Graves, Marvin Lee (1867–1953)

By: Chester R. Burns

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: February 16, 2017

Marvin Lee Graves, physician and professor of medicine, was born on March 26, 1867, at Bosqueville, Texas, the oldest son of ten children of George W. and Mary Priscilla (Fowler) Graves. He received bachelor's (1885) and master's (1886) degrees from Southwestern University and a medical degree from the Bellevue Hospital Medical School in New York City (1891). Graves practiced in Waco until 1898, when he became superintendent of the Southwestern Hospital for the Insane in San Antonio.

In 1905 he became professor of medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, a role in which he served for twenty years. Graves was a mentor to many students and colleagues; he encouraged Titus H. Harris to receive training in neurology and psychiatry, Boyd Reading to specialize in pediatrics, and Earl Crutchfield to study dermatology. One of his assistants, Charles T. Stone, Sr., succeeded Graves as professor of medicine at UTMB. Graves served on the UTMB Executive Committee (1906–25) and the John Sealy Hospital Board of Managers (1911–25). He was president and founding member of the Texas Club of Internists (1924).

In 1925 he established a private practice in Houston and became a member of the Executive Board of Methodist Hospital. He attended patients at Methodist Hospital, Hermann Hospital, Baptist Hospital, and St. Joseph's Hospital. He served as president of the Houston Society of Internal Medicine (1946). He became vice president and medical director of the Seaboard Life Insurance Company in 1925 and continued in that position when the company changed its name to American General Life Insurance Company. After retiring from active practice in 1947, Graves remained as medical advisor to this insurance firm.

He was a fellow of the American College of Physicians, a member of the Galveston County and Harris County medical societies, and a member of the Texas State Medical Association (later the Texas Medical Association) for fifty-five years; he was president of the TSMA in 1913–14. He received an honorary LL.D. degree from Southern Methodist University in 1918. Graves was an active member of Methodist churches in Galveston and Houston. He was a Mason and a Democrat. On March 16, 1893, he married Laura Ghent; they had a son and two daughters. Graves died in Houston on November 19, 1953.

Houston Post, November 21, 1953. Texas State Journal of Medicine, January 1954. Who's Who in America, 1934–35.

  • Education
  • Educators
  • Medical
  • Health and Medicine
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • School Founders
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • General Practitioners
Time Periods:
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Great Depression
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Chester R. Burns, “Graves, Marvin Lee,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

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February 16, 2017

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