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William H. Muller, Jr. papers

Identifier: MS-48

Scope and Contents

The collection includes personal and professional correspondence. Some are family letters, most are professionally related. Included University of Virginia correspondents are John T. Ashley, Robert M. Carey, Rose M. Chioni, Kenneth Crispell, Don E. Detmer, Richard F. Edlich, Frank L. Hereford, R. Scott Jones, Norman J. Knorr, and Robert M. O'Neil. Correspondents outside of UVa include W. G. Anlyan, Willard E. Goodwin, Hiram C. Polk, Mark M. Ravitch, Jonathan E. Rhoads, Robert S. Sparkman, H. William Scott, and Richard L. Varco. Dr. Muller was a member of many organizations and some of those are represented here including the American College of Surgeons, American Surgical Association, Halsted Society, Medical Society of Virginia, Muller Surgical Society, Society of University Surgeons, Southern Society for Clinical Research, and Southern Surgical Association. There is also a 25 page recollection of his time with Dr. Alfred Blalock, a UVa Surgery Department scrapbook, photos, and slides of the construction of the 1989 hospital.


  • Creation: 1945-2007

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. William H. Muller, Jr. was born in Dillon, South Carolina, on August 19, 1919, graduated from the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, earned his B.S. from The Citadel in 1940, and graduated from Duke University Medical School in 1943. Muller trained under Dr. Alfred Blalock at Johns Hopkins Hospital where he did his internship and residencies in general surgery and cardiovascular surgery. From April 1946 to August 1947 he was a captain stationed overseas with the U.S. Army. He was then in private practice in Dillon for a year before returning to John Hopkins Hospital for further training. He served as an Instructor in Surgery at the Johns Hopkins Medical School for one year prior to taking the position of Assistant Professor of Surgery in 1949 at UCLA and helping to establish a new medical school with Dr. William Longmire. He served for a period of time as Chief of General Surgery and developed a cardiothoracic surgical program in the Harbor General Hospital and the St. John's Hospital because the UCLA Hospital had not yet been completed.

He was recruited to come to Charlottesville as Chair of the Department of Surgery and the S. Hurt Watts Professor in 1954. At that time the department had five faculty members. He recruited new faculty whom he helped develop and created a nationally recognized Department of Surgery. He served as Chair until 1982. Dr. Muller became Vice President for Health Affairs in 1976 and held that position until 1987 when he became Special Assistant to the President of the University. He was critical to the creation in 1980 of the Health Services Foundation, an organization that increased the money available for faculty salaries and for running the School of Medicine. He was also a driving force behind the construction of the new University of Virginia Hospital which opened in 1989.

Dr. Muller was a pioneer in the field of heart surgery. When Dr. Blalock operated on the first 'blue baby', a child with a congenital defect known as the "tetralogy of Fallot," Dr. Muller was in the room. While in Los Angeles he developed the pulmonary artery banding procedure and was able to apply it to clinical cases. He shared the honor of being one of two surgeons who performed the earliest total aortic valve replacement in 1958 and designed his own Muller valve from Teflon.

In addition to his leadership in California, at the University of Virginia and in clinical medicine, Dr. Muller was involved in many national organizations. He was a founder of the Association for Academic Surgery. He was president of the Society of University Surgeons, the Society for Vascular Surgery, the Southern Surgical Association, and the American Surgical Association. He became a member of the Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons in 1971, was made Chairman of the Board in 1976, and was President-elect in 1978. He served as President of the College in 1979-1980. Dr. Muller served as an active member of the Executive Committee from 1974 to 1987.

In 1968 a group of his former residents created the Muller Surgical Society in his honor. He was the recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award from the University of Virginia in 1982 and the Walter Reed Distinguished Achievement Award from the UVa Medical Alumni Association in 1997.

Married to Hildwin Clare for over 50 years and the father of three children, Dr. Muller retired in 1990. He died in Irvington, Virginia, at the age of 92, on April 19, 2012.


4.58 Linear Feet (12 boxes)


Boxes one through four contain personal and professional correspondence arranged alphabetically by name. Also included are news clippings about Dr. Muller. Boxes five through nine contain correspondence and documents related to Dr. Muller's professional organizations and some of his lectures, again arranged alphabetically. The end of box 9 includes photos and miscellaneous clippings. Box 10 contains documents and photos related to the 1989 hospital planning and ground-breaking. Box 11 contains pages from Dr. Muller's scrapbook which covers 1967-1972 and also an architectural drawing of the Medical Center area. Box 12 is stored in the Historical Collections Vault and contains slides showing the progression of the construction process of the 1989 University of Virginia Hospital.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library by William H. Muller, Jr. in March 2009.

Physical Description

12 boxes, 5" x 10.5" x 15.5," 5' 5", 210 folders


Processed by:
Historical Collections Staff
A Guide to the William H. Muller, Jr. Papers, 1945-2007
Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

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