Dr. Frank Erdman Boston


National EMS Museum People Files, NEMSM-0003 [Please include Folder/Person’s Name]

Born March 10, 1890, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Frank Erdman Boston was destined to be a leader in the medical field as he rose from the ranks of a medical student in 1915 to Army medical doctor in 1917 and one, if not the first, medical director of a civilian ambulance service in the 1930s.  Throughout his career Dr. Boston remained a staunch advocate for pre-hospital care and his experience as a first responder dictated his life as a medical provider for the duration of his career.


  • FORT DES MOINES – Dr. Boston was a military veteran of World War I and graduated from Fort Des Moines, a historic military base located in Iowa, where the nation’s first African-American officers trained.
  •  BUFFALO SOLDIERS- The black officers were assigned to one of two divisions. Dr. Boston proudly served with the 92nd “Buffalo” Division under American command and the 93rd served with France’s 4th Army.
  •  MEUSE-ARGONNE BATTLE- Dr. Boston served in France as a doctor and surgeon in combat against Germany. The soldiers of Fort Des Moines would fight bravely across France and in the bloody Meuse-Argonne sector.
  • LARGEST OFFENSIVE OF WORLD WAR I – The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the largest offensive of World War I, fought from September 26 – November 11, 1918, when the Armistice was signed. Over a million American soldiers participated with over 26,000 soldiers being killed in action (KIA) and over 120,000 total casualties.
  • PEACETIME ACCOMPLISHMENTS – After the war, Dr. Boston returned to his medical practice, but his wartime experiences gave him new insight on the need for better emergency medicine and first aid.


Dr. Frank Boston is one of the first African Americans to start both a hospital and ambulance corps almost 100 years ago, that both are still in business and thriving. The hospital is part of Jefferson Health and the ambulance corps is the Volunteer Medical Services Corps. There were other hospitals started earlier, but not both a hospital and ambulance corps.

National EMS Museum Resources

DRAFT: The Story of Dr. Frank Boston by George Whitehair – Available upon request

Additional Resources

Learn more about Dr. Boston at The Boston Legacy Foundation : https://bostonlegacyfoundation.org/dr-frank-boston/

Wikipedia entry on Dr. Frank E. Boston: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Erdman_Boston