Guide to the Papers of Radford C. Tanzer, circa 1921 - 2004Manuscript ML-102

Biography

Radford Chapple Tanzer, M.D., was born September 16, 1905 in Little Falls, New York, the son of Dr. and Mrs. John M. Tanzer. Dr. John M. Tanzer, a dentist, and his wife also had four daughters. He graduated from Little Falls High School, valedictorian of his class, at age 14. RCT graduated from Dartmouth College in 1925, a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternities. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1929. RCT did his residency in surgery at Strong Memorial in Rochester, New York, then did a year of cancer research at Rockefeller Institute, and then ran a family practice in Little Falls while he was the associate-in-surgery at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, New York. In 1936 he began work under Dr. Jerome Webster at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. He was the Hospital's first senior fellow in plastic surgery. After nine months, RCT became the chief resident at Doctor's Hospital in New York City. He stayed until 1939, at which time he went to London to work with Sir Harold Gillies. Once back in the States, RCT was the 16th doctor to join the Hitchcock Clinic (Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital). There, he performed general surgery. RCT also became Clinical Professor of (Plastic) Surgery at Dartmouth Medical School. During World War II, RCT was a captain in the Army Medical Corps Reserve. He became chief of the Plastic Surgery Center in Brigham City, Utah. After two years, he was made chief of the Plastic Center at Cushing Hospital in Framingham, Massachusetts. In the Army, he met his future wife, Velma Maul, an R.N., who he married on December 24, 1943. While in the Army Medical Corps, RCT established two of the ten reconstructive surgery centers in the country. In 1946 he retired from the army as a Lieutenant Colonel. Once back in Hanover, RCT became a consultant in plastic surgery for Veterans Affairs Hospitals in New England and New York. In 1958 RCT announced a new surgery at a national meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. It was a new ear surgery for microtia patients that came to be known as "the Tanzer flap." RCT retired in 1970 and became Visiting Professor of Surgery at the University of Florida School of Medicine in Gainesville. He held the first symposium on the reconstruction of the outer ear and wrote 80 professional articles. In addition to his work in medicine, RCT was a vestryman of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hanover and a director of the United Way of the Upper Valley. RCT's wife, Velma Maul Tanzer, died in 1990. Five years later, on June 2, 1995, RCT married Sheila Harvey, widow of Dartmouth Professor Lawrence E. Harvey. Radford Chapple Tanzer died at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on June 12, 2003.

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