Skip to main content

Mason, Michael L., 1895-1963



Michael Livingood Mason was born on April 23, 1895, in Rossville, Illinois, the son of Francis Marion and Katherine Elizabeth Mason.  Mason earned four degrees at Northwestern University: B.S. (Zoology) in 1916, M.A. (Zoology) in 1917, M.D. in 1924, and Ph.D. (Surgery) in 1931.

While a graduate student at Northwestern, Mason volunteered for military service as a member of the U.S. Base Hospital No. 12 in which he became sergeant first class in charge of orderlies.  In this capacity he saw overseas service in France during World War I.  In 1942 Dr. Mason, along with Dr. J. Roscoe Miller, was instrumental in reviving the Base Hospital No. 12, essentially a Northwestern military medical unit as General Hospital No. 12, which took the field in North Africa and Italy.  Mason, Chief of the Surgical Services, was discharged in 1946 with the rank of colonel.  In 1945 he was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Ordem Nacional Do Cruzeiro Do Sol of Brazil.

After taking his M.D., Mason held various teaching positions in anatomy and surgery at Northwestern's Medical School.  In 1931 he developed and performed a series of important experiments to elucidate the healing process in tendons.  Mason later expanded this work, which gained him a Ph.D. in surgery, into a major article coauthored by Harvey S. Allen.

Mason was involved in the editing of several medical journals including the Northwestern University Medical School Quarterly Bulletin, and Surgery, Gynecology, and Obstetrics, and was associated with a number of hospitals (he was chief of staff at Chicago's Passavant Hospital in 1951-52).  He was active in several surgical societies, among them the Chicago Surgical Society, the Western Surgical Association, the American College of Surgeons, the American Surgical Association, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, the Central Surgical Association, and the Surgeon's Club.

On December 28, 1921, Mason married Alice Frances Kolb (Northwestern University B.A., 1917).  The couple had no children.  Dr. Mason suffered a serious cerebral injury in 1959 which confined him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.  He died on March 30, 1963, at his home in Wood Dale, Illinois.

Found in 5 Collections and/or Records:

12th General Hospital Collection

Identifier: ghsl-3

The 12th General Hospital Collection is comprised of the papers of Michael L. Mason, James A. Conner, and Paul Raber who served as part of Northwestern University's 12th General Hospital Unit stationed in North Africa and Italy during World War II.

Dates: 1916-1988; Majority of material found within 1942-1945

Michael Mason Papers

 Collection — Box 1
Identifier: 55/27

Michael Mason, a surgeon, received four degrees from Northwestern University. Following his education he taught at Northwestern and revived U.S. Base Hospital No. 12, which operated essentially as a Northwestern military medical unit. Mason's papers fill four folders and contain biographical information, correspondence, and programs and brief histories of the Surgeons Club.

Dates: 1912-1968

Tendon Injuries, 1953

 Item — Multiple Containers
Scope and Contents Warning: graphic surgical content, including close-up footage of hand and foot procedure, and surgery on a research dog.Step by step instruction on surgical tendon injury repair, tendon graft, and suture application, with live surgical examples on animals and humans. Human subject displays transverse wound across base of middle finger. Narrator gives detailed instructions throughout.Film by Michael L. Mason, MD, Professor of Surgery, Northwestern University Medical...
Dates: 1953

Triage: Practical Considerations of a Large Catastrophe. Part 1, 1950

 File — Box 8, Folder: 39
Scope and Contents

A course taught at Argonne National Laboratory on triaging and managing a large disaster.

Dates: 1950

Triage: Practical Considerations of a Large Catastrophe. Part 2, 1950

 File — Box 8, Folder: 40
Scope and Contents From the Series: Included in this series are documents pertaining to Michael Mason's service during World War I, his role as the Head of Surgery of the 12th General Hospital Unit during World War II, and his scholarly contributions following World War II. The Army Operations sub-series consists of materials concerning the recruitment and training of the physicians, nurses and enlisted men assigned to the 12th General Hospital Unit, rosters, military-issued guidelines, assessments of the facilities...
Dates: 1950

Additional filters:

Archival Object 3
Collection 2
Hospitals, Military 1
Medicine, Military 1
Pediatrics 1
Surgeons 1
Surgery, Military 1