How Dr. Cooley Changed Heart Surgery

Sandra Yates
Archivist & Special Collections Librarian

On November 18, 2016 the Texas Medical Center lost one of its most renowned pioneers in medicine. Dr. Denton A. Cooley revolutionized cardiovascular surgery, transforming open heart surgery from one of the most high-risk and high-mortality medical procedures to a low-risk and common life-saving procedure.

“… I think a major contribution that I made with my team here, that surgery could be done in a very practical and reproducible way…
~ Dr. Denton A. Cooley

Dr. Cooley, the founder of the Texas Heart Institute, attended the University of Texas and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he graduated in 1944. After serving in the Army Medical Corps and studying with Lord Russell Brock in London, he returned to his hometown of Houston, Texas to teach surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in the 1950s. The Texas Heart Institute was founded on August 3, 1962 in order to research and treat cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Among many innovations developed by Cooley and his colleagues at the Institute are the first implantation of an artificial heart, the first successful heart transplant in the United States, advances in treatment of congenital defects, and a number of prostheses and implants.

The McGovern Historical Center houses the IC043 Texas Heart Institute Film Collection which contains 277 reels of 16mm film and 86 videotapes. This collection contains films related to heart surgery at the Texas Medical Center, primarily during the 1960s and 1970s. Films are typically instructional with brief surgical and case histories at the beginning. The films follow the surgery step-by-step with voice over narration and diagrams inserted to illustrate the process and techniques used. Below is an example of one of these instructional films, many of which distributed by the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Cooley appears on camera to introduce each procedure.

Surgical Treatment of Ventricular Septal Defects: Technique & Results in 292 Cases, 1961

Dr. Cooley made heart surgery accessible to more patients, and he often took on cases that other doctors would not. He developed new techniques to reduce dependency on blood transfusions, making open heart surgery available to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“In the early 1960s, I was able to show that we did not need to have a lot of blood to prime the system that was used. I showed that we could use what we called an electrolyte solution, a glucose solution, so you were not as dependent upon the blood bank to collect 8-10 units of blood on the day of surgery and then do the surgery that day. But after we showed that you could do it with this glucose solution, we would be able to operate on Jehovah’s Witnesses that would not even permit any kind of blood transfusion.” ~Dr. Denton A. Cooley

Open Heart Surgery in a Jehovah’s Witness: Repair Mitral Regurgitation, 1962

While the first artificial heart was one of his most notable achievements, Dr. Cooley developed prostheses and implants that repaired nearly every section of the heart, from arteries to heart valves. Below is a film demonstrating the Cooley-Meadox Double Velour Grafts. You will notice the product packaging, which exemplifies what Dr. Cooley expressed as his greatest contribution to medicine — practical and reproducible products for heart surgery.

Cooley-Meadox Double Velour Grafts in Vascular Surgery, circa 1976

In 2014 the McGovern Historical Center had 68 films from the Texas Heart Institute Film Collection digitized by the Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI), and they are available for viewing on the 1st Floor of The TMC Library as well as in the Reading Room of the McGovern Historical Center.


[Sources: Texas Heart Institute website; The Houston Review of Houston History and Culture, vol. 2, no. 1, p.16-19; IC043 Texas Heart Institute Film Collection, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library]

Posted in Audiovisual, Cooley, Medical Archives, Texas Heart Institute

Dr. Bertner’s Tuxedo

Sandra Yates
Archivist & Special Collections Librarian

File this under “Not Your Typical Day in the Archive.” We are currently standardizing how materials are stored in the archive, which means rehousing materials in standard document boxes or relocating oversize materials to the oversize section. Our intern, Albert Duran, began rehousing a few oversize boxes in the MS 050 Mavis Kelsey collection this morning, and he made an amazing discovery — Dr. Bertner’s Tuxedo! We had no idea the archive had the white tie and tails tuxedo of one of the most influential personalities in the history of the Texas Medical Center! I should also mention that we have his summer dinner jacket as well.

