James D. Rives, MD Biography
January 11, 1893 – January 7, 1975
James Davidson Rives was born in Mansfield,
Louisiana in 1893. His rural upbringing and education
apparently served him well. He received a B.A. degree from
Vanderbilt in 1914, and an M.D. degree from
Tulane University Medical School in 1918.
He served an internship at Touro Infirmary from
1918-1919, and maintained a surgical practice there
throughout his professional career.
The operating room
supervisor at Touro was a lovely young woman from
Indianola, Mississippi named Marion Smith, known to her
friends as “Smitty”. They were married in 1923.
Dr. Rives had clinical appointments at Tulane Medical
School from 1919-1931, but was recruited by Dr. Urban Maes
to LSU, where he became Professor of Clinical Surgery in
1931. He was named Head of the
Department of Surgery in 1947, a position he held until
his retirement in 1962. He was named Emeritus Professor
and remained active in weekly conferences until his death
Among his numerous academic and professional achievements,
he served on The American Board of Surgery. In 1958 he was
elected President of The Southern Surgical Association,
which he described as “the finest surgical society in the
world and its presidency is the highest honor to which a
surgeon should aspire.”
Dr. Jimmy Rives was in great demand as an after-dinner
speaker and essayist. A collection of his writings,
“Essays of a Louisiana Surgeon”, edited by his friend and
fellow past-president of The Southern Dr. Robert S.
Sparkman, was published in 1977 by the Rives Society. A
copy is presented to each new member.