COVID-19 Pandemic and Lessons from Chernobyl

Photograph of finished “Shelter” at Chernobyl, Ukraine, c. 1990. MS211 Armin Weinberg, PhD papers, TMC Library, McGovern Historical Center.

by Armin D. Weinberg, PhD

April 26 is the date in 1986 when the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident occurred. April 26 is a day in 2020 that we find the world, our country, our community considering how to move forward with the uncertainty, fear and realities of the COVID-19 Pandemic. There have been those who describe Wuhan as China’s Chernobyl. I believe time, data, scholarly analysis and transparency are the equivalent to our finding effective treatment and a vaccine for the virus itself. As someone who participated in studying the impact of Chernobyl in the initial decade following the accident I have the advantage of looking back and understanding how the intersection of science, public policy and government played out. It made designing studies difficult where even those with data about exposure came to view it as a commodity. I hope the many lessons, such as this, will permit us to manage the current Pandemic better. The advent of social media and the decline in trust of the traditional media may well prove to be a critical variable that frankly didn’t exist in the Chernobyl incident. In short the time for information dissemination, transmission of facts are countered by rumor, intentional misinformation, and there appears no natural buffering of these by time. It now is instantaneous. Ultimately it is my hope that the efforts to share what was learned through our archive’s collections will prove helpful to those now beginning to manage and study this COVID-19 pandemic.

For more details about the McGovern Historical Center’s Radiation Effects & Events, library.tmc.edu/mcgovern/radiation

See a list of collections related to Radiation Effects & Events.

Posted in Radiation Effects and Events

Explore Our Collections in Detail

Image of The TMC Library, McGovern Historical Center’s collection search website.

Finding historical information about the people and institutions in the Texas Medical Center just got easier! We’re excited to launch a web-based tool that simplifies online research of our collections. Researchers can search across all 323 collections and over 53,000 individual item descriptions. The site provides access to more than 1,200 digital images and documents with more to come.

To visit the site go to https://archives.library.tmc.edu/. There are also handy links throughout our main website.

Image of main McGovern Historical Center website homepage highlighting links to collection search site.

Image of main McGovern Historical Center website homepage highlighting links to collection search site.

The platform is an archival management system called Access To Memory (AtoM) that is developed and maintained by Artefactual Systems. AtoM is a web-based, open source application for standards-based archival description and access.

We first learned about AtoM by working with archivists and archival graduate students in Japan on a project to make records from the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) available online. Since the McGovern Historical Center has a large collection of ABCC materials, adopting AtoM for the entire TMC-related collection seemed like a natural evolution. The process of testing and implementing AtoM took more than five years.

“Our decision to use AtoM developed through our international collaborations over the last few years,” said Philip Montgomery, Head of the McGovern Historical Center. “AtoM is based on international standards and facilitates access to materials in several languages. It’s easy to use for everyone — researchers as well as archives staff.”

Check out the images below and start exploring for yourself at https://archives.library.tmc.edu/.

Image of The TMC Library, McGovern Historical Center’s collection search website.

Image of The TMC Library, McGovern Historical Center’s collection search website.

Image of The TMC Library, McGovern Historical Center’s collection search website list of collections.

Image of The TMC Library, McGovern Historical Center’s collection search website list of collections.

Image of The TMC Library, McGovern Historical Center’s collection search website digital objects.

Image of The TMC Library, McGovern Historical Center’s collection search website digital objects.

 

Posted in Archives, Special Collections

Two Texas Medical Center Collections Online!

St. Luke's and Texas Children's Hospitals Cardiovascular Surgery Team in Operating Room, 1969.

Sandra Yates
Archivist & Special Collections Librarian

The Texas Medical Center Library, McGovern Historical Center is excited to announce the completion of two important collections: Texas Medical Center records (IC 002) and the Texas Medical Center Photograph Collection (IC 104). Complete finding aids and inventories are now online and available for researchers on the McGovern Historical Center website and Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO).

