Beard, Joseph W., Papers, 1920-1983

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Collection Number: MC.0006
Joseph W. Beard Papers, 1920-1983

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Duke Medical Center Archives in Durham, N.C. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


Collection Overview

Size: 3.0 linear feet 3 document cases, 1 oversize box
Abstract: Contains the professional papers of Joseph W. Beard, virologist at the Duke University School of Medicine, and Dorothy Beard, his research partner and wife. Types of materials include correspondence, writings, memorabilia, contracts, certificates, plaques, photographs, a drawing, and a eulogy. Major subjects include Duke University Medical Center, cancer research, virus diseases, leukemia, avian leukosis viruses, oncogenic viruses, and virus disease. Materials range in date from 1920 to 1983.
Creator: Beard, Joseph W. (Joseph Willis), 1901-1983
Language: English
Repository Duke University Medical Center Archives
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Information for Users

Access Restrictions
No restriction.
Usage Restrictions
Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], Joseph W. Beard Papers, Duke University Medical Center Archives.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Collections may contain Medical Center Administrative records. These include records of the officers of the University, as defined in the Bylaws, the deans of schools and colleges, and departments, institutes, and other offices as designated by the President. For a period of twenty-five years from the origin of the material, permission in writing from the director of the office of record and the Medical Center Archivist is required for use. After twenty-five years, records that have been processed may be consulted with the permission of the Medical Center Archivist.
Collection may contain Records of the Board of Trustees of the Duke University Medical Center. These include minutes and supporting documentation of the Board, its Executive Committee, and standing and ad hoc committees, and reports, studies, and the like presented solely to the Board. Records which have been existence for at least fifty years are available for scholarly research with the permission of the Medical Center Archivist. Access to records which have been in existence for less than fifty years shall be granted only by special permission, in writing, of the Medical Center Board of Trustees.
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Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings and Medical Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collectionsuch as folders or items.

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Related Collections


Biographical Information

Joseph Willis Beard was born in Athens, Louisiana in 1906. He earned his degrees from University of Chicago (B.S., 1925) and Vanderbilt University (M.D., 1929). Joseph Beard met his wife, Dorothy Waters, at Vanderbilt University. Dorothy Waters Beard, a 1929 graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, became a prominent member of Joseph Beard's research group, collaborating with him on over 125 research publications.

Joseph Beard was noted for his early accomplishments in cancer and viruses in animal and humans. In 1933, Beard and scientist Peyton Rous of the Rockefeller Institute wanted to study a particular group of cells. They devised the method of pulling blood cells out of veins using a magnetic force. The New York Evening World Telegram called their accomplishment an 'ingenious trick.'

Beard joined the Duke University faculty in 1937. Together, Joseph and Dorothy Beard were an internationally prominent cancer research team. In 1938, one year after coming to Duke University, Dr. Beard's group developed the first usable vaccine for equine encephalomyelitis, a disease that then struck down thousands of horses. This development was due in part to the generous funding of Lederle Laboratories, owned by William Brown Bell, a Duke Endowment Trustee and President of American Cyanamid Company. Bell's support allowed Duke scientists to progress rapidly in successfully developing the vaccine and subsequently becoming national leaders in vaccine and immunization.

In the 1940s, Beard purified and photographed the virus which causes warts and skin cancer in rabbits. In 1950, Beard received a grant from the American Cancer Society to research and isolate the cause of avian leukosis, a cancer-like disease that cost the poultry industry millions of dollars each year. In subsequent research, Dr. Beard isolated and identified cancer viruses that cause leukemia in chickens, and he and his associates were one of the two groups to first report tangible evidence of viruses in association with human leukemia.

Beard became the James B. Duke professor of surgery in 1946 and was appointed professor of virology in 1965. Beard received Borden Award for outstanding research in medicine, presented annually by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Beard continued to be recognized locally and nationally for his work, winning funding and awards frequently.

