Dr. Boyd T. Williams dedicated his life to the research of cancer. Now that research is being displayed at one of the most prominent clinics in the nation, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Williams, a native of Hudson, was born in 1876 and graduated from Hudson High School in 1894. He then moved to Ohio, where he attended the Cincinnati College of Physicians and Surgeons until 1901, when he received his medical degree.
Williams returned to Hudson in 1907 where he ran a private practice until 1911, when he moved to Minneapolis to open the Williams Sanatorium for Cancer. There he specialized in the treatment and study of external cancer.
Eventually, Williams closed his cancer sanatorium in the cities and opened it in Hudson in 1932. His operation took place out of his own residence. William's fourth wife, Mrs. Ruth Geyman, said her husband thought that "a doctor doesn't know his patients unless he lives with them."
Williams was stripped of his license to practice medicine in the state of Wisconsin in 1943. However, his sanatorium stayed open until 1947. He passed away one year later. Following his death, Williams left a trust dedicated to educational and charitable purposes in the city of Hudson. He fathered two children during his lifetime. Exhibit curator Hilary Lane summed up Williams' life stating, "He was a complex and interesting man. I think he genuinely tried to help people and was misunderstood."
Lane commentated on the decision to create the exhibit saying, "We had so many of his books in our collection and I was just curious as to where those all came from." She certainly had a lot of material to choose from. Williams proclaimed his library to be one of the largest on cancer and tumor disease. His collection consists of 161 books, a large number of which are currently displayed in the exhibit at the Mayo Clinic Library's History of Medicine Collection.
The History of Medicine Library is located on the 15th floor of the Plummer Building at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The exhibit can be viewed anytime from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on weekdays only. The Williams' exhibit will be up in the library for the entire summer and may possibly stay up until midway into the fall season.
Much of the research that went into the exhibit is credited to the St. Croix County Historical Society Research volunteers. The society also runs the Octagon House in downtown Hudson which is open for tours Wednesday through Sunday in the summertime.