Duke Medical Center Archives
Category: Collection Highlights

In honor of Black History Month, in this blog post we’re featuring Prentiss Harrison, who, upon graduating from Duke’s program in 1968, was the first African American PA in the nation.

Harrison first heard of Duke’s fledging PA program while working as an operating room technician at the UNC Chapel Hill Hospital. Established in 1965, Duke’s program was a two-year course intended to train students to practice medicine and provide health care services under a doctor’s supervision, and was the first of its kind in the nation. Harrison, who had been trained as a medical corspman while serving in the Army, recognized that this new field could offer professional opportunity and advancement. He applied and was accepted into the second class.

The Medical Center Archives...

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Mildred Sherwood's Japan Scrapbooks
Posted On: January 5, 2016 by Jolie Braun

We have several scrapbooks of programs and individuals associated with the Medical Center in our collections at the Archives, but a particular favorite and one we want to highlight in this post is those of Mildred Sherwood.

Sherwood (pictured right, in the center of the top photo) dedicated her professional life to Duke, having been recruited by the first School of Medicine Dean Wilburt C. Davison (like many of her colleagues, from a position at Johns Hopkins Hospital) to be pediatrics supervisor at Duke University Hospital when it opened in 1930. She also was an instructor in the Department of Pediatrics, teaching medical and nursing students about patient care. She remained at Duke...

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The DUMC Archives has a large collection of oral histories documenting the medical center’s history. In this post, we’re highlighting three that were conducted with individuals who worked with Dr. Grace Kerby. Kerby, who first came to Duke in 1940 as a research assistant in the Department of Pathology, is notable for a few “Duke firsts.” In 1946 she was the first female chief resident in the Department of Medicine, and in 1964 she became the first female full professor in the department. Additionally, from 1965 to 1971 she was the chief of the Division of Rheumatic and Genetic Disease in the Department of Medicine, the first female to become a division chief in the department.

The Archives is fortunate to have multiple documented recollections of Dr. Kerby. Her secretary,...

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New Collection Added to the Archives!
Posted On: September 17, 2014 by Matthew Shangler

We are excited to announce the addition of a new collection: the Arts and Health at Duke Department Records. Originally called the Cultural Services Program, Arts & Health at Duke was founded in 1978 through the efforts of Drs. James Semans and Wayne Rundles. Together they launched a program one of the first of its kind in the country...

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The Oral History Collection here at the Archives is one of our oldest and most interesting collections. There are over 300 interviews with key figures in the Med Center’s history that date from 1955 to as recent as 2012. This post is the first in a series we are launching to highlight major subjects and individuals featured in this collection. As July 3 marked the 72 anniversary of Duke’s 65th General Hospital Unit receiving orders to report for duty at Fort Bragg, we wanted to begin our Oral History series with Dr. Ivan Brown, who served in the unit and played an integral role in preserving its memory.

Dr. Brown began his career at Duke as a student, and after graduating with his MD in 1940, joined the 65th General Hospital Unit in 1943. Though he went on to accomplish much...

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In this post we’re highlighting one of our favorite older publications: a 1940's brochure of Highland Hospital.

Founded in 1904 in Asheville, North Carolina, Highland Hospital was a psychiatric facility that treated patients with mental illness, depression, and substance abuse problems. The hospital was known for attracting an elite clientele from around the country, and even treated some well-known figures, such as Zelda Fitzgerald. In 1939 founder Robert Sproul Carrol donated the hospital to Duke, who owned it until 1980, when the institution was purchased by the Psychiatric Institutes of America.

The brochure is lavishly illustrated, and describes the institution’s services and facilities. Highland Hospital was a product of the relatively new, burgeoning field of...

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This week the School of Nursing welcomes back its graduates for their annual Reunion Weekend. In honor of the occasion, we shine our spotlight on a special part of the School of Nursing Records: the scrapbooks. Coincidentally, it was during a Reunion Weekend in 2006 that these scrapbooks were donated to the Archives. There are 11 scrapbooks in all, covering a 30-year period, from 1952-1984.

Highlights include two scrapbooks from nursing conventions. The first is of the 1952 Biennial Nursing Convention held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It features a conference program, registration directory, and many newspaper clippings about the event. Pictured on the right are two pages and the cover. The second is from the 1965 National Student Nurses’...

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The Archives has many publications created over the course of Duke University Medical Center's history. One we're especially fond of is Shifting Dullness, a newsletter produced entirely by Duke medical students.

When Shifting Dullness began in 1968, its earliest issues were often a single page of announcements and events. Over the years, though, it grew, and by the 1990’s the publication had become a space for medical students to discuss professional issues as well as personal interests. Issues averaged 16 pages and included a wide variety of content: articles about the student code of conduct...

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Similar to badges, patches are a form of official identification often affixed to a uniform. These range from simple name tags to much more elaborate designs. Historically patches feature symbols and colors of importance to the organization. While there are different varieties of patches, embroidered are the most common. 

Over the years, Duke has produced patches for various staff and units affiliated with the Medical Center. The Archives has a representative selection of these within our collection. Pictured on the right is the patch from a Cadet Nurse uniform. In the center is a white Maltese Cross on a scarlet and gray background. The cross symbolized caring for the sick. The Cadet Nurse Corps began...

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Happy Holidays from the Medical Center Archives staff! While gifts exchanged vary year to year, cards have stayed a consistent part of the holiday ritual. In this post we extend our seasons’ greetings through the cards of Christmas past – three, to be exact.

The first card (pictured right) was sent by Dr. Norman Ross of the 65th General Hospital Unit to his wife in 1943 while he was stationed overseas in England. In a departure from the traditional red and green color scheme, this card features a patriotic red, white and blue illustration. (The 65th General Hospital Unit was organized by Duke to serve in the allied war effort during World War II.)

Pictured on the left is a 1962 holiday card by medical artist Elon Clark....

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Scalps!
Posted On: October 30, 2013 by Jolie Braun

This week we're highlighting one of the more humorous items in our collections. Scalps!, published in 1958, is a 32-page booklet of caricatures of School of Medicine faculty. For SOM alumni and those with a knowledge of DUMC history, the book is a collection of familiar faces, depicting key figures in Duke Medicine, such as the first School of Medicine Dean Wilburt Davison (pointing at globe). All of the artwork was done by Elec LeClerq, who came to Duke in 1957 as a resident in Endocrinology...

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Illustration for Malcolm Tyor's talk, "What's the Evidence?"

Malcolm Tyor's "What's the Evidence?"
Posted On: September 6, 2013 by Jolie Braun

Recently we happened to come across some illustrations in our collections that seemed too good to not share. The cartoons you see here were two of the images used to accompany Dr. Malcolm Tyor’s talk, “What’s the Evidence?” which he gave at a meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). (Unfortunately the year this presentation was given and the creator of the artwork are unknown.) Drawing on Tyor’s long, successful career as a gastroenterologist, his speech focused on the importance of inquiry and maintaining a sense of curiosity for both medical students and professionals: “We are all prone to employ certain key phrases generally introduced to our professional repertoire by our teachers…‘What’s the evidence?’ has served me well through my...

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