These collections are some of the more significant in the archive documenting the history of the Texas Medical Center, one of the largest medical centers in the world (and the namesake of The TMC Library). In total the collections equal 101 boxes encompassing the the years 1905-2019, but the majority of the materials date from 1946-2019. The entire McGovern Historical Center made this achievement possible. It could not have happened without the hard work of Lead Archivist Assistant, Alethea Drexler, and Archivist Assistant, Gina Leonard. Alethea processed the TMC records and has updated the inventory as more materials have been donated. Gina inventoried every one of the almost 2600 photographs in the TMC Photograph Collection.

Texas Medical Center records (IC 002), bulk 1946-2019
The Texas Medical Center records contains administrative records, photographs, printed materials, audiovisual materials, architectural documents, promotional materials, research materials, and maps that document the history and development of the TMC. The majority of the materials date within the record-keeping activity of the TMC from 1946 to present. Administrative records include TMC charter materials, correspondence, committee minutes, budgetary information, and directories. Photographic and audiovisual materials are promotional in nature and include prints, aerial photographs, slides, audio, video, and film. Printed materials include brochures, guidebooks, newspapers, and clippings. Architectural documents include drawings, blueprints, and maps. Collection also contains interviews, transcripts, surveys, and materials related to TMC events and visitors. The collection consists of 94 boxes, equaling 41 cubic feet. We expect this collection to grow each year.

Texas Medical Center Photograph Collection (IC 104), 1938-1982
The Texas Medical Center (TMC) Photograph Collection contains photographic materials that document the growth and development of the TMC from 1938 to 1982. The collection consists of about 2600 items and includes photographic prints, aerial photographs, negatives, transparencies and printed materials. The materials depict the institutions of the TMC, their staff, facilities, services, and patient care. Images show buildings and their construction as well as some photographic copies of architectural drawings. Aerial photographs from the 1940s through the 1980s show the TMC develop into an urban center. The collection provides images of the leaders and historical figures that shaped the TMC from concept to reality. The collection totals 7 boxes, equaling 3.5 cubic feet.

The Texas Medical Center originally donated the photographs to the archive in 1980. They were cataloged as part of a general historical photograph collection along with other donated photographs. This collection was created based on the identification numbers and descriptions recorded on available catalog cards. Yes, we used the Ye Ole Card Catalog to make these materials available again!

Incorporated in 1946, the Texas Medical Center is a comprehensive medical community located south of downtown Houston. It comprises 54 institutions, including four medical and seven nursing schools, 21 hospitals, three level-I trauma centers, eight specialty institutions, and academic and research institutions for many other health-related disciplines.

Aerial Photographs of the Texas Medical Center

Aerial Photograph of Texas Medical Center, 1972

Aerial Photograph of Texas Medical Center, 1972. [P-3314, IC 104 TMC Photograph Collection, McGovern Historical Center, The TMC Library]

Aerial photograph of Texas Medical Center facing north toward downtown Houston, 2000.

Aerial of Texas Medical Center facing north toward downtown Houston, 2000. [IC 002 Texas Medical Center records, McGovern Historical Center, The TMC Library]

People and Services of the Texas Medical Center

Photograph of Dr. Denton Cooley and Dr. John C. Norman with a model of a heart at the Texas Heart Institute, 1976.

Dr. Denton Cooley and Dr. John C. Norman with a model of a heart at the Texas Heart Institute, 1976. [P-3089, IC 104 TMC Photograph Collection, McGovern Historical Center, The TMC Library]

Photograph of nursing students and instructor weighing a baby doll at the University of Texas University of Houston, College of Nursing, 1952.

Nursing students and instructor weighing a baby doll at the
University of Texas University of Houston, College of Nursing, 1952. [P-2706, IC 104 TMC Photograph Collection, McGovern Historical Center, The TMC Library]

Photograph of Dr. Murdina Desmond examines newborn at Baylor College of Medicine, 1971.

Dr. Murdina Desmond examines newborn at Baylor College of Medicine, 1971. [P-2501, IC 104 TMC Photograph Collection, McGovern Historical Center, The TMC Library]

Photograph St. Luke's and Texas Children's Hospitals Cardiovascular Surgery Team in Operating Room, 1969.

