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RG2348.AM:  Hiram Winnett Orr, 1877-1956

Papers:  1892-1956

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Neb.:  Orthopedic surgeon

Size:  3.0 cu.ft.; 4 boxes + oversize


Hiram Winnett Orr was born March 17, 1877, in West Newton, Pennsylvania, and came to Lincoln, Nebraska, at the age of 15. He was enrolled at the University of Nebraska as a preparatory medical student under the patronage of his uncle, H.J. Winnett, a Lincoln physician. In his second year he became an assistant to Dr. Henry B. Ward in the Zoology Department. In 1895 he went to the University of Michigan School of Medicine, graduating in 1899. He returned to Lincoln and took over the practice of his uncle, who was then mayor of Lincoln. From 1899-1906 he was editor of the Western Medical Review. Dr. Orr had become interested in orthopedics, and in 1895 was instrumental in the founding of the State Orthopedics Hospital of which he became head in 1911.

During World War I Dr. Orr served as a surgeon in the Medical Corps, where he developed the revolutionary “Orr method” of treating wounds and compound fractures. After discharge at the rank of Lt. Colonel in June of 1919, he remained in charge of the medical regiment of the Nebraska National Guard for three years, and retired with the rank of Colonel. After leaving the service he returned to Nebraska and became chief surgeon at the Orthopedics Hospital, as well as of Bryan Memorial Hospital and Lincoln General. He was associated in private practice with Dr. Fritz Teal.

Dr. Orr was a member of the Lancaster County Medical Association, the Nebraska Medical Association and the American Medical Association. He was for several years editor of the Journal of Orthopedic Surgery, and was prolific writer and speaker, campaigning for his pioneer advances in treatment and for orthopedic surgery. Hiram Winnett Orr died at Rochester, Minnesota, on October 11, 1956.


This collection consists of the papers of Dr. Hiram Winnett Orr dating from ca. 1892-1956. The collection is arranged in five series: 1) Correspondence, 1900-1956; 2) Journals, 1948; 3) Writings, 1892-1954; 4) Scrapbooks; and 5) Miscellaneous.

The correspondence of Series 1 is mainly with other doctors and relates to articles written on the subject of orthopedic surgery. The journals in Series 2 consist of two bound volumes of his daily notes, printed matter, and some photographs dating from 1948. The notes in these journals have to do with patients and treatment, as well as some of his personal life. An index to the journals is also included.

The writings of Series 3 are mostly by Dr. Orr and relate to his work in the field, his research, and the research of others. The series includes manuscript and typescript drafts as well as published articles and reprints. Also included are speeches and papers presented at professional conferences. Of particular note are the materials relating to the history of the Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital and the folder of informational forms filled out by various doctors for the “History of Orthopaedic Surgery of the A.E.F.” See also the volume of articles and reprints added later in Box 3.

The scrapbooks in Series 4 contain manuscripts, printed matter and photographs, as well as some correspondence. One scrapbook contains a collection of photographs, orders for meetings, and rosters of the “Last Man’s Club.” This organization was composed of a group of 15 Lincoln doctors who served with the A.E.F. during World War I. Another scrapbook relates to Base Hospital No. 49, an all-Nebraskan unit which served with the A.E.F. during World War I. The third scrapbook in the series relates to Dr. Orr’s trip to Dublin, Ireland in 1933 for the British Medical Association meeting. Series 5 consists of miscellaneous materials including personal items (certificates, membership cards, etc.), financial information, and various newspaper clippings.

Note:  See the photo component [RG2348.PH] for related photographs. See the Library catalog for publications by Hiram Winnett Orr. See the government records collection [RG39, SG9] for official records relating to the Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1900-1956

Box 1


  1. 1900-1904


  2. 1917-1918


  3. 1925-1934

  4. 1935-1949

  5. 1950-1956

Series 2 – Journals, 1948

  1. Journal for 1948, Jan.-June (Vol. 1)

  2. Journal for 1948, July-Dec. (Vol. 2)

  3. Journal for 1948, index

Series 3 – Writings, 1892-1954

  1. 1892-1909

  2. 1910-1920

  3. 1921-1930

  4. 1931-1938

  5. 1939

  6. 1940-1942

Box 2


  1. 1943-1949

  2. 1950-1954, n.d.

  3. Scrapbook containing various articles & reprints, ca. 1919-1951 (2007.0072)

  4. History of the Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital (manuscript drafts)

  5. History of the Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital (manuscript drafts)

  6. History of the Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital (manuscript drafts)

  7. History of the Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital (information on former nurses, patients, etc.)

  8. History of the Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital (misc. background information)

  9. History of Orthopaedic Surgery of the A.E.F. (information forms)

Series 4 – Scrapbooks

  1. Last Man’s Club, compiled by Dr. Orr, containing personal records, photographs of members, death records, and information on meetings, 1918-1954. Indexed at front. (see oversize)

  2. University of Nebraska Base Hospital 49, clippings compiled by Miss Martha Turner from Nebraska newspapers, 1918-1919. Indexed at front

  3. Scrapbook relating to Dr. Orr’s trip to Dublin, Ireland in 1933 for the British Medical Association meeting (2005.0208)

Box 3


  1. Scrapbook, etc., relating to Dr. Alexander S. von Mansfelde

Series 5 – Miscellaneous

  1. Personal (includes certificates, membership cards, etc.)

  2. Financial information, receipts, etc.

  3. Programs, 1902-1952

  4. Travel

  5. Bound volume of articles and reprints by Dr. Orr

Box 4


  1. Articles and reprints (not authored by Dr. Orr)

  2. Newspaper clippings (unsorted), ca. 1900-1954

  3. Newspaper clippings (unsorted), ca. 1900-1954

  4. Newspaper clippings (unsorted), ca. 1900-1954 (see oversize)

  5. Miscellaneous


Subject headings:

Child welfare — Nebraska


Hospitals — Nebraska — Lincoln

Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital (Lincoln, Neb.)

Orr, Hiram Winnett, 1877-1956

Orthopedics — History


Physicians — Nebraska

Surgery — History

United States. Army. Base Hospital No. 49, Allery, France

VonMansfelde, Alexander S., 1845-1928

World War, 1914-1918 — Hospitals

World War, 1914-1918 — Medical and sanitary affairs

Wounds and injuries — Treatment


DAB/HEK/ab   08-02-1967

Revised TMM   06-14-2007

Revised TMM   01-07-2011

Encoded TMM   01-07-2011

Revised TMM   04-02-2015