Dr. Seymour Schwartz was a giant in surgery, recognized as the lead author of the premier textbook in surgery worldwide. He was a mentor and role model who influenced generations of surgeons around the world for more than 50 years. His passing represents the end of an era in surgery. Dr. Schwartz was born in the Bronx and received his surgical training at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. After training, he remained as a faculty member at the University of Rochester and rose to prominence as Professor in 1967 and Chair of the Department of Surgery from 1987-1998. Dr. Schwartz served as President of the American College of Surgeons, the American Surgical Association and the Society for Clinical Surgery. He was recognized for a brilliant intellect and profound fund of knowledge about surgery. His name has come to embody to the highest order of the title ‘Professor’.
In 1969, Dr. Schwartz served as the Founding Editor in Chief and with five other editors, Dr. David Hume, Dr. Richard Lillehei, Dr. George Shires, Dr. Frank Spencer, and Dr. Edward Storer, published the first edition of Principles of Surgery. The book was written in a single voice, that of Dr. Schwartz’s, as he personally edited the entire work. With its distinctive yellow cover, it quickly became regarded as a leading textbook in surgery. Dr. Schwartz and the co-editors produced six more editions that kept updating the rapidly changing standard of care of surgical treatment and techniques. During this time, the field of surgery saw spectacular improvements in outcomes and quality improvement programs, in minimally invasive techniques, robotic surgery, modern adjunctive therapies, great advances in transplantation, and in medical imaging that largely replaced routine explorations of all major body cavities in order to diagnose disease.
It was with each new edition of Schwartz’s Principles of Surgery that the field of surgery was kept up-to-date throughout this remarkable era. We all recall reading Schwartz’s Principles of Surgery during medical school and residency, for our first American Board of Surgery exam, and for subsequent recertification exams. In 2000, Dr. Schwartz retired as the lead editor of the textbook and we were honored to carry forward his legacy for the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th editions. We preserved the format of the textbook with its basic and clinical considerations and the format of each chapter, while following Dr. Schwartz’s tradition of modernizing each new edition. We also decided to preserve the name of Schwartz’s Principles of Surgery, as it remains a powerful brand name of excellence in surgery recognized worldwide. Following retirement, Dr. Schwartz was always up-to-date on the leading edge of surgery and would make salient remarks about the chapters in each new edition. He wrote the preface for all subsequent editions. In addition, Dr. Schwartz was dedicated to his late wife, Ruth, and their three children, Richard, Kenneth, and David. We will miss Dr. Schwartz’s brilliant intellect and his mentorship, and will always remember his dedication to education for surgical learners worldwide.
—The current editors of Schwartz’s Principles of Surgery
F. Charles Brunicardi, MD, FACS
Dana K. Andersen, MD, FACS
Timothy R. Billiar, MD, FACS
John G. Hunter, MD, FACS, FRCS Edin(Hon.)
Lillian S. Kao, MD, MS
Jeffrey B. Matthews, MD, FACS
Raphael E. Pollock, MD, PhD, FACS