St. Luke’s and Texas Children’s Hospitals Cardiovascular Surgery Team in Operating Room, 1969. [P-2821, IC 104 TMC Photograph Collection, McGovern Historical Center, The TMC Library]

Posted in Institutional Collection, Medical Archives

Radiation Effects and Events

Image of flyer that provides an overview and images fro the Radiation Effects & Events Archive Project of the Texas Medical Center Library, McGovern Historical Center.

by Philip Montgomery

Archivist and Head of the McGovern Historical Center

The “Chernobyl” miniseries on HBO has struck a chord with me, because the effects of radiation on large populations has long been one focus of collecting at the McGovern Historical Center.

Since the mid-1980s, the McGovern Historical Center has collected material related to the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC), which studied the effects of radiation on the survivors of the atomic bombings Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Drs. Grant Taylor and William “Jack” Schull, both former high-level members of the ABCC, drove the creation of that collection. Many of the ABCCers were recruited to work in Texas Medical Center (TMC) institutions. When they began to retire, Drs. Grant and Taylor convinced the former ABCC staff to donate their papers to the TMC Library. That is why the ABCC collection at the TMC Library is one of the most significant ABCC collections in the world.

Now the McGovern is focusing on acquiring the records of another group of medical professionals from the TMC who were involved in studies related to the effects of industrial nuclear disasters and atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union in which Jack Schull provided scientific leadership and guidance.

Armin Weinberg, clinical professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, adjunct professor at Rice University and Faculty Affiliate, Texas A&M Health Science Center’s School of Public Health, is advising us on this project, which we are calling Radiation Effects and Events. He donated his papers that, in part, were accumulated during his work with the International Consortium on the Health Effects of Radiation. Dr. Weinberg helped to found the consortium in response to the Chernobyl nuclear accident and as a part of the State Department’s Project Sapphire effort that supported people and organizations in Kazakhstan dismantling nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union.

Other important donors and volunteers for this project are Sara Rozin, Boris Yoffe, Randall Wright, Pat Hercules, Elizabeth Vainrub and Teresa Hayes  all of whom donated papers. In addition, there are other donors and patrons who are participating in the project.

The collection also includes papers from the Texas Hadassah Medical Research Foundation that along with Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital hosted the first US international meeting addressing Chernobyl.

In future blogs, I will write about the various collections, since each one deserves a story of its own.

The Chernobyl nuclear accident occurred on April 26, 1986 in reactor number 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near the city of Pripyat. The city is located in northern Ukraine in what was then a Soviet Socialist Republic. The city, which had a population of about 50,000 people, is now largely abandoned.

“Chernobyl,” the 5-episode mini-series, recently aired on HBO. The reviews have been positive with accolades from film critics and scientists, although the fictionalized version is weak on the medical and environmental aftereffects of the disaster, according to at least one expert.

Robert Peter Gale, a Visiting Professor of Hematology at the Imperial College London, spoke highly about the series in an article in the Cancerletter.com on May 17, 2019. However he pointed out one important weakness in the miniseries.

Gale said, “The series focuses predominately on events leading to the accident, the scientific, social and political environment in the Soviet Union at the time and, to a lesser degree, on immediate and long-term medical consequences. The series is strong on the former, but weaker on the later.”

The long-term medical and social consequence of atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons and the Chernobyl disaster is a natural focus of our Radiation Effects and Events collection. The McGovern Center is performing a vital service by compiling as much historical data as we can before those involved in the projects discard or lose their papers.

Posted in ABCC, Dr. Schull, Medical Archives, Public Health, Radiation Effects and Events

Sakamasu: a sake tradition

by Philip Montgomery
archivist and head of the McGovern Historical Center

masu

I found this small wooden box among papers and photos from the estate of Dr. William Jackson “Jack” Schull. Dr. Schull was involved in the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) and later the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) from the late 1940s until his death on June 20, 2017.

To the best of my knowledge this is a masu or more specifically a sakamasu or measuring cup for sake. Several of these have appeared in the archive. This item is 3.25 inches square and just a bit over 2 inches tall. The wood appears to be cypress or cedar, although I am hard pressed to identify wood unless it is clearly labeled.

Traditionally, a small glass is set in the masu, sake is poured into the glass until it overflows and partially fills the masu. Then the lucky recipient drinks from the cup. When the cup is finished, the user drinks from the corner of the masu to finish the excess sake.