Dr. Bertner gave Dr. Kelsey this suit of white tie and tails in 1949. Dr. Kelsey said it fit him perfectly! [MS 050 Mavis P. Kelsey, MD papers, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library]

Dr. Bertner gave Dr. Kelsey this suit of white tie and tails in 1949. Dr. Kelsey said it fit him perfectly! [MS 050 Mavis P. Kelsey, MD papers, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library]

The cuff links were still in the shirt sleeves. [MS 050 Mavis P. Kelsey, MD papers, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library]

The cuff links were still in the shirt sleeves. [MS 050 Mavis P. Kelsey, MD papers, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library]

We have found amazing Bertner materials in other collections: MS 004 William Seybold, MS 070 R. Lee Clark, and now MS 050 Mavis Kelsey. He keeps popping up, which says a lot about his influence in the TMC. You might remember that last year, we blogged about hearing his voice!

Very exciting day in the archive. You don't find the tuxedo of the first president of Texas Medical Center everyday! Archives Assistant, Alethea Drexler, tries to document the discovery. [MS 050 Mavis P. Kelsey, MD papers, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library]

Very exciting day in the archive! You don’t find the tuxedo of the first president of Texas Medical Center everyday. Archives Assistant, Alethea Drexler, tries to document the discovery. [MS 050 Mavis P. Kelsey, MD papers, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library]

Portrait of Dr. Mavis P. Kelsey, circa 1950s. Dr. Kelsey came to Houston in 1949. He started the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic with Dr. William D. Seybold. [MS 050 Mavis P. Kelsey, MD papers, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library]

Portrait of Dr. Mavis P. Kelsey, circa 1950s. Dr. Kelsey came to Houston in 1949. He started the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic with Dr. William D. Seybold. [MS 050 Mavis P. Kelsey, MD papers, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library]

Dr. Kelsey, one of the founders of the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, provided a handwritten account of how he received the tuxedo when he donated his collection. On ten sheets of note paper dated January 20, 1986, he wrote:

[This is] the dress “white tie and tails” and white summer dinner or tux jacket of Dr. E. W. Bertner, the man who conceived the idea of the Texas Medical Center, was the leader in its organization and became its first president. Truly the “Father of the Texas Medical Center.” Dr. Bertner gave me these clothes in 1949 when I came to Houston to practice medicine.

I officed in Dr. Bertner’s office in the Second National Bank downtown. When the Hermann Professional Building opened about May 1949, Dr. Bertner moved to his own offices there and I moved into an office next door.

Dr. Bertner was suffering from cancer and lived at the Rice Hotel. He and Mrs. Bertner belonged to the Assembly, an exclusive social club which still exists. In 1949 he and Mrs. Bertner invited my wife Mary and me to go to the Assembly Ball. He became ill and couldn’t go. He saw that his days were numbered and he asked me to take his white tie and tails and take Mary to the ball, while he and Mrs. Bertner stayed at home. We accepted the invitation. He then gave me his tails, his white dinner jacket and a black tuxedo – all his dress clothes. They all fit me perfectly. I have saved the tails and summer jacket, but somehow have misplaced the black tuxedo.

I always felt that Dr. Bertner’s dress clothes had historic significance for the Texas Medical Center and am very pleased to give them to the archives.

I have known Dr. E. W. Bertner since I was a pre-med student at Texas A&M. Dr. Bertner was the leading alumnus of the Alpha Kappa Kappa medical fraternity in Galveston. I was being rushed for pledge to AKK, and had already decided that I wanted to be an AKK. I had visited the AKK house in Galveston and heard about what a fine man Dr. Bertner was. So, I, along with some other Aggie pre-meds called on him and Dr. Kyle [possibly, J. Allen Kyle], each officed in the Second National Bank building.

We were cordially received and I considered him a friend from then on. He always came to the annual invitation banquet of AKK in Galveston and was “one of the boys.”

Later, while I was a fellow in Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, I served under Dr. Manfred Comfort, a fellow Texan and fellow AKK from Galveston. Dr. Comfort was a close friend of Dr. Bertner and Dr. Bertner came to the Mayo Clinic to see Dr. Comfort as a patient. I assisted in caring for Dr. Bertner while he was a patient.

