Arena, Jay M., Papers, 1930-1995

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Collection Number: MC.0003
Jay M. Arena Papers, 1930-1995

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: 28.5 linear feet 19 record storage boxes
Abstract: Contains the professional papers of Jay Morris Arena (1909-1996), professor of pediatrics and community health and director of the Duke Poison Control Center. Types of materials include correspondence, reports, minutes, reprints, newsletters, clippings, programs, certificates, photographs, biographical materials, and manuscript materials. Major correspondents include Wilburt Cornell Davison, Atala Davison, Talmage Peele, Thomas Thweatt Jones and members of the Duke Children's Classic advisory group. Major subjects include Duke University Hospital, pediatrics, accidental poisoning in children, poisoning prevention and safety measures, poisoning case studies, treatment of poisoning, poison control centers, American Academy of Pediatrics, Duke Poison Control Center, and pediatrics in China. Materials range in date from 1930 to 1995.
Creator: Arena, Jay M.
Language: English
Repository Duke University Medical Center Archives
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Information for Users

Access Restrictions
Materials are restricted due to presence of personal health information. Contact the Medical Center Archivist to begin the use permissions process.
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], Jay M. Arena 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

Related Collections

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Biographical Information

Jay Morris Arena was born in Clarksburg, West Virginia on March 3, 1909 to Anthony M. and Rose Sandy Arena. He received degrees from West Virginia University (B.A., 1930) and Duke University (M.D., 1932). Arena interned at Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, New York (1932) and later Johns Hopkins Hospital (1932-1933). Arena joined Duke University in 1933 as a resident at Duke Hospital. Following his residency at Duke, he worked at Vanderbilt University as an instructor in pediatrics, but soon returned to Duke University School of Medicine in 1936 to become an assistant, associate, and finally full professor of pediatrics. Arena was the secretary-treasurer of the Duke Medical Alumni Association. In 1970, Arena was also appointed professor of community health sciences. He was a preeminent physician in the field of pediatrics and toxicology and has been credited with beginning the first poison control movement in the country.

In 1953, Arena founded the Duke Poison Control Center. The center, later directed by Shirley K. Osterhout, provided information to individuals and businesses about the product safety and chronic and acute management of poisoning through referrals, correspondence, and educational speakers. Later in the 1950s, Arena went beyond the center to persuade drug companies to develop the childproof safety cap for medicine bottles. Many companies were not interested in changing their product for fear of low sales or reputation of not producing a safe drug. But Arena persisted, and with support from Duke University, convinced a number of drug companies to begin using child-proof safety caps. A major success was in the safety closure for children's aspirin: he helped bring about a reduction in the strength of aspirin as well as in the number of tablets per bottle. As a result, the incidence of aspirin poisoning in children during the early 1980s was reduced from 25 percent to less than 5 percent of all poisoning cases.

Arena's interest in poison prevention was due in part to the influence of Dr. Wilburt C. Davison, long-time School of Medicine dean. During the 1930s, the two men had treated children suffering from the unfortunately common and caustic effects of lye poisoning. They kept a reference file on other types of poisoning. The file eventually led to an inventory of treatments for poisoning and helped to develop the Duke Poison Control Center and more than 600 poison control centers across the United States.

Arena shared his expertise in poison control throughout the United States by founding and presiding over the American Association of Poison Control Centers, an association to share information between health care centers which provided poison control information. He was the chair, vice president and president of many divisions of the American Academy of Pediatrics and president of the North Carolina Pediatric Society. He also served on the advisory board of the Council on Family Health and as a member of that group's delegation to the People's Republic of China. During his trips around China, Arena worked with other medical professionals to access the quality of care and evaluate the effectiveness of some traditional treatments as well as implementation of more modern techniques.

Between 1935 and 1979, Arena published approximately 300 articles and pamphlets on poisoning and a variety of pediatric subjects. He was the author, co-author or editor of many books: Poisoning: Toxicology, Symptoms, Treatment (1970, 1974, 1979, 1986), Child Safety is No Accident: A Parents' Handbook of Emergencies (1978), Dangers to Children and Youth: Accidents, Poison, Prevention (1971), Duke's Mixture: Davison's Saga (1968), The Peril in Plants (1970), Poisoning: Chemistry, Symptoms, Treatment (1963), The Treatment of Poisoning (1966), Davison of Duke: His Reminiscences (1980), Human Poisoning from Native and Cultivated Plants (1969, 1974), Pediatric Therapy (1964, 1975, 1980), and Principles and Practice of Emergency Medicine (1978). He also served on the editorial board of Clinical Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, Family Practice News, Highlights for Children, Journal of American College of Emergency Physicians, Nutrition Today, Pediatric Annals, and Pediatric News

Arena was appointed to serve with various government agencies. He worked with the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare with the Poison Control Branch of the Bureau of Medicine in the Division of Hazardous Substances and as an advisor on the Committee on Safety for Children. Arena served as an advisor and member of the United States Product Safety Commission and a chair of the Standards Committee of the National Standards Institute. As an advisory expert on the Accidents and Poison Panel of the International Pediatric Association, Arena was frequently called upon to give expert witness testimony in cases of accidental poisoning, prescription medication problems and corporate responsibility in poisoning cases. He was a member of the National Advisory Committee on Consumer Product Safety. Fraternal organizations memberships included Sigma Xi, Phi Beta Kappa, and Alpha Omega Alpha.

