Skip to main content


George R. Minor papers

Identifier: MS-51

Scope and Contents

The collection contains mostly talks and lectures given by Dr. Minor. The talks mainly focus on diseases affecting the chest or thorax such as asbestos related diseases, pericarditis, empyema, gastroesophageal reflux, lung abscesses and lung cancer, and solitary pulmonary lesion. Dr. Minor's interest in history is illustrated by his talks in Renaissance medicine, the early days of thoracic surgery, and biographies of great thoracic surgeons.


  • Creation: 1929-1994

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Biographical/Historical Information

George Ridgway Minor was born in Cannel City, Kentucky, on October 18, 1913. He attended high school at the Hazel Green Academy of Kentucky and his first two years of college at the University of Arizona. He transferred to the University of Virginia and was awarded a B.S. in Chemistry in 1936 and his M.D. four years later in 1940. He contracted tuberculosis while a student at the University of Virginia and was sent to Blue Ridge Sanitarium as an extern and to recuperate. After graduation he served as a staff physician at the Blue Ridge Sanitarium for two years, and his interest shifted from Internal Medicine to Surgery, especially to the then new field of Thoracic Surgery. From 1942 to 1944 he was an intern on the Surgical Service at UVa and then spent four years at the University of Michigan Hospital where he did a year of residency on Thoracic Surgery, became an Instructor in Thoracic Surgery and then Instructor in General Surgery. He was under the tutelage of Dr. John Alexander, a pioneer in the field of Thoracic Surgery. While at Michigan Dr. Minor again developed tuberculosis and spent six months in bed. After he recovered he briefly became an assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Illinois. From there he returned in 1949 to the University of Virginia as an Assistant Professor of Thoracic Surgery where he and Dr. E. Cato Drash, chief of Thoracic Surgery, comprised the whole division.

Dr. Minor did the first mitral valve surgery at UVa in 1953 and was also the first to perform the division of the patent ductus arteriosus, and repair of coarctation of the aorta between 1950 and 1954. He did the first 200 cardiac catheterizations with Dr. John Guerrant who assisted with pulmonary functions. He established the Endoscopy Suite at UVa. In 1964 he became Professor of Thoracic Surgery and Assistant Dean of the Medical School.

Dr. Minor traveled widely during his life, with many two- to five- week trips abroad during the summer. He was seriously injured in an auto accident in Romania in 1970. He was flown back to UVa for surgery and treatment and recuperated in the hospital for six months. In 1972 he entered the faculty exchange program and was an Exchange Professor of Surgery for two years in Tunisia. He was then a consultant in Taiwan at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, a facility that had 40 operating rooms at the time.

Dr. Minor was a member of the American College of Surgeons, the Society of University Surgeons, the American Thoracic Society, and the Virginia Surgical Society. After his retirement in 1984 his many students and colleagues established the Chair of Thoracic Surgery in his name. He continued to see a small number of patients after retirement. He also maintained his interest in gourmet cooking, (enhanced by his own garden), fluency in multiple languages, and playing classical piano music on his Steinway. Dr. Minor died at his residence in Charlottesville on November 29, 2007, at the age of 94.


.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The folders are arranged alphabetically by subject.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by the UVA Department of Surgery.

Physical Description

1 box, 5 "x 10.5" x 15.5", .5 feet, 20 folders

A Guide to the George R. Minor papers, 1929-1994
A Collection in Historical Collections, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, MS-51
© 2011 By the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. All rights reserved.
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library Repository

Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
1300 Jefferson Park Avenue
P.O. Box 800722
Charlottesville Virginia 22908-0722 United States