I talked to Dr. Bertner about moving to Texas and developing a clinic. He wished me well and said that he had always wanted to build a clinic. After two years on the staff of the Mayo Clinic and after visiting several Texas cities to determine the best place to start a clinic, I decided to try to become part of the Texas Medical Center. I was greatly influenced by Dr. Bertner who encouraged me and offered to let me use his office while one was being built for me in the Hermann Professional Building.

So, I came to Houston, arriving on 15 January 1949. When I got to town I called Dr. Bertner. He told me he had two patients in Hermann Hospital waiting for me.

So that’s how I got to Houston, through the help of Dr. Bertner.

Mavis P. Kelsey, MD

Dr. Kelsey lived to be 101 years old and made significant contributions to Houston and the Texas Medical Center in his own right. You can learn more about his collection in the finding aid for MS 050 Mavis P. Kelsey, MS papers.

Dr. E. W. Bertner (left), President of the Texas Medical Center, receives a certificate from Leland Anderson (center) and Bishop Clinton S. Quinn at the Texas Medical Center Dedication Dinner, February 28, 1946. [IC 098 TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library]

Possibly the black tuxedo that Dr. Kelsey lost track of! Dr. E. W. Bertner (left), President of the Texas Medical Center, receives a certificate from Leland Anderson (center) and Bishop Clinton S. Quinn at the Texas Medical Center Dedication Dinner, February 28, 1946. [IC 098 TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library]

Posted in Archives, Bertner, Manuscript Collection, Special Collections

Houston and the Fight Against Tuberculosis

This little bungalow at 806 Bagby St first opened in 1913 as the Free Clinic for the Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League. The organization had a clinic or offices there until 1957 when they moved to a new building on Dallas Avenue. [IC 034 San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-921, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

Sandra Yates
Archivist and Special Collections Librarian

I spent the last couple of weeks processing the records of the San Jacinto Lung Association. It’s a small collection, only 12 boxes, that includes correspondence, tuberculosis statistics, scrapbooks, Christmas seals, and photographs of the organization’s history, community services, staff, and administration from 1911 and into the 1980s. Most notably, the collection highlights the organization’s public health programs to prevent and control tuberculosis, the major health crisis of the early 20th Century. The finding aid for the San Jacinto Lung Association is available on our website.

This little bungalow at 806 Bagby St first opened in 1913 as the Free Clinic for the Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League. The organization had a clinic or offices there until 1957 when they moved to a new building on Dallas Avenue. [IC 034 San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-921, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

This little bungalow at 806 Bagby St first opened in 1913 as the Free Clinic for the Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League. The organization had a clinic or offices there until 1957 when they moved to a new building on Dallas Avenue. [IC 034 San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-921, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

Led by Dr. Elva A. Wright, the San Jacinto Lung Association was first established on November 11, 1911 as the Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League. At the time Houston had a higher death rate of tuberculosis than the national average with two in 1000 persons dying from the disease in 1910. The Association was a non-profit, community-driven organization dedicated to engage the people of Houston to control, prevent, and educate the community about tuberculosis. Its primary focus and goals were to:

  • Educate public of cause and symptoms.
  • Promote healthy living.
  • Establish free clinic.
  • Employ visiting public health nurses.
  • Develop sanitariums and hospitals.
  • Advocate for laws to control tuberculosis.
  • Encourage city and county health departments to lead fight.
Children and Nurse outside Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League and Free Clinic, c. 1920. [San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-920, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

Children and Nurse outside Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League and Free Clinic, c. 1920. [San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-920, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

Dr. Elva A. Wright, founder of the Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League, examining children, c. 1930s. [IC 034 San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-736, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

Dr. Elva A. Wright examining children, c. 1930s. She led the effort to establish an anti-tuberculosis association to prevent and treat tuberculosis in Houston. She said, “I’d rather be remembered for the disease I prevented than for the disease I cured.” Dr. Wright was born in Pennsylvania in 1868 and received her medical degree from Northwestern University in 1900. She practiced obstetrics, but her interest turned to tuberculosis and its effect on children during her post-graduate work in Europe and Chicago. She opened her office in Houston within the Temple Building on Main St., and through her practice, she saw how tuberculosis affected children and families throughout the city. She served as president of the Association until her death on July 18 , 1950. [IC 034 San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-736, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League nurse visiting patient, c. 1940. [IC 034 San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-791, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League nurse visiting patient, c. 1940. [IC 034 San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-791, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