Arena retired from Duke University in 1979. The Jay Arena Fund in Pediatric Pharmacology and Toxicology was established in his honor. He was married to Pauline (Polly) Elizabeth Monteith. Together they had seven children. Arena died in 1996.

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Scope and Content

Contains correspondence, reports, minutes, reprints, newsletters, clippings, programs, certificates, photographs, biographical materials, and manuscript materials pertaining to the career of Jay Morris Arena. Materials range in date from 1930-1995.

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Contents list

Series Quick Links

American Academy of Pediatrics, 1965-1976

Contains correspondence, subject files, reports, memoranda, notes regarding publications and pamphlets, and minutes pertaining to the American Academy of Pediatrics, of which Jay Arena was a member of the executive board and president.

Box 1
Ad Hoc Committee on Academy Publications and Family Planning
Ad Hoc Committee on Goals in Medical Education
Ad Hoc Committee on Health Education of the Public
Annual Reports, 4 folders, 1965-1970
Candidates for Membership, 1969, 1970
Chapter Annual Reports, 1970
Chapter Meetings, 1970
Chapter Meetings, 1973
Chapter Newsletters, 1969
Committee on Committees
Committee on Youth
Conference on the Susceptibility of the Fetus and Child to Chemical Pollutants, correspondence, 6 folders 1968-1970
Correspondence, Palmisano Applebaum
Correspondence, William Crook
Council on pediatric practice
Fellowship list, 1969
Films catalog
Form letters

Box 2
Meetings, 26 folders, 1970 June -1977 November
Newsletters and press releases, 2 folders, 1968-1969
Nominations and suggestions, 1969
Nutrition Committee
Office of Allied Health Manpower
Pediatric Manpower Committee
Post-graduate courses
Project Head Start
Section on Community Pediatrics
Self-Assessment Committee, 1968-1969
Special Committee
Speech at district meetings
Spock, Benjamin, Anderson Aldrich Award, 1970-1971
Senate Health, Education and Welfare Appropriations Committee, testimony and exhibits 1973

Internal business affairs, 1970-1978
Box 3
1971 Feb.-1972 Feb., 13 folders 1971 Feb.-1972 Feb.

Box 4
1972 Feb.-1972 Nov., 15 folders 1972 Feb.-1972 Nov.

Box 5
1972 Dec.-1978 Dec., 21 folders 1972 Dec.-1978 Dec.

Box 6
Executive board, agendas and minutes, 17 folders, 1970-1972

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American Medical Association , 1969-1978

Contains materials pertaining to Arena's participation in various committees of the American Medical Association, particularly the committee working on peer review standards and guidelines for publication.

Subject files, 1969-1975

Box 7
General correspondence, 1971-1974
General correspondence, 1975-1978
Peer Review Committee, 3 folders, 1971-1972

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Davison of Duke Manuscripts Materials, 1932-1980

Contains clippings, correspondence, subject files, and memorabilia pertaining to the career of Wilburt C. Davison, personal relationship between Arena >and Davison, and authorship of the Davison of Duke biography. Correspondence dated 1959-1961 includes letters about Mildred Sherwood. The 1967 correspondence includes letters regarding James Gifford's dissertation on Duke Medical Center History.

Davison correspondence and tribute writings, 1966-1967
Tribute writings, 1960-1967
Commonwealth of Children symposium, testimonial dinner, writings and invitations, 1961

Biographical materials and correspondence, 1932-1980

Includes materials pertaining to Reminiscences, edited by Jay Arena and John P. McGovern. Materials include outlines, correspondence, drafts of chapters, writings, clippings, and stipulations regarding use of Davison’s papers.

Jay M. Arena
Thomas T. Jones
Talmage Peele
Other correspondence, 1972-1980
Correspondence regarding authorship and publishing, 1972-1979
Outline of Reminiscences, includes correspondence

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Lawsuits, Expert Witness, and Consulting Files, ca. 1970-1980

Contains legal documents, expert witness correspondence and testimony, and consultation correspondence regarding various aspects of poisons in use and poisoning cases. Materials in boxes 8 and 9 are ordered by defendant last name.