This masu is stamped with the date 1981, the place Japan, a strange tower-like or mountain-like icon and then “3rd ICEM.” I am not sure what ICEM means. I thought it might be the “International Conference on Emergency Medicine” but that ICEM never held a 1981 conference in Japan as far as I can ascertain. So, if you know what ICEM might stand for in relation to Japan let us know.

One final point of interest, this masu is signed. Written in ink opposite of ICEM are the names of two men. The first is Ernie Hook, although I am not certain about the spelling of the name. The handwriting may say “Emil” or “Emie.” The other signature is of Tony Searle, the spelling of which I am fairly confident. Along with the names is a combination of katakana and kanji. Maybe if I have time I can laboriously translate the Japanese.

And if you have a masu around the house, drink a toast of sake to Dr. Schull. He would have liked that.

 

Posted in Medical Archives

Three for One: Memorial Hospital

Nursing students and faculty in front of Memorial Hospital, 1940s. Memorial Hospital was located at Lamar and Smith in Downtown Houston. [Memorial Hospital System records, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library, IC 022, IC022-1909-1970sPhotos-03-002]

by Sandra Yates
Archivist and Special Collections Librarian

The McGovern Historical Center has three finding aids available related to the Memorial Hospital System, one of the earliest hospitals in Houston. Founded in 1907 as the Baptist Sanitarium, Memorial Hospital began as a two-story, wood-framed building at the end of the trolley line on Lamar and Smith. It had 17 beds and eight trained nurses on staff. It was the second general hospital established in Houston after St. Joseph Hospital which opened in 1887. It was also the second Baptist-supported hospital in the United States. The other was the Missouri Baptist Sanitarium in St. Louis. The Baptist Sanitarium Training School for Nurses was the first chartered nursing school in the city, graduating its first class in 1909. Graduates from the school received a Registered Nurse certificate as well as a Sunday School Teacher certificate. All three collections are rich with historical materials from the nursing school, depicting students, staff, and activities.

MS 181 Leta Denham, RN papers, 1918-1920
IC 022 Memorial Hospital System records, 1907-1997
IC 103 Memorial Hospital Photograph Collection, 1903-1976

Leta Denham, RN papers (MS181) is a small collection that includes photographs, nursing certificates and artifacts as well as a yearbook. Leta Denham was a student at the Baptist Sanitarium and Hospital Training School for Nurses, graduating in 1919. She served as a medical missionary in Yingtak, China from 1921 to 1922.

Memorial Hospital System records (IC022) has many scrapbooks and photographs chronicling its long and proud history. The collection includes a photograph album from 1918 with amazing images of nursing students. The album overlaps with Leta Denham’s time at the nursing school (see the 1918 images below).

Memorial Hospital Photograph Collection (IC103) has over 4000 photographs that date from 1903 to 1976. The photographs depict the staff, physicians, personnel, departments, nursing school students, faculty and Lillie Jolly (director), facilities and building construction of the Memorial Hospital System. There is a small collection of 31 photographs from Lela Smith Hickey, who graduated from the nursing school in 1933. The photographs are of nursing students, staff, and physicians at Memorial Hospital in 1932 (See the 1932 images below).

It’s fun to compare the photographs from 1918 and 1932. The similarities are amazing! Through the years, the roof of the hospital remained a place for relaxing, having fun, and enjoying the view of downtown Houston.

1918

1932

Posted in Hospitals, Institutional Collection, Manuscript Collection, Medical Archives

Complete Finding Aid for the Medical World News Photograph Collection Is Available!

IC77 b 8-3-16 no84-10 moon man with owl

by Sandra Yates
Archivist and Special Collections Librarian

The Texas Medical Center Library, McGovern Historical Center is excited to announce the completion of the IC 077 Medical World News Photograph Collection. A complete finding aid and inventory is now online and available for researchers.

The Medical World News Photograph Collection is one of the largest and most interesting in the McGovern Historical Center. Comprised of an estimated 500,000 photographic prints, negatives, and transparencies, it offers an expansive visual tour of medical advances from 1960-1988. Through biographical files, subject files, article files, raw negative footage, color transparencies, and source materials for feature stories, this collection documents the production of a premiere medical news magazine, and it contains most of the images published in the magazine from 1967-1985.

