Mayo, William James

Mayo, William James

(1861–1939) physician; born in Le Sueur, Minn. After studying under his father, he took his M.D. from the University of Michigan (1883). He joined his father and brother, Charles Mayo, as surgeon at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minn., and with them he cofounded (1889) what would in 1903 become the Mayo Clinic. The brothers traveled widely to observe the new developments in surgery, and then back in Rochester introduced innovations of their own. William James became especially known for his surgical skills and innovations in stomach, gall bladder, and cancer operations. In 1915 he and his brother founded the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, to which they donated large sums of money; the foundation became affiliated with the University of Minnesota, where the two brothers also established the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, which drew students from around the world. William served in the Army Medical Corps during World War I. Of the two brothers, he was said to be the more reserved and controlling.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.