long St. in Danielsville, Georgia.


In the summer of 1842 he married Mary Caroline Swain.

James Long

Elizabeth Long (Ware)

1789 - 1851

Mary Caroline Swain

Frances Long Taylor

1866 -1946