Duke Medical Center Archives Blog

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Women working in laboratory

Medical Laboratory Professionals Week
Posted On: April 27, 2017 by
Rebecca Williams

Medical Laboratory Professionals Week is a yearly celebration of the valuable work done every day by clinical laboratory personnel around the country. During the last full week of April every year, the medical laboratory professional community aims to educate and promote awareness about the profession. To commemorate this week and the work done by laboratory professionals here at Duke the Archives would like to share some documents from the earliest days in the Pathology Department. The Department of Pathology has been at Duke since the very beginning of Duke Hospital and the School of Medicine with Dr. Wiley D. Forbus serving as the founding chair of the department. His papers are a testament to the crucial and demanding role that the laboratory technicians and pathology staff... MORE
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School of Nursing Table Display

School of Nursing Alumni Weekend
Posted On: April 12, 2017 by
Rebecca Williams

This past weekend Duke welcomed back alumni from a variety of academic disciplines and classes and the Archives were honored to participate in the celebrations on Friday at the School of Nursing. We set up a table display (shown below) with a historical timeline, photographs, old brochures and handbooks, and even a nursing uniform and cap.          We heard many fun stories about campus life, nursing classes, and changes in nursing over the years.  Many alumni recognized the nursing uniform on display from their student days, but several commented that ours did not have nearly enough starch! Alumni and current nursing students alike got a chuckle out of looking at the tuition prices from a 1953 bulletin for the School of Nursing... MORE
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The Archives Increases its Storage Space
Posted On: March 27, 2017 by
Lucy Waldrop

Space is often a contentious issue in archives because physical collections take up, well, so much space, but as collections grow, all archives must confront the issue of diminishing storage area. The Medical Center Archives recently met this issue head on by turning unused office space into a new storage area for low use collections. The addition of the new storage unit added 2,430 linear feet of space for the Archives to grow our collections. Translated from archives speak, this means the Archives now has the capacity to add 1,620 more boxes at our location. Onsite storage at the Archives can now hold 10,506 linear feet or 7,004 boxes. The creation of a new storage area, will help the Archives better collect and preserve the official records of DUMC and DUHS departments and... MORE
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Dorothy Beard

Oral Histories from the Archives: Women's History Month
Posted On: March 14, 2017 by
Rebecca Williams

In honor of Women’s History Month, we are featuring Women in Duke Medicine: An oral history exhibit, our online exhibit containing of oral history interviews with many pioneering women at Duke Medicine. The digital exhibit includes brief biographies, sound clips, photos, and interview transcripts of women from multiple fields at Duke Medicine. Many of these women were pioneers or in some way “firsts” in their respective disciplines, so each has a unique historical perspective. The exhibit chronicles both the stories of individual women in addition to providing a deeper look into the context in which those stories took place. Oral history, the primary method of inquiry for this exhibit, is a unique format that allows for both.To view the digital exhibit, visit http://digitaldukemed.mc... MORE
Category: Collection Spotlight, News Comment count: 0
Donna Allen Harris

Oral Histories from the Archives: Donna Allen Harris
Posted On: February 28, 2017 by
Rebecca Williams

In honor of Black History Month, our blog this week features Donna Allen Harris, the first African American woman to graduate from Duke’s School of Nursing in 1971. On December 4, 2008, Jessica Roseberry conducted an oral history interview with Harris at the Medical Center Archive. During the interview, Harris recalls the isolation she felt while helping integrate the high school in Elizabeth City. Coming to Duke, she worried about the continuation of that isolation but found a close group of friends among the nursing students. Harris contends, “It was that this social aspect of it was so much different from high school and that was my solace.”Donna Allen Harris was born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Due to her father’s enlistment in the Navy, the family frequently moved, including... MORE
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Esther Johnson

Black History Month: Donald Love, Esther Johnson, and the staff of Duke Medical Center
Posted On: February 22, 2017 by
Rebecca Williams

Dr. W. Delano Meriwether, the first black student admitted to the Duke School of Medicine, came to Duke in 1963. Dr. Charles Johnson, the first black faculty member, came to Duke in 1970. While black students and faculty were unfortunately not welcomed to Duke until more recently in history, African Americans have been a part of the Duke Medical Center since the very beginning. In 1930, when the hospital and the School of Medicine were about to open, Donald Love was busy with the many necessary preparations for the new hospital wards. Love, pictured to the right, is considered the first African American hire. He was hired in 1930 and worked at Duke until his retirement in 1974. In a 1970 issue of the Intercom, Donald Love recounts the large amount of tasks required to open the hospital... MORE
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Dr. Jean Spaulding

Oral Histories from the Archives: Dr. Jean Spaulding
Posted On: February 13, 2017 by
Rebecca Williams

In honor of Black History Month, our blog this week features Dr. Jean Spaulding, the first African American woman to graduate from Duke’s School of Medicine in 1972. Although born in Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Spaulding grew up in Highland Park, Michigan, just outside of Detroit. She moved back to the South in order to attend Duke University’s School of Medicine. When she received her MD in 1972, she became the first African American woman to graduate from Duke University’s School of Medicine. Dr. Spaulding stayed at Duke to complete her fellowship and residency in psychiatry. In 1977, she opened a private psychiatry practice in Durham, North Carolina. She also worked as a clinical consultant in child psychiatry at Duke from 1977 to 1990. Among other professional roles she has held at... MORE
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Black History Month at Duke Medicine
Posted On: February 6, 2017 by
Rebecca Williams

