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, Manuscript Collection, TMC Streets

Centennial Photo Display: 1970’s, Part III

Alethea Drexler
archives assistant

Everybody sing!  “Don’t know why there’s no sun up in the sky . . . stormy weather . . .

Life in the Medical Center wasn’t all macramé room dividers and bright green armchairs in the 1970’s: There was rain.  A lot of rain.

The Library addition was barely dry behind the ears before it got soaked.

On June 15, 1976, the Medical Center area received over ten inches of rain in just about six hours.
[Weather Research Center]
[USGS]
[South Belt Houston Digital Archive]

P-3082 . . . and these are the cars that were fortunate enough to be parked in surface lots, not in underground garages.

P-3082 1976 flood 400dpi JPGP-3074 The ones in underground garages stayed there until the water was pumped out.

P-3074 1976 flood underground garage 400dpi jpgThe Medical Center computer system was left in ruins.  These are magnetic data storage tapes (P-3074).

P-3074 1976 flood computer tapes 400dpi JPGPhotos of the flood’s aftermath include a lot of these Control Data Cyber 18-30 minicomputers (P-3074).  That’s a lot of ruined paperwork, too.

P-3074 1976 flood computers b 400dpi JPGP-3063 Library staff and volunteers had to bucket-brigade materials out of the street level.

P-3063 street level book brigade 150dpi JPGThen, it happened all over again.

Tropical Storm Claudette blew through in 1979, breaking window and spraying debris all over those happy green chairs.  (John P. McGovern Historical Collections photo files, Institutions)

1979-library-interior-flood-b. . . and swamping a new generation of cars.  The light-colored roof on the left turned out to belong to a brand-new Chrysler.

1979-library-exterior-flood-b

Posted in Centennial

Centennial Photo Display: 1970’s, Part II

Alethea Drexler
archives assistant

The Library built a major addition to the original 1954 building in 1974.

P-2952, the addition behind the preexisting Library, soon after it opened.

P-2908a Library addition 400dpi JPGiP-2592 the unfinished first floor.  The stairway at right leads down to the street level where the computer lab, classrooms, vending machine cubby, and some of the offices are now.

P-2952 Library addition first floor 400dpi JPGThe exterior.  (McGovern Historical Collections photo files; Institutions)

1974-library-exterior-construction-additionThe addition was outfitted with new furniture.  I think we still have some of those desks.  I wish we still had some of those awesome chairs!  (McGovern Historical Collections photo files; Institutions)

1975-library-interior-construction-techservices-redchairP-3063 The 1970’s were big into mushroom decor–my mother had tan Pyrex mixing bowls with little mushrooms printed on them–and the Library was no exception.  The last of these literal toadstools resides in the archival collections.

P-3063 TMC Library 1976 mushroom stools 400dpi JPGP-3063 This abstract scenic divider hung in the lobby in front of the circulation desk.  The archives staff was overjoyed to discover that we had a color photograph of it–black and white simply does not do it justice.

The look would not be complete, of course, without harvest gold chairs.

P-3063 TMC Library scenic curtain 1970s 01 400dpi JPGThe leisure reading area was decked out in a cheerful acid green, with modern wall art.  (McGovern Historical Collections photo files; Institutions)

1976-library-interior-leisurereading 3000 editLibrarian Beth White working at what might be a dumb terminal (notice the phone receiver resting on the top).  More on dumb terminals in a moment.

White worked for the library for 37 years and was a driving force behind the establishment of the archival collections.

Librarian Elizabeth White in 1976.

Librarian Elizabeth White in 1976.

Texas Instruments Silent 700 dumb terminal.  A dumb terminal is a component that allows access to a computer but does not have its own processing capability.  When I was in high school–I’m dating myself–our library catalog was accessed by dumb terminals that were connected to a “real” computer located elsewhere in the school library.  (The whole system was slow.  The “good” catalog was still the card catalog.)  They’re basically a keyboard and a screen.  The TI Silent 700, so named because it was a dot matrix that printed relatively quietly, came out in this form in 1971 and had a thermal paper output instead of a monitor.  It had a modem and accessed remote computers via, yes, a telephone.  Enjoy the image of it plugged into a bona fide rotary phone. (McGovern Historical Collections photo files; Institutions)

1978-library-equipment-TI-Silent-700-hardcopy-terminal 5000Wikipedia: TI Silent 700
Computer History Museum: TI Silent 700
Texas Instruments: TI Silent 700

Posted in Centennial

Centennial Photo Display: 1970’s, Part I

Alethea Drexler
Archives assistant

Aerial view, 1973.  The Library, center, is preparing to receive its addition.   The forward-facing “wings” were added to Hermann Hospital (lower left) a year or so earlier.

1970s-HRC-PC-Building-TMC 1970s-aerial-views-150

John P. McGovern Historical Collection Photo Files, aerials

P-815 San Jacinto Lung Association mobile respiratory disease screening unit, 1973.  This is an early-1960’s GMC school-type bus converted to house x-ray equipment.

P-815 San Jac Lung Assoc 1960s mobile TB screening 600dpi JPGP-3069 Methodist Hospital’s early blood donation van, a 1973 Dodge Concord RV.

P-3069 Methodist blood van 1970s 400dpi JPGP-2941 Ben Taub General Hospital in 1976.

P-2941 Ben Taub 1976 400dpi JPGP-3000 Ben Taub’s emergency department, with pink scrubs and a nurse in a frilly cap.

P-3000 Ben Taub ER 1975 pink scrubs 400dpi JPGP-3016 Cardiologists Denton Cooley and John C. Norman with a model of a heart.

Denton Cooley and John Norman established the Texas Heart Institute’s Cullen Cardiovascular Research Laboratory in 1972 to research and develop devices for cardiac assist and replacement. Dr. Norman (1930 – 2014) was its first director. He also taught at both the University of Texas at Houston and at UT San Antonio. He was editor-in-chief at the inception of Cardiovascular Diseases: Bulletin of the Texas Medical Center in 1974; it still publishes as the Texas Heart Institute Journal.

P-3016 Cooley John C Norman and heart model 400dpi JPG[1]Dr. Norman’s obituary, written by Dr. Cooley.
[2] Texas Heart Institute – Denton Cooley

P-3340 Cardiopulmonary bypass machine in use at the Texas Heart Institute in 1972.
This is the machine that maintains circulation and oxygenation during heart surgery.  The first bypass prototype was built, astonishingly, in 1885, but practical machines were not developed until the early 1950’s.

P-3340 blood bypass 400dpi JPG[1] Historical perspectives in cardiology.
[2] Texas Heart Institute.
[3] National Library of Medicine

In August 1976, Hermann Hospital and Dr. James “Red” Duke debuted LifeFlight, the country’s second civilian helicopter medical transport.  The first was Denver, Colorado’s, Flight For Life, which was established in 1972 to facilitate rescues from difficult-to-access areas of the Rocky Mountains.
The first helicopter, pictured here at LifeFlight’s inauguration ceremony, was a French-built Aérospatiale Alouette III/SA 319B.  Memorial Hermann has used several models since then and currently operates a fleet of six Airbus EC 145’s.

Institutional Collection 086, Hermann Hospital archives, 35mm slide.

Photofiles LifeFlight 9 4inches 4000dpi JPG[1] LifeFlight on Wikipedia
[2] Memorial Hermann LifeFlight
[3] Flight for Life Colorado, history

Posted in Centennial