Beard produced over 300 publications on surgical shock; chemical, physical, and biological properties of animal viruses; and on cancer induced by mammalian and avian viruses. Some of Dr. Beard's works include International Conference on Avian Tumor Viruses 1964, Symposium: Phenomena of the Tumor Viruses 1960, Bacteriology (1957), and Microbiology (1960).

Joseph Beard served Duke University until his retirement in 1973. From about 1973 until 1983, the Beards were associated with Life Sciences Incorporated, located in their place of retirement, St. Petersburg, Florida. Joseph Beard died in 1983.

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Scope and Content

Organized into the following series: Correspondence, 1930-1971; Personal Materials, 1930-1970; Research and Legal Materials, 1940-1982; Photographs, Memorabilia, and Awards, circa 1920-1971; Oversized Photographs and Scrapbooks, circa 1920-1956.

Scrapbooks were disassembled and refoldered due to preservation concerns. Oversize materials are housed in Box 4.

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Contents list

Series Quick Links

Correspondence, 1930-1971

Contains personal and professional correspondence of Joseph Beard. Major correpsondents include Lederle Laboratories, Alfred Blalock, Dorothy Beard, Ronzee Bridges and Rose Bridges.

Unordered, 1934-1978
General, unordered, 1934-1978
Anlyan, William G., 1970
American Cyanamid Company (William Bell), 1945-1946
Dorothy Beard to Joseph Beard, 1934-1960
Blalock, Alfred, 1935-1945
Bridges, Rose McIntyre, circa 1945-1971
Bridges, Sr., Ronzee McIntyre, circa 1945-1971
Brooks, Barney 1935
Lauffer, Max, 1950
Lederle Laboratories, 1937-1939
Lilly Research Laboratories, 1980
C.O. Prickett, 1949
Rous, Peyton, circa 1935-1965
Shope, Richard E., 1938-1941
Sprunt,Douglas H., 1945

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Personal Materials, 1930-1970

Love letter [from Joseph to Dorothy Beard?], no date
Helpful Hints, a household maintenance scrapbook, circa 1940-1970
Property and land ownership, circa 1970
Madeline G. Waters writings, circa 1920
Letters of recommendation concerning Joseph Beard, 1934-1935
Borden Award, 1971

Box 2
Eulogy, Dr. Joseph W. Beard, 1901-1983, A Mighty Man, 1983

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Research and Legal Materials, 1940-1982

Scholarly writings and reprints, circa 1940-1982
Dorothy Beard Research Fund, 1941-1971
Lederle Laboratories contract, 1940, 1944
Duke University contract, 1940

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Photographs, Memorabilia, and Awards, circa 1920-1971

Programs and brochures, circa 1945-1977
Certificates (academic, honorary, membership), 1932-1979
Sketch of Dorothy Beard, 1935
News clippings, circa 1955-1971
Photographs, family and personal,
[7 items]
Photographs of colleagues, work, and Duke University
[12 items]

Box 3
Photographs, portraits/individual shots, Joseph Beard
[13 items]
Photographs, portraits of Dorothy Beard [and Madeline Waters?],
[9 items]
Photographs, unidentified
[4 items]
Commemorative medal, American Association for Cancer Research, G.H.A. Clowes Memorial lecture, 1966
Association of American Medical Colleges, Award for Outstanding Research in Medical Science, 1971
Plaque, Special Virus Cancer program, 1971

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Oversized Photographs and Scrapbooks, circa 1920-1956


Box 4
Family photo album, 36 pages, circa 1950-1955
Beard family at home/leisure activities
Joseph and Dorothy Beard at work
Beard family scrapbook, pages 1-32, circa 1930-1956
Beard family scrapbook, pages 33-74, circa 1930-1956
Madeline Grainger Waters scrapbook, pages 1-22 circa 1920-1939
Madeline Grainger Waters scrapbook, pages 23-50 circa 1920-1939
Madeline Grainger Waters scrapbook, loose materials circa 1920-1939

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