The collection consists of 22,003 folders within 424 document boxes and 8 oversize boxes, which includes images for 8,198 articles, 3,017 medical personalities, and 2,141 subjects! The collection was processed by our dedicated Archives Assistant, Gina Leonard, who painstakingly inventoried every folder. It was a project that lasted over five years, two and a half of which was focused on rehousing every roll of 35mm negative into PAT (Photographic Activity Test) negative preserver sleeves. Gina’s work has enabled us to provided a very detailed folder-level inventory that is easily text searchable. Eventually, we hope to use the inventory as a foundation to create a more interactive search experience that will allow researchers to filter by year, subject, and photographer.

I won’t bore you with the spreadsheet formulas that made this massive task manageable, but… Who am I kidding! We could not have created such a detailed finding aid without (1) entering the inventory data into an Excel spreadsheet and (2) using SUBSTITUTE formulas to clean-up and standardize dates and CONCATENATE formulas to combine everything into encoded, valid XML component tags.

A Little Background

Medical World News was a weekly publication that focused on medical developments, issues, and personalities. It was published for 35 years from 1960 to 1994. Self-described as “The Newsmagazine of Medicine,” Medical World News was the only news magazine devoted solely to medicine during its years of publication.

With Maxwell M. Geffen as the publisher and Morris Fishbein as editor, the first issue of Medical World News hit the newsstand on April 22, 1960. From the beginning Medical World News aspired to be more than just another medical journal. It was a unique and independent publication with the freedom to report all aspects on controversial issues in medicine. Its target audience was the physician, and the image-rich content made for easy reading.

Fishbein emphasized photography to differentiate Medical World News from other medical journals. He had a photo staff of six people, including Rick Giacalone as art director and Don Monaco and Martha Roberts as photo editors. The work of the staff and amount of images created, reviewed, and used for each story was a massive undertaking. Geffen describes, “[the picture staff] handles about 30,000 pictures every year. For a single story, they may scrutinize as many as 150 color slides or a dozen rolls of 36-frame black-and-white film–from which they will choose only four or five of the best for publication.” (MWN, 1967, 03/31, p.21) This output explains the size and breadth of the collection! Medical World News used freelance photographers for assignments all over the world. Notable photographers who contributed to issues are George Tames, Art Shay, Joe Baker, Ivan Massar, Jerry Miller, Al Geise, and Bob Phillips. Some photographers were associated with photo agencies, like Black Star and Magnum Photos.

Accessing the Materials

The collection is open for research. You can search the finding aid and contact the mcgovern staff (mcgovern@library.tmc.edu) for images that suit your research needs. We can provide reference images of folder contents and high-resolution scans of prints, negatives, and color transparencies. Through the years, researchers have found the partial inventory that we had online and requested images from the collection for documentaries and journal articles. Some materials have been digitized and are available upon request.


Below are some images from the Medical World News Photograph Collection that we’ve featured previously on the blog:

Contact Sheet from 1966 Lasker Awards. Individuals in the image include: Dr. Sidney Farber, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, Mary Lasker, Dr. George E. Palade. Photographer, Mottke Weissman. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 21.9, negative# MW-250A-04]

Contact Sheet from 1966 Lasker Awards. Individuals in the image include: Dr. Sidney Farber, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, Mary Lasker, Dr. George E. Palade. Photographer, Mottke Weissman.

[Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 21.9, negative# MW-250A-04]

A place to put your cig while you brush your teeth! - Shopping Hints #99, Item #4, Mountable Ashtray. Product News, 3/17/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.39]

A place to put your cig while you brush your teeth! – Shopping Hints #99, Item #4, Mountable Ashtray. Product News, 3/17/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.39]

"Before separation, x-ray reveals that twin girls share liver (triangular mass)" Image from article in the May 31, 1968 issue of Medical World News. Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Collection, IC077, Box 119, #6628

“Before separation, x-ray reveals that twin girls share liver (triangular mass)” Image from article in the May 31, 1968 issue of Medical World News. Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Collection, IC077, Box 119, #6628


Actress-model Rose McWiliams mimics pathological conditions.

