Lives of the fellows

James Wallace Graham

b.4 November 1906 d.14 December 1962
DDS Toronto(1928) MD Toronto(1933) MRCP(1936) FRCP(C)(1946) FRCP(1956)

Wallace Graham was born in Sudbury, Ontario, to the Rev. Henry Stanford Graham, a Presbyterian minister, and Florence Marion, daughter of the Rev. John Chambers, a Presbyterian minister, of Ennisworthy, co. Wexford, Ireland. Their austere living on a tiny income made it necessary for Wallace and his elder brother, Gerald, to educate themselves on bursaries and scholarships. Both succeeded; Gerald became professor of imperial history in the University of London, and Wallace graduated at the University of Toronto with first class honours in dentistry and medicine, and was made a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honour Society, and president of the University Medical Society in his final year.

Between 1925 and 1932 he repeatedly won the mile race in inter-university competitions, and his 1928 record for the three miles stood for thirty-four years, so that he was a worthy recipient of the bronze 'T', the highest university athletic award, and of a seat for life on the University’s Athletic Directorate. Following internships at the Toronto General Hospital he did postgraduate work in London between 1935 and 1937, when he joined the staff of the department of medicine in Toronto University, becoming eventually associate professor in the faculties of medicine and dentistry, chief of the arthritis service at Sunnybrook Hospital, and director of the rheumatic disease unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

In World War II he served with the R.C.V.N.R. as a surgeon-commander, and after it was consultant to the medical director general of the Royal Canadian Navy. He wrote many articles on arthritis and allied conditions, and on dental infections, and served as chairman, vice-president or president of many medical societies in Canada and America. He was also an honorary member of societies concerned with rheumatism in Turkey, Italy, Rumania, Brazil and England.

A strong character with a forceful personality, he was tireless in his efforts to expand his own knowledge and that of others. His teaching brought him a large consulting practice, a succession of eager students, and a reputation in international circles in his specialty, yet he retained an innate humility and a constant sense of wonder. He is commemorated in a Medical Research Fund of the Canadian Arthritis and Rheumatism Society, in a memorial lecture and memorial collection of works in the library of the Toronto Academy of Medicine, and in the Wallace Graham scholarship of the University of Saskatchewan.

In 1938 he married Kathleen Margaret, daughter of Charles Howitt, a school principal and inspector for the Ontario Department of Education. They had a son, who graduated in medicine, and a daughter, who became a brilliant classical scholar.

Richard R Trail

[Canad. med. Ass. J., 1963, 88, 104-07, 167-9, 222-3; Toronto University. Faculty of Medicine. [Resolution of sympathy; with memoir. 1963?].]

(Volume V, page 160)

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