Henry Floyd Gamble was a man that despite all odds became a great physician. He was born in Albemarle County, Virginia on January 16, 1862, during a time when slavery was alive and well in the South. He was granted the privilege of being a houseboy slave and in being so befriended the son of the landowner, who was also a professor of medicine at the University of Virginia. The young boy taught Gamble how to read and write. When Gamble got older he found himself a night teacher and studied with him from 1879 to 1882. Gamble saved what little money he’d earned and went away to college up North—Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1888 and went on to Yale University to get his M.D., which he did in 1891.
He wanted to return to Charlottesville to start his practice when he got notice that his sister in Charleston, West Virginia had gotten ill of a twisted cystic ovary. He successfully performed a surgery on her. Because of his acumen and ability as a surgeon, he immediately won hospital privileges. That same year he set up his practice in medicine and surgery there in Charleston.
He was very active in black medical affairs. He was the president of the National Medical Association from 1911 to 1912 and also organized a State Association. He continued to actively practice medicine until his tragic death at age 70 when he was hit by a train that crashed into his car.
He was known for being an avid reader; he was interested in professional books as well as books of poetry, philosophy and agriculture. He also spoke German and Hebrew. He was married three times and had a total of four children.
- He was the president of the National Medical Association from 1911 to 1912 and also organized a State Association.
- He set up his practice in medicine and surgery there in Charleston.