The Mayne legacy: A look back at an influential charter member of the ACS

Dr. Mayne

Dr. Mayne

Engineer, surgeon, health care advocate, entrepreneur—Earl Hugh Mayne, MD, FACS, could only dream of earning these titles as a young boy growing up on a small farm near Mason City, IA. He eventually attained these professional goals through hard work, education, and business acumen. But one of Dr. Mayne’s most striking achievements was in philanthropy—he established the Mayne Educational Fund in 1944, thus becoming the first Fellow to provide a legacy gift for the educational mission of the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

Iowa roots

Born on October 19, 1866, Dr. Mayne was the youngest of eight children. According to the Mayne Educational Fund archives, it was “in a sturdy home atmosphere of a large family and an efficiently run farm that Dr. Mayne learned the value of industry, self-reliance, and self-respect.” He also had the good fortune in his formative high school years to come under the influence of Carrie Lane, the young principal of the Mason City High School, who encouraged Dr. Mayne to continue his academic pursuits beyond high school. Ms. Lane, better known as Carrie Chapman Catt, eventually became a familiar leader in the American women’s suffrage movement.

With money he earned by raising cattle and with a county scholarship, Dr. Mayne completed civil engineering courses at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. As an undergraduate student, he waited tables and cut cordwood for professors to pay the wages of a hired man who took his place on the family farm. Although his primary studies were in engineering, Dr. Mayne began adding elective classes in medicine and observing operations. A few fainting spells in his early viewings of surgery did not diminish his newfound passion to become a surgeon.

Surgical career

Using his training in civil engineering, Dr. Mayne worked as a bridge builder along the Ohio River to save enough money to attend medical school, intent on becoming a practicing surgeon. Along the way, he met the vivacious Isabella “Maud” Rittenhouse of Cairo, IL, whose lively journals kept from her girlhood through marriage were published in 1939 and became a bestselling book, Maud. They later married and had three daughters. Mrs. Mayne was an accomplished artist, graduating from the St. Louis School of Fine Art, Washington University, MO, in 1887.

Dr. Mayne earned enough money to study at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York, NY, where he completed his course work in the spring of 1893. After a trip abroad to Italy and other parts of Europe, Dr. Mayne hung his physician’s shingle in Bath Beach, a suburb of Brooklyn, NY, and had his first patient call in April 1894. In a letter to Maud later that year, he wrote that his practice income had grown to $484 per month and that he was “making as many as 26 patient visits per day, barely sleeping.”* His practice soon expanded, and he went from making his rounds on a bicycle to a steam-powered Locomobile that he purchased in 1902.

In 1915, Dr. Mayne was admitted to the ACS as a charter member and was later elected to serve on its Board of Governors. Throughout his career, Dr. Mayne campaigned for health care advances, often ignoring prejudices against modern medicine. For example, he was a pioneer in the use of diphtheria antitoxin during a time that the disease had a 40 percent mortality rate.

Dr. and Mrs. Mayne also gave back to the community in their adopted home state of New York. He was a founder of the Bay Ridge Hospital and for many years was the president of the institution’s board of directors, as well as president of the Bay Ridge Medical Society. He had many interests in real estate and was a director of the Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Company. Mrs. Mayne volunteered and was active in the women’s suffrage movement.

Philanthropic leadership

Dr. Mayne is perhaps best remembered among members of the ACS and in the philanthropy community for the contributions that he has made, including gifts that extended well beyond his lifetime. In honorable recognition for the role that education had on his professional success, he established the Mayne Educational Fund in 1944 to help deserving young men and women have access to educational opportunities. He directed that this charitable trust be dissolved 50 years later, at which time the corpus and all other accumulated income would be paid to the ACS. With an initial contribution of $64,000 in the Mayne Educational Fund trust, the College ultimately received a sum of more than $1 million in 1994. Dr. Mayne also bequeathed an outright sum of $5,000 to the College upon his death in 1949, the equivalent of nearly $50,000 today.

