Monday, January 26, 2015

The Brady Centennial: “Diamond Jim” Brady

James "Diamond Jim" Buchanan Brady
One hundred years ago, the Brady Urological Institute opened its doors to patients. The funding for the institute came to Hugh Hampton Young as a gift from James "Diamond Jim" Buchanan Brady. Brady was a wealthy railroad tycoon who sought treatment for prostatic disease at Johns Hopkins.  His story is told in this blog.

Diamond Jim was born in New York City in 1856 to a modest household. Through a number of employment opportunities he worked himself into the railroad industry, starting first with the New York Central Railroad and gaining prominence with Manning, Maxwell and Moore (a railroad supply company), the Pressed Steel Car Company, and Vice President of the Standard Steel Company.


Diamond Jim had a passion for fine clothes, expensive jewelry, women and food. A NY Times article in 2008 detailed the enormity of a typical Brady diet (see picture). He is rumored to have been the first owner of an automobile in New York City (1895). His long time girlfriend was Lillian Russell, a well-known actress and singer of the times. He garnished himself and Lillian in an extensive jewelry collection – conservatively estimated to be worth $2 million at that time!

Diamond Jim also suffered from obstructive uropathy. As Diamond Jim was obese, diabetic and in poor general health, a number of hospitals in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia turned him away from open prostate surgery (the treatment of choice at the time for benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH). Hugh Hampton Young had developed his "punch" procedure, a transurethral surgery for BPH and precursor to the modern TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate), and successfully treated Diamond Jim. Diamond Jim was so grateful he contributed $200k "for a building in which the laboratory and experimental side should play a very important role, and in which clinical material, public and private, outpatient and inpatient could be used for study, research and advancement in the field of urology."

The legacy of Diamond Jim lives on in the Brady Urological Institute which turns 100 years old this month.

Read more about Diamond Jim at:

The Brady Centennial Website:

Diamond Jim Brady, The New York Times.


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