Rosser, Charles McDaniel (1862–1945)

By: Joan J. Perez

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

Charles McDaniel Rosser, surgeon, teacher, and author, was born on December 22, 1862, in Cuthbert, Georgia, to Rev. Moses Franklin and Julia A. or Amelia (Smith) Rosser. The family moved to Pittsburg, Texas, in 1865, and Rosser attended the East Texas Academic Institute in Leesburg. He later taught school himself, but returned east to study medicine at the University of Louisville, Kentucky (1884–85). Having obtained his certificate, he practiced for two years in Texas, then finished his degree at Louisville (1887–88), where he won the Whitsett Gold Medal for the best graduating thesis. He returned to Texas and established a practice in Waxahachie, then in 1889 moved to Dallas.

Rosser devoted his private practice almost entirely to general surgery. He was surgeon for several railroad companies and medical examiner for a number of insurance companies. He was associate editor of the Texas Courier Record of Medicine in 1889, and in 1891 he was elected to a term as city health officer. As the appointee of Governor Charles A. Culberson, he was superintendent of the North Texas Hospital for the Insane at Terrell from 1895 to 1897, but returned to private practice thereafter. In 1900, by establishing and becoming dean of the medical department of the University of Dallas, Rosser founded the city's first medical school. Because he was unable to acquire access for the school to St. Paul's Sanitarium, at the time the only general hospital in Dallas, Rosser and his colleagues established Good Samaritan Hospital. By arrangement with Baylor University in 1903, both the school and hospital became the Baylor University College of Medicine, where Rosser was a professor of surgery for eighteen years, and Baylor Hospital. In addition to his contributions to medical literature, Rosser wrote The Crusading Commoner (1937), a biography of his friend William Jennings Bryan, and Doctors and Doctors: Wise and Otherwise (1941).

Rosser became a member of the Texas State Medical Association (see TEXAS MEDICAL ASSOCIATION) in 1889 and was later vice president (1897), president (1925–26), and honorary fellow (1944). He also belonged to the Dallas County Medical Association, the Northern Texas and Central Texas Medical associations, the Texas Sanitary Association, the Texas Railway Surgeons Association, the Southern Surgical and Gynecological Association, and the Medical Association of the Southwest. He was elected to office in most of these organizations. He was a fellow of the Southwestern Surgical Society, a life fellow of the American College of Surgeons, an honorary professor of surgery at the Dallas Southwestern Medical College, and president of the first State Board of Health, of which he was a member for ten years. He also belonged to the Dallas Writers Club. On September 11, 1889, Rosser married Elma Curtice of Kentucky; they had a son, who later joined his father in a medical partnership, and a daughter. Rosser was a Methodist, a Democrat, and a Mason. He was ill for nearly three years before he died, on January 27, 1945, in a Dallas hospital.

Dallas Morning News, January 28, 1945. Ellis A. Davis and Edwin H. Grobe, comps., The New Encyclopedia of Texas (2 vols., Dallas: Texas Development Bureau, 1925?). Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County (Chicago: Lewis, 1892; rpt., Dallas: Walsworth, 1976). Texas State Journal of Medicine , April 1945.


  • Education
  • Educators
  • Medical
  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • General Surgeons


  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

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

Joan J. Perez, “Rosser, Charles McDaniel,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 05, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995

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