Expanded Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League and Clinic on Bagby St., c. 1930s. Description reads, "The clinic was hedged in by heavy traffic of the adjoining courthouse, hence the signs 'No Parking - Clinic Zone.' The 6-foot high board fence the Sheriff built alongside the clinic to keep the TB germs from hopping into the Courthouse Square unfortunately does not show in this picture." [San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-775, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

Expanded Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League and Clinic on Bagby St., c. 1930s. Description reads, “The clinic was hedged in by heavy traffic of the adjoining courthouse, hence the signs ‘No Parking – Clinic Zone.’ The 6-foot high board fence the Sheriff built alongside the clinic to keep the TB germs from hopping into the Courthouse Square unfortunately does not show in this picture.” [San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-775, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

The clinic and offices of the Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League on Bagby St., c. 1936. Description reads, "In the rear of the clinic was plagued by Old Man Bayou which relentlessly year after year eroded its bank to beneath the building, requiring all kinds of props like those seen here to keep the structure from toppling into the bayou." [IC 034 San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-775, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

The clinic and offices of the Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League on Bagby St., c. 1936. Description reads, “In the rear of the clinic was plagued by Old Man Bayou which relentlessly year after year eroded its bank to beneath the building, requiring all kinds of props like those seen here to keep the structure from toppling into the bayou.” [IC 034 San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-775, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

The clinic and offices of the Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League on Bagby St. were moved and reinforced away from the eroding banks of the bayou, 1936. Sure, the children can stay inside! [IC 034 San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-727, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

The clinic and offices of the Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League on Bagby St. were moved and reinforced away from the eroding banks of the bayou, 1936. Sure, the children can stay inside! [IC 034 San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-727, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

Christmas Seal campaign of 1940. Description reads, "Little Miss Christmas Seal presents seals for 1940 to Santa Clause." [IC 034 San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-821, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

Christmas Seal campaign of 1940. Description reads, “Little Miss Christmas Seal presents seals for 1940 to Santa Clause.” From the beginning, the Association utilized Christmas Seal sales as its primary source of funding. First used in Denmark in 1904, Christmas Seals were purchased as extra postage for holiday packages, and the proceeds went to hospitals for children. In 1907 the National Anti-Tuberculosis Association began selling Christmas Seals in America as a fundraising campaign to fight tuberculosis. From $263.82 in 1911 to over $150,000 in 1956, the San Jacinto Lung Association funded all of its programs through the annual Christmas Seals campaign. [IC 034 San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-821, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

Through the years the San Jacinto Lung Association operated daily clinics for treatment and diagnosis of tuberculosis as well as conducted mass-screenings using chest X-rays and skin tests. In 1945 the Association started its mobile unit service, which brought screening and X-ray services into neighborhoods around Houston and Harris County. As the the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis became more effective, the Association started to address other respiratory diseases, providing lung performance tests to screen for emphysema and asthma.

The community lined up into the evening to visit the first Mobile Unit (far left of image) of the Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League, 1945. [IC 034 San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-811, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

The community lined up into the evening to visit the first Mobile Unit (far left of image) of the Houston Anti-Tuberculosis League, 1945. [IC 034 San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-811, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

Mobile Unit and crew for the San Jacinto Lung Association, c. 1960s. It's parked in downtown Houston, possibly in front of Foley's Department Store. [San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-813, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

Mobile Unit and crew for the San Jacinto Lung Association, c. 1960s. It’s parked in downtown Houston, possibly in front of Foley’s Department Store. [San Jacinto Lung Association records, Box 5, P-813, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library.]

Posted in Institutional Collection, Medical Archives

Rice Students Tour the Archive

Sandra Yates
Archivist and Special Collections Librarian

Sandra Yates, archivist, shows collection materials to Rice University students at the McGovern Historical Center, pointing to the 1969 film, Staged Cardiac Replacement from the Texas Heart Institute Film Collection (IC043). Along with some of the photos on the table, the film documents the first artificial heart transplant by Dr. Denton Cooley and Dr. Domingo Liotta.

