Berthold Ernest Hadra, physician and surgeon, was born near Breslau, Prussia (now Wroc_aw, Poland) on November 8, 1842. He obtained his medical education from the universities of Breslau and Berlin; he received his medical degree from Berlin University in 1866 and passed the state examination in 1867. He served in the Prussian army as an assistant surgeon during the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 and remained in army service for a number of years. He moved to Texas in 1872 and practiced medicine in San Antonio, Galveston, and Austin. While in Texas he married Ida Weisselberg (seeHADRA, IDA WEISSELBERG). After her death he married her sister Emma.
Hadra served as a health officer at San Antonio and was a member of the University of Texas Board of Regents. He was appointed chairman of surgery at Texas Medical College at Galveston in 1888 and helped to transform that institution into what is now known as the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He received international respect for his pioneer work in the fields of surgery and gynecology. Known as one of the premier authorities on surgical practices, Hadra revolutionized gynecological and spinal surgery techniques. He wrote a number of medical books and journal articles that were published nationwide and abroad. His most famous articles include "The Surgical Treatment of Epilepsy" and "Injuries of the Pelvic Floor." Hadra's books include The Public and the Doctor (1902), which stresses the importance of the relationship between patient and doctor, and Lesions of the Vagina and Pelvic Floor (1888), which describes an operation for the repair of injuries to the pelvic floor from childbirth. Hadra was a president of the Texas State Medical Association (now the Texas Medical Association) and was the first vice president of the Southern Surgical and Gynecological Association. He was a member of the American Medical Association, the Travis County Medical Association, the West Texas District Medical Association, and the Galveston Medical Club. At the time of his death he was a member of the faculty at Southwestern University at Dallas. He died on July 12, 1903, in Dallas and was survived by his wife and five children. He was buried in Austin.
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Lewis E. Daniell, Types of Successful Men in Texas (Austin: Von Boeckmann, 1890). George Plunkett [Mrs. S. C.] Red, The Medicine Man in Texas (Houston, 1930). Texas State Journal of Medicine, January 1906. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Health and Medicine
Physicians and Surgeons
Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Joseph R. Sanchez,
“Hadra, Berthold Ernest,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 16, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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