Another semester has come and gone, and sadly we must now say goodbye to our wonderful fall intern, Jamie Erwin. Jamie was such a bright addition to our jovial staff, and if there was a way that we could adopt her as our own - we would! Fortunately, she has left us with this fantastic blog post outlining the collection she worked on: the "Dr. Ray C. Bunch Collection".
Keeping Up with the Bunches
Without further ado, here's everything you need to know about that collection from Jamie's own words...
Introducing Dr. Ray C. Bunch
Back in September, I was given the amazing opportunity to process the “Dr. Ray C. Bunch Collection,” which houses a broad collection of family records, memorabilia, business records, letters, photographs, printed materials, and medical artifacts belonging to Dr. Bunch, his wife Eliza Russell Bunch, and other members of their family. Dr. Bunch was a Vanderbilt graduate and prominent doctor in the East Nashville area where he owned and operated his medical practice, The Bunch Hospital and Clinic, from 1932 to 1942.
Nicknamed “Daddo”, Dr. Ray C. Bunch was born May 4th, 1891, to Nannie Callis Bunch and R. C. Bunch in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He graduated from Ogden College and went on to study at Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine in 1912.
"...I Find My Thoughts in Old KY with the Girl I Love."
During this time, he maintained a long-distance relationship with native Kentuckian Eliza Russell (nicknamed Bunchie) and often wrote letters to her, calling her a girl of “sterling worth” with a personality that places her in the “largest corner” of his heart.
Comment from Sarah - "Awww, that is so cute!"
They were married on September 9th, 1914, while he was still attending medical school and interning at the Nashville General Hospital.
Starting his Practice
In May 1916, Dr. Bunch earned his medical doctorate degree from Vanderbilt University and passed his state medical board examinations in June of that same year. He then moved to Cowan, Tennessee to become a surgeon and physician for the Davidson, Hicks, & Greene Lumber Company.
By 1920, the Bunch Family had grown to include their daughters: Marcelle (nicknamed Sister) and Martine (nicknamed Ducky).
With an ambition to build his own medical practice in the future, Dr. Bunch decided to leave his profession in Cowan in 1923, and moved his family back to the East Nashville area.
Once relocated, Dr. Bunch opened a medical office for internal medicine on 7th Avenue North in Nashville.
For years, he was part of the teaching staff at Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine, the Protestant Hospital’s School of Nursing, and the Nashville General Hospital. In 1924, he attended post-graduate courses for X-ray in New York City’s Post-Graduate General Hospital, and again in 1931 at the City Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.
Dr. Bunch and Eliza also had a third child during this time period named Betty Ann (birth name Marlene), born in 1928.
East Nashville Clinic
By 1932, the Bunch Family had purchased property at 2629 Gallatin Road for $4,250.00, and it soon became the thriving Bunch Hospital and Clinic that Dr. Bunch fully owned and operated until his early retirement in 1942.
From around 1934 to 1942, Dr. Bunch built a successful medical practice with a small team of nurses and doctors who each specialized in different medical professions.
Dr. Bunch was head of Internal Medicine and X-ray.
Dr. R.Z. Linney was Lead Surgeon and Proctologist.
Dr. Philip C. Elliott was the clinic’s pediatrician.
Dr. Donald L. Mishler was the ENT Specialist.
Dr. Paul J. Ellis was head of the Dental team.
Newspaper articles from the Evening Tennessean and Nashville Banner often documented events that happened at the Bunch Clinic, ranging from minor falls to major automobile accidents.
Introducing Mrs. Eliza Russell Bunch
Eliza Russell Bunch was also a thriving member in the Nashville Community, as she was...
Secretary for the Nashville Housewives' League
Chairman for the East Nashville Housewives' League
Member of the Nashville Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA)
Members of the Inglewood Garden Club
Member of the Rock City Chapter No. 2
Member of the Order of the Eastern Star
Member of the Order of the Rainbow for Girls
And member of the Vine Street Christian Church
For the Nashville Housewives' League, she often helped organize local drives or volunteer services, hosted annual events for the YWCA, and published cooking recipes for the league’s annual cookbook in the Nashville Banner newspaper.
Work Outside the Clinic
Outside of the Bunch Clinic, Dr. Bunch was an active member in...
The Nashville Academy of Medicine
American Medical Association
Masonic Lodge No. 254
And the McKendree Methodist Church
He died of a heart attack on June 22nd, 1944, at the age of 53.
Eliza Russell Bunch never remarried after the death of her husband, and she passed away on June 20th, 1980, at the age of 89.
Their youngest daughter, Betty Ann Bunch (Dale) Forsythe, went on to become a teacher for the Nashville school district in the 1950s, and became a home economist for the Nashville Electric Service (NES) in 1960. She was an active member in the Nashville Area Home Economists, Home Economists in Business, and the American Home Economics Association.
During the same time, she also hosted a local television series called “Kitchen Corner” and spoke at various Davidson County Schools to teach students the skills of cooking and hosting with the use of safe electricity.
In the 1970s, she helped write The Nashville Cookbook: Specialties of the Cumberland Region for the Nashville Area Home Economics Association.
In 1981, as a Public and Employee Information Manager, she became the first female manager for NES. In 1982, she received the National Women’s Executive Award for her career with NES.
She passed away at the age of 85, on May 28th, 2014.
The ”Dr. Ray C. Bunch Collection” was donated by Debby Dale Mason–Dr. Bunch’s granddaughter and Betty Bunch Forsythe’s daughter.
A round of applause for Jamie's great work with this collection! If anyone has any further questions about this collection and its contents, please contact Metro Archives.
'Til next time,