Sandra Yates, archivist, shows collection materials to Rice University students at the McGovern Historical Center, pointing to the 1969 film, Staged Cardiac Replacement from the Texas Heart Institute Film Collection (IC043). Along with some of the photos on the table, the film documents the first artificial heart transplant by Dr. Denton Cooley and Dr. Domingo Liotta.

On Thursday, September 1, 2016, a class from Rice University toured the McGovern Historical Center. The students were from Sophia Hsu’s class, “Literature and Public Health,” which is part of the new medical humanities curriculum out of Rice’s Humanities Research Center. During their visit, the class was introduced to archives with a full tour of the archive from the public reading room to the materials and artifacts stored behind-the-scenes in the archival stacks. At the end of the tour, the students were able to work with selected materials related to their class projects.

Collection materials are laid out for students to examine at the McGovern Historical Center.

Collection materials are laid out for students to examine at the McGovern Historical Center.

The following materials from the McGovern Historical Center were laid out for the students to examine (counter-clockwise from right corner of table):

  • Bartholin, Thomas (1616-1680). Neu-verbesserte künstliche Zerlegung dess menschlichen Leibes. 1677.
  • A.P. Cary. Cary’s Illustrated and Priced Catalogue: Surgical Instruments, Physicians, Hospital Supplies, and Furnishings, Druggist Sundries, Etc. 1894.
  • Sutliff & Case Company. Illustrated Catalogue of Standard Surgical Instruments and Allied Lines. 1924.
  • Surgical Kit, J. H. Gemrig, circa 1850-1880. MS 135 Mann Medical Realia Collection
  • Articles and photos about Dr. Denton Cooley and the artificial heart, 1969. IC 077 Medical World News Photograph Collection
  • 16mm Film (blue film can). Camera Original Footage of Liotta Total Artificial Heart Console and Interview With Haskell Karp 12 Hours After His Artificial Heart Implant, 1969. IC 043 Texas Heart Institute Film Collection
  • 16mm Film. Staged Cardiac Replacement, 1969. IC 043 Texas Heart Institute Film Collection
  • 16mm Film. Transplantation of the Human Heart, 1969. IC 043 Texas Heart Institute Film Collection
  • Photographs and article from Medical World News. “Migrant worker having throat examined by sophomore in New Jersey College,” September 8, 1967. IC 077 Medical World News Photograph Collection
  • Psychiatric Bulletin Issues and Original Artwork, 1951-1958. IC 094 Medical Arts Publishing Foundation
Students from Rice University examine articles and photographs from the Medical World News Photograph Collection (IC 077) at the McGovern Historical Center.

Students from Rice University examine articles and photographs from the Medical World News Photograph Collection (IC094) at the McGovern Historical Center.

Posted in Archives, Medical Archives, Outreach

The TMC Flatiron that was not to be.

1966: “Bonanza” was in color[1], the shift dress was coming into vogue[2], the Beatles were singing improbably about being paperback writers[3], and international outer space law was well on its way to becoming reality[1].

The Library was considering an addition.

The front would remain conventional enough . . .

IC002 TMC 1966 library sketch 01

. . . but the back would be all “Jetsons”:

IC002 TMC 1966 library sketch 02

This included a two-story underground parking area, which I suspect the Library was glad it had not built ten years later when the flooding hit[5].

The addition was actually wedge- shaped:

IC002 TMC 1966 library sketch 03

The open pation on the fourth story between the “base” and the tower was meant to include a small green space:

IC002 TMC 1966 library sketch 07

The proposal even made the cover of that year’s MEDLARS[6] booklet but, alas, was never built.

IC002 TMC 1966 library sketch 09

The Library did build an addition in 1974 but it didn’t have quite the same Midcentury panache as this one would have.

All of the images used in this post are from Institutional Collection #2, the Texas Medical Center, Box 40, folders 3 (proposal booklet) and 4 (MEDLARS).

[1] TV.com

[2] Vintage Fashion Guild.

[3] Billboard

[4] United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (yes, that’s a real thing).

[5] KHOU 11 forum.