Actress-model Rose McWiliams mimics pathological conditions to help train junior medical students in meurology at the University of Southern California’s School of Medicine. Photo by Bill Bridges. Medical World News collection; malingering model IC 77 OV 1-17-1964.

IC77 b 8-3-16 no84-10 moon man with owl

Painted man with owl from IC 077 Medical World News Photo Collection.

Posted in Images, Medical World News

“I Question” by Anonymous

by Kelsey Koym
Archives Intern

This letter was found in the back of the book, “I Question.” The book is believed to have been written in 1947 by one of the patients of Dr.Luton, as evidence of this letter.

The Menninger collection contains hundreds of books spanning the various periods of psychological history and its specialties. Although the idealization of Freud and his near idol-like status saturate many of the pages of these books, unique items will stand out written by the patients of these medical professionals. One of these has greatly intrigued me, and it is worth the time to give it publicity.

The book is titled, “I Question,” and it is written by an anonymous author. At first this book seemed inconsequential. It consists of only eighty-two pages and has a foreword written by a Dr. Frank H. Luton, who grants a seemingly sincere recommendation to readers about the book’s value. There is no table of contents, and it lacks an index. What it does contain, however, is a piece of evidence of the book’s origination. In the back is a letter from Dr. Luton to Dr. William Menninger, brother to Dr. Karl Menninger whose name is formally attached to the collection. The letter is dated March, 20, 1947, and reveals that the anonymous author is one of Dr. Luton’s patients. Luton (1947) writes, “Writing the book has given him considerable satisfaction and I believe has enabled us to avoid institutionalization.” I needed to investigate more.

The book went to Phase Two of the appraisal process, which means the book needed to be checked against WorldCat to determine whether other facilities had the item. WorldCat listed six libraries that house this work, and now McGovern Historical Center makes seven. Mystery of authorship intrigues its audience, and it builds user’s curiosity enough to explore a book’s pages. We are closer to understanding this work’s origins because of a single letter pasted to a book that has been seemingly forgotten.

In the book, “Anonymous” consistently mentions the “other world.” His narrative skips, and its stop-and-go introspection reveals a mind that is reflecting upon its psychiatric history and the emotions accompanying it. The author speaks with authority regarding the voices he hears from this other world, and a reader cannot help but sense the whispers of a troubled mind.

The Menninger collection has books for the practicing doctor with a focus on the profession’s evolution and its historical context. However, there are works divulging the intimate stories of those patients who have undergone evaluation and treatment. Their journeys have been recorded and preserved to illuminate the experiences of the mentally ill and their healing.

Posted in Medical Archives, Rare Books

Colonel Bates: enemy of the Klan

By Philip Montgomery
Head of McGovern Historical Center

Yesterday, Colonel William B. Bates and his role in moving Baylor College of Medicine from Dallas to Houston came up in a conversation with Bryant Boutwell, the John P. McGovern Professor of Oslerian Medicine, at the UT Health Science Center-Houston.

Bates-1920

William “Bill” Bates in 1920 walks with Virgie [Dorsey], the cousin of Mary Dorsey. Mary and Bill married shortly after this picture was taken at West End Lake on a Sunday afternoon near Nacogdoches, Texas. Photo from MS 11, Colonel William Bates papers; series A, box “Family and Home,” folder “Family Photos,” circa 1920-1921.

Boutwell, an historian and author, described how Baylor came to the Texas Medical Center. Baylor’s move at the time was an off-the-charts seismic event full of drama, and Bates was in the middle of it.

Listening to Boutwell explain the deal making piqued my curiosity about Bates, so I started digging through his papers and photographs. I also scanned N. Don Macon’s interview of Bates that was published as “South from Flower Mountain: a conversation with William B. Bates.”

Macon captured the Bates interview on video tape. Macon interviewed many of the leading figures responsible for the creation of the Texas Medical Center. The McGovern Historical Center has a collection of his video interviews, some of which have been digitized. In Macon’s interview, Bates speaks with an economy of words in an East Texas accent.

