Daily, Ray Karchmer (1891–1975)

By: Natalie Ornish

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1994

Updated: August 31, 2016

Ray Karchmer Daily, eye surgeon and author, was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 1891 and arrived in the United States at age fourteen with her parents, Anna and Kalman Karchmer, who took the family to Denison, Texas. From high school in Denison she went directly to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where she became one of the first women to graduate from a Texas medical school. She interned at Women's Hospital in Philadelphia because that was the only hospital in the country with a dormitory for women. In 1914 she returned to Houston to marry Louis Daily, M.D., whom she had met in medical school.

The doctors formed a joint practice, and each took turns maintaining the practice while the other studied in Europe. In 1923–24 Ray remained in Vienna, Austria, to specialize in ophthalmology. She returned to Houston to work as a clinician and became an eminent surgeon specializing in cataract removal. She served on the Houston school board for many years, was elected president of it twice, and helped in founding the University of Houston. She worked as an ophthalmologist at Memorial and Jefferson Davis hospitals and as a clinical professor of ophthalmology at Baylor University College of Medicine. She became the first woman president of the medical staff at Memorial Hospital in Houston and in the 1950s served as president of the medical staff of Jefferson Davis Hospital. She produced films on surgical procedures that Harvard and other medical schools used, and wrote nine books, some in collaboration with her husband and their son, Dr. Louis Daily, Jr.

She served as vice president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology. On June 10, 1970, she received from the University of Texas Medical Branch the Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Ray Daily practiced until age eighty-three. She died on November 28, 1975, in Houston.

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Houston Chronicle, May 31, 1970. Natalie Ornish, Pioneer Jewish Texans (Dallas: Texas Heritage, 1989).

  • Health and Medicine
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Time Periods:
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  • Great Depression
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Natalie Ornish, “Daily, Ray Karchmer,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/daily-ray-karchmer.

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December 1, 1994
August 31, 2016

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