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KNIGHT, HARRY OBADIAH (1880–1939). Harry Obadiah Knight, anatomist and professor, was born to William Hughes and Tabitha Elizabeth (Turner) Knight in Hillsboro, Texas, on November 17, 1880. He attended public schools in Hillsboro and Southwestern University in Georgetown, where he received an A.B. in 1902. In 1907 he completed his M.D. at the head of his class at the University of Texas Medical Branch. After a year's internship at UTMB and another at Philadelphia General Hospital, Knight returned to UTMB in 1909 to fill an emergency vacancy in the Department of Pathology and Bacteriology. He was appointed demonstrator in anatomy in 1911, adjunct professor in 1912, and associate professor in 1914. In 1923 he became a full professor, and in 1931 he was appointed head of the Department of Anatomy. He served in the last two positions until his death. Knight wrote numerous papers on anatomical subjects and was co-author, with William Keiller, of A Laboratory Course in Applied Anatomy (1933). He played a major role in helping UTMB build one of the finest museums of human anatomical specimens in the United States. Knight was the first chairman of the Committee on Scientific Exhibits (1926–33) in the State Medical Association of Texas. He developed and popularized the concept of scientific exhibits as valuable educational activities. He was also a member of the Southern Medical Association, the Texas Surgical Society, the American Association of Anatomists, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as a fellow of the Texas Academy of Scienceqv. According to Keiller, the first professor of anatomy at UTMB, Knight was "the world's greatest anatomist." He was known not only for his skill, however, but also for his absentmindedness. It is said that one day, en route to UTMB, he turned his back against the wind to light his cigar. Once the cigar was lit, he continued in the direction he was facing until he found himself back home. Knight married Bertha Helen Beissner on June 30, 1915. They had no children. On October 5, 1939, burdened with poor health, he took a pistol to work and shot himself.

Galveston Daily News, October 6, 1939. Texas State Journal of Medicine, January 1940. The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston: A Seventy-five Year History (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967).
Patricia L. Jakobi

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Patricia L. Jakobi, "Knight, Harry Obadiah," accessed November 22, 2017,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.