Bates had an enormous impact on the growth of Houston from the moment he arrived in the city in 1923. By 1925, he was a board member of the Houston Independent School District.  He was chairman of the board when the University of Houston was established. He served on the advisory board of the Bank of the Southwest, now known as Amegy Bank of Texas. In 1939, he became chair of the board of trustees of the M.D. Anderson  Foundation. In that role, he contributed to and assumed a position of leadership for the creation of the Texas Medical Center.

Most of the images I see of Colonel William B. Bates show a portly, elderly, tight lipped man who never smiles. This photo shows a different and rare side of Bates. He has a rakish smile and walks with a bit of swagger. I like to think that his future wife Mary took this picture, which is why he has that smile on his face. She wrote on the back of the photo to describe the scene and signed her name, so there is a good chance she was present even if she was not the photographer. Her cousin Virgie probably had the role of chaperone.

Bates served in the U.S. Army from 1917 to 1919 during World War I. He was wounded three times, served in the front lines and briefly describes his first horrendous combat experience to Macon. Eventually, he was promoted to Captain and served in the Army of Occupation after the war. Dan Moody slapped the title of “colonel” on Bates when Moody ran for governor of Texas.

After the war and around the time this photo was taken, Bates was elected district attorney for the old Second Judicial District  of Texas, which included Angelina, Cherokee, and Nacogdoches counties during the early years of Prohibition. The Ku Klux Klan was at the height of its power at that time. According to Bates in his interview with Macon, the Klan came to Nacogdoches to organize.

“The Ku Klux Klan was a quite a force then,” Bates told Macon. “They almost ran Houston in those days. They were strong in several counties up here in East Texas, including Nacogdoches County. I was against them, fought them.”

“They were always mysterious,” Bates said, “never let you know who they were.” A Klan leader met with Bates and the mayor of Nacogdoches Judge Middlebrook to offer the services of the Klan to clean up the “undesirables.”

Bates quoted the Klansman as saying “… if somebody ought to be tended to, this Center [Texas] group will come and take care of him, take him out and ride him on a rail.”

Bates and the Mayor told the Klansman they did not approve and would “resist it with everything we had.” After that Bates became a marked enemy of the Ku Klux Klan. He ran for re-election as District Attorney, but this time the Klan opposed him and he was defeated by about 125 votes in every country in the district where he ran for office. After that defeat, Bates moved on and joined the law firm of Fulbright and Crooker in Houston in 1923.

A lot happened to Bates in the few years from 1919 to 1923. The photo would have been taken in the middle of this compressed time frame. He probably was still feeling his war wounds, he fell in love, married, ran for election as district attorney, enforced prohibition, faced off against the Ku Klux Klan, lost an election and moved to Houston.

His career was just getting started, and his involvement with Baylor College of Medicine’s move from Dallas to Houston is another story.

 

 

 

Posted in Medical Archives

Dr. Cooley’s Eisenhower jacket

By Philip Montgomery
Head of McGovern Historical Center

Today, Dena Houchin, RN, dropped off several of Dr. Denton Cooley’s old military uniforms, including pants, shirts and an Eisenhower jacket,  along with his Johns Hopkins University academic regalia robe, hood and hat. The Johns Hopkins regalia is pretty snazzy, but it was the Eisenhower jacket that caught my attention today.

Denton-Cooley's-jacket

Dr. Denton Cooley’s U.S. Army Eisenhower jacket.

Ms. Houchin is the former administrative director of cardiovascular surgery for the Texas Heart Institute where she worked for more than 30 years with Dr. Cooley. She is a close friend of the Cooley family, who gave her the garments to donate to the McGovern Historical Center.

Dr. Cooley probably wore the Eisenhower jacket when he served in the U.S. Army in Linz, Austria with the 124th Station Hospital between 1946 and 1948.

The Eisenhower jacket is a waist-length jacket with pleated back, adjustable waist band, fly-front buttons, bellows chest pockets, slash side pockets and shoulder straps. The jacket is made of 18-ounce wool serge, and it is heavy. This jacket still looks sharp and is in excellent condition for a 69-year-old article of military clothing.

Soon I will tell you about the academic regalia. You will need eclipse-type sunglasses to look at the Johns Hopkins University robes.

Posted in Medical Archives
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