[6] National Library of Medicine

Posted in architecture, Institutional Collection

To Space! Soviet Space Poster

Sandra Yates
Archivist & Special Collections Librarian

To Space! Soviet Poster by Nikolai Litvinov, 1960. 30in x 38in MS076 Philip S. Hench, MD papers, McGovern Historical Center.

To Space! Soviet Poster by Nikolai Litvinov, 1960. 30in x 38in MS076 Philip S. Hench, MD papers, McGovern Historical Center.

Keeping with the theme of the 1960s (see previous post), I made a very interesting find in the archive this week. It is a 1960 Soviet propaganda poster by the artist Nikolai Litvinov. It’s part of the Philip S. Hench, MD papers. This collection consists of Dr. Hench’s personal and professional documents from his childhood, 1896, to his death, 1965. These papers provide information about his family and life, including his service in World War II, and his contributions to medical research in rheumatic diseases. Dr. Hench was a co-developer of cortisone as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and a joint winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1950.

In the midst of all the materials that we have in the Hench collection, it is only somewhat surprising to find a Soviet propaganda poster. First, as an archivist, I’m never surprised to find seemingly incongruous items within collections. Second, Dr. Hench was an world-renowned physician as the Space Race was heating up between the Soviet Union and United States. He could have acquired it through his travels or through one of his international colleagues. A note accompanying the item reads that it was “found with May-July 1949 Arthritis-Cortisone News Clippings.” Granted, this creates more questions, but it does imply that the poster was collected through the course of Dr. Hench’s medical interests.

Detail showing information of Soviet poster titled To Space! MS076 Philip S. Hench, MD papers, McGovern Historical Center.

Detail showing information of Soviet poster titled To Space! MS076 Philip S. Hench, MD papers, McGovern Historical Center.

Using an online Cyrillic keyboard and Google Translate, below is a sketchy translation of the text at the bottom on the poster:
Publishing “Soviet Artist”
Artist: N. Litvinov, Editor: K. Nazarov
Sign print 18.VII–1960, A06703, Tyre. 36000, 1 b Inst.
Price 1 Ruble 10 Kopeks, Order 1042
Printed on “(undiscernable)”

According to a 2014 BBC.com article “Red alert: Collecting Soviet propaganda posters,” this item is likely an original since it includes “the print run, date and often the artist’s name.” We welcome any Russian scholars or poster collectors to contact us with more information.

You can review the finding aid on the McGovern Historical Center website for more information about Philip S. Hench, MD papers.

Posted in Archives, Images, Manuscript Collection

The TMC Library in 1961

Sandra Yates
Archivist and Special Collections Librarian

The TMC Library has been located in the Jesse H. Jones Library Building since the building opened in 1954. Below are promotional images of the library’s interior and facilities from 1961. It is interesting to see how much the library has changed in 55 years. For one thing, there are ash trays everywhere!

Reading Room, 1961. The tables in the reading room are still used in the staff areas of the library, two of which are cherished processing tables in the archive. IC001 HAM-TMC Library records (OV 100), IC098 HAM-TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection (P-3359, OV 93), McGovern Historical Center

Reading Room, 1961. The tables in the reading room are still used in the staff areas of the library, two of which are cherished processing tables in the archive.
IC001 HAM-TMC Library records (OV 100), IC098 HAM-TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection (P-3359, OV 93), McGovern Historical Center

Fellows Room, 1961. IC001 HAM-TMC Library records (OV 100), IC098 HAM-TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection (P-3359, OV

Fellows Room, 1961. IC001 HAM-TMC Library records (OV 100), IC098 HAM-TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection (P-3359, OV 93), McGovern Historical Center

Seminar Room, 1961. IC001 HAM-TMC Library records (OV 100), IC098 HAM-TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection (P-3359, OV 93), McGovern Historical Center

Seminar Room, 1961. We in the archive cannot figure out where this room is located in the library. IC001 HAM-TMC Library records (OV 100), IC098 HAM-TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection (P-3359, OV 93), McGovern Historical Center

Current Periodicals, 1961. IC001 HAM-TMC Library records (OV 100), IC098 HAM-TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection (P-3359, OV 93), McGovern Historical Center

