INTRODUCTION William Stewart Halsted was born in New York in 1852 and is generally regarded as the most innovative and influential surgeon the United States has produced. CONTRIBUTIONS TO SURGERY The number and magnitude of Halsted's contributions to surgery are staggering. They range from the development of a surgical procedure for breast cancer, to the introduction of rubber gloves in the operating room. They include some of the earliest operations on the biliary tract, introduction of the plate and buried screw technique in the management of long bone fractures, and some of the earliest and most innovative approaches to the treatment of aneurysms of the great vessels. Halsted also developed the submucosal intestinal suture, which allowed the development of the broad field of alimentary tract surgery. He made important contributions in the area of parathyroid and thyroid surgery, and his monograph on thyroid goiter became a classic. Halsted developed an operation for inguinal hernia repair in an era in which they virtually were incurable. One of his most notable contributions was the introduction of local and regional anesthesia. He was the first surgeon in the U.S. who promulgated the philosophy of "safe" surgery. He advocated the gentle handling of tissues during surgery, careful hemostasis, avoidance of dead space, and a meticulous surgical technique at a time when speed, lack of attention to hemostasis and rough handling of tissues were the rule. Perhaps his most important contribution to surgery, however, was the introduction of a new system of training young surgeons. He died in 1922.