Henry Stanley Plummer (March 3, 1874 in Hamilton, Minnesota – December 31, 1936 in Rochester, Minnesota) was a prominent internist and endocrinologist who was instrumental in the founding and flourishing of the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Plummer is also immortalized as the driving force behind the Plummer Building, which stands to this day in Rochester as a part of the Clinic he helped establish.
He had a wife, Daisy, and two adopted children, Robert and Gertrude. Plummer's younger brother, Dr. William A. Plummer, was also a prominent Mayo physician. The two Plummer brothers represented the next generation of medical practitioner, and helped usher in the modern medical age with innovations such as the integrated group practice and specialization.
He became a partner in the Clinic practice in 1901, and Dr. William Mayo would later quip that hiring Dr. Plummer was the best day's work he had ever done.
In 1917 construction began on the Plummer House, the English tudor mansion where Dr. Plummer and his family lived. The house was designed by Ellerbe & Round, and boasted many innovations that were rare at the time. Daisy Plummer gave the furnished house and property to the Rochester Art Center in 1971. Her wish was that the house and grounds would be used by the people of Rochester and Clinic guest as a Center for the Arts. This remarkable gift was later transferred to the Rochester Park and Recreation Department and is now used as a rental facility for private parties.
Not only a talented physician, Dr. Plummer was also a successful scientist and inventor. He developed a cable-carrier system for circulating correspondence within the clinic, directed the early development of Mayo's clinical laboratories, as well as bringing in Dr. Louis Wilson in 1907 to develop and manage the diagnostic and research labs, and was the first to understand and operate an X-ray machine at the Clinic. Dr. Will Mayo called Plummer a "a pioneer in the development of X-ray diagnosis and therapy". Perhaps one of his greatest contributions was the development of a simple, easily retrievable medical record system that became the model for record keeping worldwide.
In the early 1920s, Dr. Plummer worked with Ellerby & Round to design the building that now bears his name. Located in downtown Rochester, Minnesota, the Plummer Building was well ahead of its time, boasting many amenities that are still in use today including a telephone system, cross-indexed patient records, a power plant, subways, and a pneumatic tube delivery system. Dr. Plummer is considered by many to be the architect of the modern medical practice. His innovative system and building designs, as well as his early understanding of the importance of the diagnostic and research aspects of the clinical practice, allowed for the creation of the integrated group practiice and medical specialization.