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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Royster, Hubert Ashley

by Grady Lee Ernest Carroll, Sr., 1994

19 Nov. 1871–7 Nov. 1959

A photograph of Dr. Hubert Ashley Royster. Image from Ashley Royster, physician, was born in Raleigh, the son of Dr. Wisconsin I. and Mary Finch Royster, granddaughter of Colonel R. B. Creecy, who was editor of the Elizabeth City Economist. Royster attended the Raleigh Male Academy and was graduated in 1891 from Wake Forest College with the A.B. degree. He received a doctor of medicine degree in 1894 from the University of Pennsylvania, alma mater of his father, and in 1894–95 was resident surgeon in Mercy Hospital, Pittsburgh. In 1896 he entered practice with his father.

In 1897 Royster became surgeon in charge of St. Agnes Hospital, which he helped found, and gynecologist at Rex Hospital, Raleigh. From 1902 to 1910 he was dean of The University of North Carolina School of Medicine, which was located in Raleigh. He is believed to have been the first physician in North Carolina to specialize in surgery; additionally, he concentrated on women's diseases. At his retirement in 1939, he was professor of surgery at Wake Forest College. Afterwards, he was honorary chief of the surgical services at Rex Hospital, chief of staff at St. Agnes Hospital, and consulting surgeon emeritus at State Hospital in Raleigh.

Royster was president of the Wake County Medical Society in 1912 and of the North Carolina Medical Society in 1922. The author of Appendicitis (1927) and Medical Manners and Morals (1937), he also wrote extensively for medical journals and served on the editorial board of the North Carolina Medical Journal. In 1941–42 he was president of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. In the Central Park Hotel Dr. Royster removed a bug from William Jennings Bryan's throat, where it had lodged during a campaign speech.

In 1901 Royster married Louise Page of Princess Ann County, Md. They were the parents of three children: Mrs. Thomas Oxnard of Savannah, Ga.; Dr. Hubert A., Jr., of Blue Hills, Maine; and Dr. Henry P. of Gladwyne, Pa. A nephew was Chauncey L. Royster of Raleigh. Louise Page Royster (5 Sept. 1873–29 Dec. 1972), a recognized gardener, died at age ninety-nine. Their home was on Beechridge Road in Raleigh. Dr. Royster and his widow were interred in the Royster family plot in Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh. In 1962 a portrait of Royster was unveiled at Rex Hospital.


Grady L. E. Carroll, They Lived in Raleigh, 2 vols. (1977).

Josephus Daniels, Editor in Politics (1941).

Mary Lynch Johnson, History of Meredith College (1956).

Dorothy Long, Medicine in North Carolina (1972).

North Carolina Historical Review 20 (April 1943).

Oakwood Cemetery records, Raleigh, and superintendent of Oakwood Cemetery, personal contact, 25 May 1978.

Raleigh News and Observer, 31 Dec. 1972, 8 Aug. 1976.

Raleigh Times, 30 Dec. 1972.

Hubert A. Royster, Appendicitis (1927) and Medical Manners and Morals (1937).

Charles L. Van Noppen Papers (Manuscript Department, Duke University Library, Durham).

Additional Resources:

"Centennial Hall of Fame Inductee Dr. Hubert Ashley Royster November 19, 1871 - November 7, 1959." Raleigh Hall of Fame.

Hubert Ashley Royster Papers (MS 99), Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, Wake Forest University. (accessed June 24, 2013).

Royster Family Papers, 1840-1979 (collection no. 04183). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed June 24, 2013).

Ferrell, John A. "A tribute to Dr. Hubert Ashley Royster, Dean of the University of North Carolina Medical Department at Raleigh." North Carolina Medical Journal 14, no.6, (June 1953). 248-9.

Image Credits:

"Our beloved Dean H.A. Royster." Photograph. Historical sketch of the University of North Carolina Medical Department at Raleigh: with biographical notes of its graduates. [North Carolina?]: The Alumni Association. 1941. Frontispiece. (accessed June 24, 2013).

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