The Southern Surgical Association (SSA) was founded in 1887 by Birmingham brothers and surgeons, Drs. W. E. B. and J. D. S. Davis. Since the organization’s first annual meeting on December 4-6, 1888, publication of annual transactions have followed. These transactions include proceedings of the meetings as well as a publication of the scientific papers read therein, with transcriptions of subsequent paper discussions. In 1987, Lister Hill Library at the University of Alabama at Birmingham became the official archival repository for the Southern Surgical Association. The Reynolds-Finley Historical Library holds the archival copies of the association’s transactions, and the UAB Archives holds all other materials of the association’s archives.

In the process of establishing the SSA archives, the UAB Department of Surgery set up a fund in memory of Dr. Joseph M. Donald, the respected Birmingham surgeon who passed away just two months after his election to the organization’s presidency in December of 1960. As noted by Dr. Robert S. Sparkman in the organization’s 100-year anniversary volume (1987), the purpose of this fund “would be to ensure in perpetuity the maintenance and utilization of the Southern Surgical Association historical collection.” Now under the administration of Dr. Marshall M. Urist, this memorial fund continues to serve that purpose.

For over a year now, plans have been in the works between library staff and Dr. Urist for a mass digitization of the association’s transactions. Pricing estimates, assessments of scanning vendors and digital technology capabilities, and extensive copyright research are some of the issues and considerations that have gone into the planning process, involving a small group of essential collaborators within UAB Libraries.

We are pleased to announce that as of October 30, 2017, 109 volumes of the Transactions through to the copyright-determined date of 1997 have been scanned by Crowley Company of Frederick, Maryland. We are now working to upload the scanned volumes to the UAB Digital Collections and describe them with appropriate metadata. Further web development to exhibit the digital transactions are planned for the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library and Southern Surgical Association websites. One exciting feature of this digital collection will be the ability to search for particular terms, keywords, and names across all volumes of the transactions (and only the transactions) at one time. We will keep you posted on the progress of the project and will let you know when the collection is available online. In the meantime, we want to give special thanks to Dr. Urist, the Southern Surgical Association, and the UAB Department of Surgery, for supporting this effort.