Dr. Noel d'Alvigny Inspired a Beloved Fictional Character

Until his death, in 1877, Dr. Noel d’Alvigny, was one of the most prominent doctors in Atlanta. An original faculty member and former president of Atlanta Medical College (renamed Emory University School of Medicine), Dr. d’Alvigny is credited with saving the school from burning down at the hands of General Sherman’s troops.

In 1850, d’Alvigny performed a helpful act of an entirely different sort. Soon after Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery opened in 1850, Dr. James Nissen became the cemetery’s fist interment. The physician died while visiting the Atlanta during a medical convention. Afraid of being buried alive, Dr. Nissen requested, prior to his death, that his colleague, Dr. d’Alvigny, open his casket at the cemetery and sever his jugular vein. Although Nissen’s headstone is now faded and illegible, a plaque laid at the site recalls this incident.

Dr. d’Alvigny, also buried in Oakland Cemetery, is believed to be the inspiration for the character of Dr. Meade, the dedicated and wise doctor in Gone With The Wind. A plaque at his grave makes note of this.