Current Periodicals, 1961. IC001 HAM-TMC Library records (OV 100), IC098 HAM-TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection (P-3359, OV 93), McGovern Historical Center

Rare Book Room, 1961. Dr. M. D. Levy and Dr. Melville Cody examine the 1st Edition of the 1543 anatomical work, The Fabric of the Human Body by Andreas Vesalius. IC001 HAM-TMC Library records (OV 100), IC098 HAM-TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection (P-3359, OV 93), McGovern Historical Center

Rare Book Room, 1961. Dr. M. D. Levy and Dr. Melville Cody examine the 1st Edition of the 1543 anatomical work, The Fabric of the Human Body by Andreas Vesalius.
IC001 HAM-TMC Library records (OV 100), IC098 HAM-TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection (P-3359, OV 93), McGovern Historical Center

Rare Book Room, 1961. Dr. M. D. Levy and Dr. Melville Cody study William Hunter’s Anatomia Uteri Humani Gravidi (1774). IC001 HAM-TMC Library records (OV 100), IC098 HAM-TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection (P-3359, OV 93), McGovern Historical Center

Rare Book Room, 1961. Dr. M. D. Levy and Dr. Melville Cody study William Hunter’s Anatomia Uteri Humani Gravidi (1774).
IC001 HAM-TMC Library records (OV 100), IC098 HAM-TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection (P-3359, OV 93), McGovern Historical Center

Study Carrells, 1961. Medical students use individual study spaces in the library. IC001 HAM-TMC Library records (OV 100), IC098 HAM-TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection (P-3359, OV 93), McGovern Historical Center

Study Carrells, 1961. Medical students use individual study spaces in the library.
IC001 HAM-TMC Library records (OV 100), IC098 HAM-TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection (P-3359, OV 93), McGovern Historical Center

Auditorium, 1961. Harris County Medical Society meeting in the auditorium in the Jesse H. Jones Library Building. IC001 HAM-TMC Library records (OV 100), IC098 HAM-TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection (P-3359, OV 93), McGovern Historical Center

Auditorium, 1961. Harris County Medical Society meeting in the auditorium in the Jesse H. Jones Library Building.
IC001 HAM-TMC Library records (OV 100), IC098 HAM-TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection (P-3359, OV 93), McGovern Historical Center

Posted in Centennial, Exhibits, Images

Next time, just give it one star on Goodreads

Alethea Drexler
archives assistant

Gina and I have been numbering the rare books so that they will be easier to reshelve when they’re moved to the new space on the first floor.

Yesterday afternoon, I pulled a volume of Wood’s Library of Standard Medical Authors (1883) off of the shelf in and saw this:

McGovern Woods Library 97 vol 2 front cover

My first thought was that I did not want to meet the insect that could do that, but then we realized it wasn’t insect damage.

That, friends, is a bullet hole.

(Insert Texas jokes here.)

Thankfully, there aren’t any bloodstains, but it did quite a number on the pages

McGovern Woods Library 97 vol 2 pages

The exit wound:

McGovern Woods Library 97 vol 2 page edges

There was collateral damage.   This is the back cover of next book in the set.

McGovern Woods Library 98 vol 1 back cover

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Artifacts, Rare Books

Dr. Jared E. Clarke & the Library

Sandra Yates
Archivist and Special Collections Librarian

As the centennial year of the Texas Medical Center Library comes to a close, we at the McGovern Historical Center have found a fitting send off. In February 1974, Don Macon interviewed Dr. Jared E. Clarke for the Texas Medical Center Historical Resources Project. The goal of the project was to collection oral histories and other materials related to the founding and development of the Texas Medical Center. Dr. Clarke was a member of the Harris County Medical Society when it established the Houston Academy of Medicine and Library. In fact, Dr. Clarke was in charge of raising funds to maintain and house the library. This week, we digitized the video below from a 3/4″ U-matic tape, in which Dr. Clarke recounts his medical career in Houston, military service during WWI, and the beginnings of the Texas Medical Center Library. (Hint: Around 19:30, he really gets started about the library!)

