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Christian R. Holmes Collection

Identifier: WC-3

Scope and Content

The Christian R. Holmes collection occupies nearly 2.5 linear feet and consists of four boxes and one folder of oversized material. The collection is broken down into eight series. Series I: Medical Colleges contains information on the Ohio Medical College, the Miami Medical College, the Ohio-Miami Medical College at the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The aforementioned colleges are broken up into subseries respectively within Series I. Materials in this series include correspondence, reports, information on lectures, and faculty, students, etc. Series II: Cincinnati Hospital/Cincinnati General Hospital, is primarily related to the general hospital though does contain some documents from Holmes’s time at the Cincinnati Hospital. Series III: Publications contains many, though not all, of Holmes’ original and published research. Series IV: Awards/Certificates contains approximately a dozen of Holmes’s commendations and recognitions throughout his professional life. Series V: Photographs are primarily in the portrait style and from his adult life. Series VI: Correspondence contains letters and communiques not related to the hospitals or the colleges of medicine. Of note in this collection is a letter from President William Howard Taft. Series VII: Personal Miscellaneous contains various uncategorized personal items including Dr. Holmes’s Ophthalmoscope.


  • 1801-1940
  • Majority of material found within 1895-1918


Language of Materials

The records are in English and Danish

History of Christian R. Holmes

Christian R. Holmes, M.D. was born in the village of Engom, Denmark, in 1857 and travelled to the U.S. with his family at the age of 15. After a brief stay in Canada, the Holmes family settled in Syracuse, New York. A natural talent for drawing landed the young Holmes in the railroad shop drafting rooms. This proficiency brought him to Seymour, Indiana, to work for the LaFayette, Bloomington, and Muncie Railroad. An illness brought him to Cincinnati seeking the medical attention of Dr Elkanah Williams, also a professor at the Miami Medical College. Over successive visits, Williams saw potential in Holmes as a practicer of medicine and encouraged him to apply to the Miami Medical College. Holmes earned his medical degree from the school in 1886 and soon became an eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist. He also became an instructor at the college and practiced at the Cincinnati Hospital. He married Bettie Fleischmann, daughter of Charles Fleischmann, in 1892.

Subscribing to Daniel Drakes's conception of a medical school and hospital being synonomous, Holmes soon became frustrated with the Cincinnati Hospital's ability to train future medical professionals, and began laying the groundwork for a future city hospital that would combine a medical college and clinical practice in one. He became the dean of the recently combined Ohio-Miami Medical College at the University of Cincinnati in 1914 and remained in that position until his death in 1920. As early as 1895, Holmes's idea for the new city hospital was already at work. After years of political wrangling, fundraising, and public opinion swaying, Holmes saw to the completion of the new Cincinnati General Hospital in 1915. Built in the pavilion style it was lauded as an architectural feat at the time. Upon accepting deanship of the the Ohio-Miami Medical College, Holmes was adamant that a new medical college building also be buit along with the hospital. In October, 1914, builders laid the cornerstone and finished the new college building in 1917.

As World War I loomed, Dr. Holmes entered the US Army as a major in the medical reserve corps. He was charged with oversight of the medical facilities at Camp Sherman in Chillicothe, Ohio. Holmes was released from duty in 1918 and shorltly after his discharge became ill. He passed away in January, 1920. Just a few years after his death, the Christian R. Holmes Hospital was erected in his honor to provide hospital facilities for full-time clinical medical faculty at the University of Cincinnati.


2.5 Linear Feet


Christian R. Holmes immigrated to the US from Denmark at age 15 with his parents. After spending his early career as a draughtsman for the railroad, Holmes received his MD from Miami Medical College in 1886 and quickly became an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist. He became Dean of the newly joined Ohio-Miami Medical college at the University of Cincinnati in 1914. In addition, he was instrumental in selecting the current site of the University of Cincinnati's Academic Health Center. The materials in this collection most likely were donated to the Winkler Center from the UC College of Medicine, though no paperwork can confirm that. The Holmes collection however has long been a part of the Winkler Center repository.

Statement of Arrangement

Series I: Medical Colleges Subseries IA: Medical College of Ohio Subseries IB: Miami Medical College Subseries IC: Ohio-Miami Medical College Subseries ID: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Series II: Cincinnati Hospital/Cincinnati General Hospital

Series III: Publications

Series IV: Awards/Certificates

Series V: Photographs

Series VI: Correspondence

Series VII: Miscellaneous Personal

Related Material

University of Cincinnati Medical Center Patient and Operating Records Collection, Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions, University of Cincinnati Libraries, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Christian R. Holmes Collection
Edited Full Draft
Finding aid prepared by Veronica Buchanan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Cincinnati, Health Sciences Library, Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions Repository

Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library
231 Albert Sabin Way
Cincinnati Ohio 45267-0574