Arthur G. James is born in Rhodesdale (Belmont County), Ohio, the son of a coal miner and the third of eight children.
He graduates from St. Clairsville High School as co-valedictorian of his class and enrolls at The Ohio State University. In 1933 he is accepted into the College of Medicine.
Dr. James earns his MD and begins a medical internship at the University of Chicago Clinics. He follows this up with a surgical internship at Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C., then returns to Ohio State to start a three-year general surgery residency that he completes in 1942, serving as chief resident during his final year.
Dr. James marries Mildred Cameron. They will have two sons, David and Cameron.
Deciding to pursue further training in cancer, Dr. James is accepted as a fellow at Memorial Hospital (now Memorial Sloan-Kettering) in New York City, one of the few hospitals in the nation devoted solely to cancer patients at that time. He begins on July 1, but six weeks into his training he is called into World War II service with the 65th General Hospital, which is eventually attached to the 8th Air Force and stationed in England on the North Sea.
After the war, he completes his fellowship training at Memorial Hospital, where he is impressed by the successful management of cancer patients.
Dr. James returns to Ohio State in October as an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery. Inspired by the cancer care he saw at Memorial Hospital, and realizing that no cancer centers exist between New York and Texas, he dreams of establishing one in Columbus.
Dr. James becomes medical director of the Columbus Cancer Clinic, which was founded in 1921 as the nation’s first free cancer detection clinic. He will serve as medical director for 35 years. Also in 1954, the Clinic board appoints a committee to establish an inpatient cancer treatment facility – the initial step toward construction of a cancer hospital in Columbus.
The Columbus Cancer Clinic establishes a hospital fund of $100,000 transferred from memorial funds. Dr. James becomes president of the Ohio Division of the American Cancer Society and serves in that capacity until 1960.
Norma Flesher, RN, becomes Dr. James’ nurse-secretary for the remainder of his professional career.
Dr. James publishes Cancer Prognosis Manual for the American Cancer Society.
The Columbus Cancer Clinic submits a proposal for a cancer hospital to the United Hospital Federation, but it is rejected because the Federation believes available funds should be used to provide the community with needed routine hospital beds.
Dr. James is president of the Society of Head and Neck Surgeons.
Dr. James is president of the Society of Surgical Oncology.
The National Cancer Act is signed and Congress declares a "war on cancer."
Dr. James serves as national president of the American Cancer Society. In 1973, the Columbus Citizen Journal names him one of the top 10 men in Columbus.
In November, while serving as national president of the American Cancer Society (ACS), Dr. James (right) chats with famed orchestra leader Lawrence Welk, who was honorary crusader chairman for the ACS that year.
Believing that Columbus now has enough routine hospital beds, Dr. James resumes his efforts to have a cancer hospital built in Columbus.
Voters reject a bond issue that would have raised funds for a cancer center.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) designates The Ohio State University’s cancer program as a comprehensive cancer center. Dr. James presents his plan for having a cancer hospital in Columbus to a group of influential community leaders and asks for their support. Several travel with him to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and later to Memorial Sloan-Kettering to see firsthand the high level of treatment available at a cancer specialty hospital.
Dr. James is promoted to professor of surgery and chief of surgical oncology at Ohio State. He also becomes the first person to hold the Lucius A. Wing Chair of Cancer Research and Therapy and is named chairman of the cancer committee at University Hospitals. The committee organizes cancer services at University Hospitals and develops a program to train the house staff – many of whom would later form the nucleus of the medical staff at The James.
Aware of strong community support for having a cancer hospital in Columbus, the Ohio General Assembly grants Ohio State $40 million to build it. The University contributes $14 million.
On July 10, ground is broken on the construction site at 300 W. 10th Ave.
At a Sept. 11 dedication, the cornerstone is set and the hospital is named for Dr. James (the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Research Institute). Also this year, he is among 10 recipients of the Horatio Alger Award honoring distinguished Americans.
David Schuller, MD, is named director of the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Research Institute. Dennis Smith is named director of administration at The James.
In December, just three weeks before the hospital’s scheduled opening, a water line on the 13th floor freezes and breaks, causing water to cascade through the fully furnished facility from top to bottom and delaying the opening by six months.
On July 9, The James opens for business and admits its first patients. Dr. James accompanies the first patient to be wheeled into the new facility from University Hospitals. The James has 17 patients on its first day. Later this year, Dr. James retires from seeing patients but keeps an office at the hospital and maintains an everyday presence in an emeritus capacity until 1996 when failing health prevents his return. The American Cancer Society awards him a Medal of Honor for Clinical Research.
Several dignitaries attended The James’ October 1990 dedication dinner. Dr. James (second from left) and David Schuller, MD (left), director of The James, pause with Marilyn Quayle, wife of former vice president Dan Quayle; Robert Schweitzer, MD, then national president of the American Cancer Society; and E. Gordon Gee, then president of The Ohio State University.
Dr. James (left) greets longtime friend and OSU cancer program supporter Richard J. Solove at the October 1990 hospital dedication dinner. Between them is former Ohio Gov. James Rhodes.
Dr. James receives The Ohio State University Alumni Medalist Award.
The Ohio Hospital Association presents Dr. James with its meritorious service award.
The Columbus Club of Printing House Craftsmen selects Dr. James to receive the Franklinton Award for outstanding contributions to the community.
The James’ inspiring Statue of Hope, created by sculptor Alfred Tibor, was dedicated on the hospital’s front lawn in July 1993. Mr. and Mrs. Tibor (right) stand before the statue with Dr. and Mrs. James (third and second from left), Florine Ruben (left) and Bernard Ruben (third from right).
Dr. James earns the Columbus Foundation Award for community service; Gov. George Voinovich chooses Dr. James for the Ohio Governor’s Award for Medicine, Research and Science.
Dr. James and William Farrar, MD, director of medical affairs at The James, stand beside a portrait that Dr. James received while being honored at the Italian Festival in Columbus in 1994 .
The Piave Club and Columbus USA Committee present Dr. James with the Christopher Columbus Award for distinguished citizenship.
Community leader Richard J. Solove, a longtime friend of Dr. James and supporter of the cancer program at Ohio State, donates $20 million to The James’ Threshold of Discovery campaign for cancer genetics research. In honor of this gift – the largest ever given to the OSU Medical Center – the institution is renamed the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. In July 1999, The James is named by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best cancer facilities in the nation.
The Arthur G. James Conference Room and Library is dedicated on 5 James.