February is Black History Month and we will be celebrating it all month long here at the Duke Medical Center Archives. On our blog this month, we will highlight some important people and events in Black history at Duke Medicine. We encourage you to check out the Archives’ research guide African American History at Duke Medicine. The guide aims to introduce researchers to materials documenting the history of African American faculty, students, and staff at Duke Medicine. Included are oral histories, archival collections, photographs, audiovisual materials, and publications, selected key dates and key figures, and links to recommended digital resources.  Please stay tuned for another post next week or contact the archives with any specific questions you might have or... MORE
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nursing uniforms over the years

Pictures of Nursing Now On Display
Posted On: January 26, 2017 by
Rebecca Williams

The Medical Center Library & Archives is happy to announce that the National Library of Medicine’s traveling exhibit, “Pictures of Nursing:  The Zwerdling Postcard Collection” is display through February 25th. It is now accompanied by a display of “Pictures of Nursing at Duke” featuring pictures from the Duke Medical Center Archives. Nurses and nursing have often been the subject of postcard art for over a hundred years; thus, the postcards from the Zwerdling Collection provide insight into popular social and cultural perceptions of the nursing profession. In conjunction with these artistic renderings of nurses, the “Pictures of Nursing at Duke” display provides archival photographs of nurses working and studying at Duke Hospital and the School of Nursing respectively.... MORE
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Dr. James M. Young, SOM '55

White House Physician
Posted On: January 10, 2017 by
Rebecca Williams

Today President Obama will deliver his farewell speech as he prepares to leave office and President-elect Trump prepares for his inauguration on January 20th. In this time of transition, there have been many news stories about the cabinet members, policy advisors, and the many 4,000+ jobs that the new administration must fill. There are a lot of people that work in the White House with varying backgrounds and responsibilities—including doctors! The White House Medical Unit is an important, but perhaps lesser known department that provides important healthcare services for the president, his employees, and everyone who visits the White House each day.Dr. James M. Young, a 1955 graduate of the Duke School of Medicine, served as one of the physicians in this unit from 1963-1966 during the... MORE
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Elbert L. Persons Papers
Posted On: January 4, 2017 by
Lucy Waldrop

The Archives is happy to announce that the Elbert L. Persons Papers, 1923-1970, are processed and open to researchers. The collection is organized into the following series: Personal Papers, 1951-1969; Correspondence, 1946-1970; Duke Medicine, 1931-1970; Professional Papers, 1923-1970; United States Armed Forces, 1934-1970; American College of Physicians (ACP), 1943-1970; Diets, circa 1940-1949; and Audiovisual, 1964, undated. The papers contain professional and personal correspondence, grant materials, records pertaining to Persons’ time with the 65th General Hospital, Duke Medicine, and the ACP, as well as, administrative records, guides, brochures, programs, schedules, information on Duke Medicine’s Annual Medical Symposium, meeting materials, schedules, notes, photographic... MORE
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When Mold Strikes
Posted On: December 21, 2016 by
Lucy Waldrop

 This summer, during a seemingly innocuous project to add more description to our finding aids, an intern pulled a box from the Arthur A. Morris Papers, a Duke alumni who helped found the Neurosurgical Society of America, and was confronted with one of the worst four letter words in archives: mold. This fungus grows on the surface of its host and feeds on living organisms and dead organic matter. Once these fungal spores are present, along with sufficient moisture and nutrients, they will germinate. Elevated temperatures, poor air circulation, dim or no light, and accumulated dirt all accelerate the growth of mold. Without the presence of moisture, mold spores will lie dormant. After inspecting the Morris Papers, we were certain they were covered in dormant mold.It is true that there... MORE
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Dr. H. Keith H. Brodie

Remembering Dr. H. Keith H. Brodie
Posted On: December 13, 2016 by
Rebecca Williams

The Duke Community was saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. H. Keith H. Brodie earlier this month. As both chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and president of Duke, he had a profound impact on Duke University and Duke Health.There have been several well-written tributes to Dr. Brodie and his legacy in the past couple of weeks, so rather than attempt to write another, we thought that we would share some of his own words. We conducted an oral history interview with Dr. Brodie in 2004 that hopefully provides a glimpse of the type of leader that he was.When asked about his continued dedication to psychiatry, Dr. Brodie shared the following: “It’s been fun. You know, I’ve always felt that if we could interest undergraduates in what psychiatry is all about and what mental illness was... MORE
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It Came from the Archives: Trained Fleas Now Showing at Hubert’s Museum
Posted On: November 22, 2016 by
Rebecca Williams

When looking for items for our recent Halloween event, we made an interesting and unexpected find that we wanted to share. In a folder titled “The Effect of Radiation on the World's Most Precious Material” in the Charles W. Shilling Papers, we not only found Dr. Shilling’s speech notes withthe aforementioned title, but also an informational pamphlet about Professor Heckler’s Trained Flea Circus at Hubert’s Museum in New York City, shown on the left. We are not exactly sure why Dr. Shilling had this brochure in his papers. Did he visit Hubert’s Museum in Times Square on a whim? Or did someone send this back to him? As a doctor who created a method of radiation sterilization of a fly was he keenly interested in seeing the famous flea circus?One thing is sure—flea circuses were (and are!) a... MORE
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On This Day: The Eye Center Opens
Posted On: November 8, 2016 by
Rebecca Williams

On November 8, 1973, the Duke Eye Center (now called the Wadsworth Eye Center) was opened and dedicated. The $3.7 million project was the result of more than eight years of planning. Prior to its construction, patients with serious or unusual eye diseases often had to be referred to eye centers in distant places like New York, Baltimore, or Miami.The three-story structure built in 1973 contained a 43-bed inpatient unit, operating rooms, a 22,000-square-foot outpatient clinic and one complete floor of research laboratories. It was built from funds received from individuals, foundations, and other private sources. The fact that no government funds or tax money was used on the project was a big source of pride for Duke.Approximately ten years later, on April 22, 1983, the Duke Eye Center was... MORE
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