The first distribution of the Mayne Educational Fund, in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, supported the work of Clinical Scholars within the ACS Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care. Future distributions from the fund will soon be used to advance other educational opportunities for ACS Fellows and Affiliate Members. Per Dr. Mayne’s directive in his will, the determined usage will be at the behest of the College’s Board of Regents. Dr. Mayne’s extraordinary generosity and foresight to create a legacy gift are remarkable and have led to the development of resources that will enable the College to meaningfully support the educational and lifelong learning pursuits of Fellows.

The Mayne Heritage Society

In 1994, the Board of Regents honored Dr. Mayne by naming the ACS Foundation’s planned giving program the Mayne Heritage Society to recognize his leadership in philanthropy. Members of the society are those who have followed Dr. Mayne’s example and have generously included the College in their future philanthropic plans. No single gift is the same, as donation amounts and gift formats vary. However, all of these philanthropic efforts share a common goal of supporting the College’s educational mission for future generations through forward-thinking donors who have the opportunity to give to the area of their choice (see the list of Mayne Heritage Society members below).

If you are interested in learning more about Mayne Heritage Society membership, contact the ACS Foundation at 312-202-5338, or visit the Planned Giving web page.

Mayne Heritage Society Members

(as of June 2015)

Dr. William W. Allen
Kathryn and French Anderson
Dr. and Mrs. H. Randolph Bailey
Charles and Carol Balch
Dr. William A. Bernie
James G. and Cynthia G. Chandler
Dr. and Mrs. Neil C. Clements
Dr. Amalia L. Cochran
Dr. Benjamin L. Crue, Jr.
Dr. and Mrs. Martin L. Dalton, Jr.
Gary S. Flom, MD, FACS, FAAP
Dr. and Mrs. Henry Gans
Dr. and Mrs. David E. Grambort
Dr. Wilfred Guerra
Dr. and Mrs. Peter S. Hedberg
Dr. and Mrs. Robert W. Hobson II
Dr. Robert T. J. Holl-Allen
Mary and John Iacuzzo, MD, FACS
Dr. and Mrs. Paul H. Jordan, Jr.
Dr. and Mrs. M. J. Jurkiewicz
The Estate of Samuel Kantor, MD, FACS
The Estate of Harry E. Keig, MD, FACS
Dr. and Mrs. Norman M. Kenyon
Dr. William W. Kridelbaugh
Yeu-Tsu Margaret Lee, MD, FACS
Dr. and Mrs. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr.
Dr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Lesser
Dr. and Mrs. Eric T. Lincke
Dr. and Mrs. Richard A. Lynn
Dr. Marcel C. C. Machado
Dr. and Mrs. James V. Maloney, Jr.
Dr. Hector and Mrs. Ruth Marin
Richard W. and Pennie B. Martin
The Estate of Earl H. Mayne, MD, FACS
LaMar and Julia McGinnis
Dr. Mary L. McKenzie
The Estate of Harold H. Metz, MD, FACS
Dr. Alvin W. Mooney
Dr. William R. Muir
Dr. and Mrs. Henry A. Norum
Dr. Frank G. Opelka
Dr. and Mrs. Frank T. Padberg, Sr.
Dr. Frederick W. Plugge IV
Dr. and Mrs. Stuart M. Poticha
Dr. and Mrs. Richard B. Reiling
Danny and Paula Robinette
Antonio and Vivian Robles
Dr. and Mrs. Martin C. Robson
Drs. Thomas R. and Nona C. Russell
Dr. and Mrs. Russell L. R. Ryan
Dr. and Mrs. William F. Sasser
Dr. and Mrs. Paul R. Schloerb
Drs. Pamela P. Scott and Razaullah A. Khwaja
Dr. and Mrs. Andrew G. Sharf
William Sternfeld, MD, FACS
Dr. Amilu Stewart
Dr. Hugh H. Trout III
Dr. and Mrs. Irving W. Varley
Dr. Arie D. Verhagen
Dr. and Mrs. Alexander J. Walt
Dr. and Mrs. W. Merle Warman
Dr. and Mrs. Andrew L. Warshaw
The Estate of Claude E. Welch, MD, FACS
Dr. and Mrs. David P. Winchester
Dr. A. Stark Wolkoff
Dr. and Mrs. Scott W. Woods


*Rittenhouse IM. Maud. Strout RL, ed. New York, NY: The Macmillian Company; 1939.

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