Video Description
Dr. Jared E. Clarke interviewed by Don Macon. Produced for the Texas Medical Center Historical Resources Project.

Dr. Clarke discusses his personal family history and his interest in medicine due to physicians in his family. He discusses his education and noted that he knew Dr. Ernst W. Bertner at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston although he was two years behind him, graduating in 1913.

Dr. Clarke speaks of the hospital facilities in Houston after his return from World War I and the services of doctors prior to Texas Medical Center (TMC).

Dr. Clarke talked about the founding of the Houston Academy of Medicine and the beginning of the library now housed in the Jesse H. Jones Building.

Run time 33:29
Producer Texas Medical Center Library
Audio/Visual sound, color
Language English

Posted in Audiovisual, Centennial, Harris County Medical Society, Hospitals, Texas Medical Center Library

Voice of Bertner

Sandra Yates
Archivist and Special Collections Librarian

Portrait of Dr. E. W. Bertner. McGovern Historical Center.

Portrait of Dr. E. W. Bertner. McGovern Historical Center.


Bertner Avenue runs north and south through the heart of the Texas Medical Center. And at 1.4 miles long, it is one of the longer streets in the TMC. It starts in the north at Baylor College of Medicine and John Freeman Boulevard and ends in the south at West Road past the UTHealth Recreation Center Athletic Fields. This is no coincidence! The street is named after Dr. Ernst William Bertner, who was one of the most influential characters in the establishment and growth of the Texas Medical Center. As the first president of the TMC and first acting director of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Bertner was the driving force behind the success of the grand concept of a medical center in Houston. He raised money, influenced member institutions to join the TMC, and, as you’ll soon hear, advocated for cancer research.

We recently found two phonograph records in the archive, which was very exciting. They are lacquer discs with an aluminum base measuring 12-inch and 16-inch in diameter. According to the Preservation Self-Assessment Program (PSAP) website at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, these types of dics were used from the late-1920s to 1970s but mostly in the 1930 and 1940s. PSAP goes on to say:

Often found among early to mid-twentieth century broadcast collections, the radio transcription disc was a form of lacquer disc cut for use at a later broadcast time. They were often used to record radio programs and field recordings as well as for office and home dictation.

Label for the phonograph record of Passing in Review. [E. W. Bertner, MD papers, MS002, McGovern Historical Center]

Label for the phonograph record of Passing in Review. [E. W. Bertner, MD papers, MS002, McGovern Historical Center]


These items were digitized around 2005, and it is great to hear the voice of Dr. Bertner. I think it sounds like a cross between President Lyndon B. Johnson and 1992 presidential candidate, Ross Perot. What do you think?

Passing in Review, M. D. Anderson Hospital Blood Bank, 1946

“Passing in Review” is a radio program that aired on KPRC radio in Houston, Texas. First half of this episode provides a narrative of the process of donating blood to the M. D. Anderson Hospital Blood Bank. The second half of the episode has Dr. E. W. Bertner – acting director of M. D. Anderson Hospital – and first president of the Texas Medical Center – advocates for donating blood and cancer research. [E. W. Bertner, MD papers, MS002, Texas Medical Center Library, McGovern Historical Center]

Dr. E. W. Bertner Addresses the 4th Symposium of Cancer Research, 1950

Dr. E. W. Bertner Addresses the 4th Symposium of Cancer Research. Dr. Bertner is the guest of honor for M. D. Anderson Hospital 4th Symposium of Cancer Research in 1950. He addressed the meeting remotely from his residence in the Rice Hotel, Houston, Texas. Dr. Bertner died of cancer in July of 1950.[E. W. Bertner, MD papers, MS002, Texas Medical Center Library, McGovern Historical Center]


Dr. Bertner looking at plans with Texas Children's Foundation trustees, c. 1948. Hermann Hospital in the background. [E. W. Bertner, MS002, McGovern Historical Center]

Dr. Bertner looking at plans with Texas Children’s Foundation trustees, c. 1948. Hermann Hospital in the background. [E. W. Bertner, MS002, McGovern Historical Center]

Posted in Archives, Audiovisual, Bertner, Manuscript Collection, TMC Streets
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