Louisville National Medical College

Louisville National Medical College was a historically Black medical school in the United States, located in Louisville, Kentucky. At the time it was founded, there were four other medical schools in Louisville. The first graduate of the medical school was a woman.[1]


Louisville National Medical College obtained a charter from the Kentucky state legislature in 1888 because none of the other four medical schools located in Louisville accepted Black students.[2] The medical school was founded by Dr. William Henry Fitzbutler (1842–1901), the first African American medical school graduate from the University of Michigan School of Medicine and the Detroit Medical College (today the Wayne State University School of Medicine).[3] Fitzbutler's wife, Sarah Helen McCurdy,[3] was the medical school's first woman graduate.[2] Fitzbutler was the medical college's Dean, Chair of Surgery, and Chair of Materia Medica. The medical college was co-founded by W. A. Burney.[4] Rufus Conrad operated the medical college after Fitzbutler died in 1901.[4]

According to the Flexner Report, the medical school was the cleanest and best run in the country;[2] however, the same report also described it as ineffectual, and wrote that "the negro must be educated not just for his sake, but ours".[5]

The medical school merged with Simmons University in 1907 and closed in 1912. The Louisville Hospital did not close in 1912 but was renamed Simmons Nursing Department.[1]

Clinical facilitiesEdit

Initially, lectures were held at the United Brothers of Friendship Hall on Ninth and Magazine Streets (building no longer exists), later moving to Green Street (later renamed Liberty Street).[1][6]

The medical school operated its own hospital, Louisville Hospital, located next to the school on Madison Street in Louisville, Kentucky.[2] The medical school graduated 175 African American medical students.[7] Conflicting reports are that 150 graduated.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Louisville National Medical College". Notable Kentucky African American Database.
  2. ^ a b c d "Fitzbutler College — School of Medicine University of Louisville". louisville.edu.
  3. ^ a b "Fitzbutler House". University of Michigan.
  4. ^ a b "Louisville National Medical College". Kentucky Historical Institutions.
  5. ^ Harley, Earl H. (September 13, 2006). "The forgotten history of defunct black medical schools in the 19th and 20th centuries and the impact of the Flexner Report". Journal of the National Medical Association. 98 (9): 1425–1429. PMC 2569729. PMID 17019907.
  6. ^ "University of Louisville University Libraries, Green Street (now Liberty Street) at Third Street, Louisville, Kentucky, 1895". digital.library.louisville.edu.
  7. ^ "Louisville National College of Medicine". kyhi.org. February 16, 2020.

Coordinates: 38°15′22″N 85°45′05″W / 38.25611°N 85.75139°W / 38.25611; -85.75139