Alabama Academy of Honor


Tinsley R. Harrison

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1972.



Dr. Tinsley Randolph Harrison was born March 18, 1900, in Talladega, Alabama, and in 1906 moved to Birmingham with his parents, Dr. William Groce and Louisa Marcia (Bondurant) Harrison. Completing the public schools in Birmingham, he graduated from Marion Institute and the University of Michigan, receiving his medical degree from Johns Hopkins in 1922. Serving a year's internship followed by a year as assistant resident physician at Peter Brent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, he returned to Johns Hopkins for a year as assistant resident physician before going to Vanderbilt University as chief resident physician.

Dr. Harrison's academic career began in earnest with his appointment as Instructor in Medicine at Vanderbilt in 1926 and where he continued on the faculty as an assistant and an associate professor. From 1941 to 1944 he served as professor and chairman of the Department of Medicine at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and from 1944 to 1950 he served in the same capacity at Southwestern Medical College, Dallas, Texas.

As a first step in the revitalizing of the medical school of the University in 1950, Dr. Harrison was made professor and chairman of the Department of Medicine, and for the first year of his tenure, acting dean of the Medical College. Under his direction from 1957 to 1964 the Cardiovascular Division assumed a preeminent reputation in the country. As distinguished professor of the University of Alabama and as a consultant to various hospitals, as president to the medical association and an author he has been recognized by his colleagues as one of the nation's leading heart specialists.

Dr. Harrison authored or co-authored three books: Failure of the Circulation, Principles of Internal Medicine, and Principles and Problems of Ischemic Heart Disease. He served as president of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the American Heart Association. In 1963 he received the Gold Heart Award from the latter organization. The Association of American Physicians awarded him the Kober Medal in 1967, and the American College of Physicians gave him Mastership Award in 1964 and the Distinguished Teacher Award in 1970.

In 1924 he married Elizabeth Woodward of Grafton, Massachusetts, and was the father of five and grandfather of fourteen. He is now deceased.