Box 8
Lawsuits, expert witness and consultant files

Box 9
Lawsuits, expert witness and consultant files
Salicylate/aspirin, 1973-1974
Carbon monoxide, 2 folders, 1973

Box 10
Arsenic, 1974
Hercules powder, 1975
Salicylate/aspirin, 1975
Hepatitis and oral thermometers, 1973
Post-operative medications, 1971
Suffocation with toy parts, 1973
Perchlorethylene, 1972-1975
Furniture polish, 1969-1976
Hip dislocation, 1971
Cough syrup, 1969
Other trials, 1961-1964

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Subject Files, 1969-1978

Contains correspondence, reports, committee notes, and teaching materials pertaining to Duke Hospital North, Watts Hospital, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Over-the-Counter Drug Products Review Panel.

American National Standards Institute Z66 Standards Committee, 4 folders, 1969-1974
Duke Hospital North, bond issue
Family Medicine Program at Duke University and Watts Hospital, 1975
Food and Drug Administration
Duke-Watts Family Medicine Program, presentation on poisoning in children, 1975
National Medical Association, meetings and correspondence 1969-1971
Over-the-Counter Drug Products Review Panel, 1975-1978

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Reprints and Manuscript Materials, 1935-1985

Reprint of articles by Arena, 4 folders
Child Safety is No Accident, part 1, 2 folders
Child Safety is No Accident, part 2, 2 folders

Box 11
Annotated copies of Bulletin of the Committee on Toxicology, Volumes 1-4, 1955-1959

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American Association of Poison Control Centers, 1965-1971

Contains general administrative notes and correspondence pertaining to the operation of the association and the establishment of regional poison control centers.

General administrative files, 2 folders, 1965-1967
Meeting notes and correspondence, 1968-1971

Box 12
Correspondence, 1969-1972
4.0 folders

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Duke Poison Control Center Records, 1965-1979

Contains correspondence, grants, reports, lecture materials, slides, and subject files pertaining to the operation and history of the Duke Poison Control Center. Subject files are mostly organized by poisoning agent.

Statistics and correspondence
National Library of Medicine, Poison Control Centers meeting, 1979

Duke Poison Control Center Poisoning cases and subject files
Activated charcoal
Agricultural products
Bismuth subgallate
Carbon monoxide
Chlorine dioxide
Christmas ornaments
Drug overdoses
Food additives
Food poisoning
Household cleaning products
Iron toxicity
Petroleum distillates
Mercuric chloride
Methyl chloroform
Methyl salicylate
Methylene chloride
Milk, human
Nyquil and other cold remedies
Pesticides and insecticides
Pertoleum distillate (commentary)
Supersafe toys project, Samuel Southard
Salt (emetic)
Poisonings, general letters
Toxicity letters, 1965
Requests for pamphlets and general informant
Lecture, Rocky Mount, 1975
Lecture, Indiana School of Medicine, 1974
National Library of Medicine, poisons database, ca. 1974
Principles and practice of emergency medicine

Box 13
Toxicology and drug services
Poisonous Plants
Pretty Poisonous Plants book, Consultant journal, and Syntex Company
Scientific and Regulatory Service Consulting, Inc.
Supersafe protocols and testing, 1974
Poison Control Center workshop, Chapel Hill, 1974
Poison Prevention Week, 1969-1974
Poisonous plant slides, Merck Sharp and Dohme
Triangle Universities Consortium On Air Pollution
Poison Prevention Packaging Act, 1969
Poisonous plant labeling legislation, 1974-1978

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Writings and Subject Files, 1972-1974

Contains short writings, correspondence and subject files pertaining mostly to families and poisoning cases. Includes materials related to support and advocacy groups, insurance companies, and distribution of educational information.

National health insurance
American Academy of Pediatrics, Nebraska chapter, 1972
Parents Concerned for Hospitalized Children, 1972
"Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, ", 2 folders 1972-1973
Toddler alarm, 1972
Syndicated column on pediatrics, ca. 1972-1974
"Taking the Panic Out of Pediatrics"
Prudential Insurance, 1974
Drugs and chemical effects on mother and child
Duke Pediatrics, historical account, 1992
"Impact of Food and Water on Contamination and Infant Growth"
Drugs and chemicals excreted in breast milk
Child Safety is No Accident, 2 folders

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American Academy of Pediatrics, 1970-1975

Contains materials pertaining to television programming, legislation, and subjects of concern to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Significant to this series is the Action for Children's Television materials which document the portrayal of children and their interactions with poisons and medication on television.

Action for Children’s Television, correspondence and writings, 1972-1975
Day care
Delivery of health care
Family practice residency program
Green Safety Lady
Long-range planning, 1970-1971
Health legislation, 1971

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Council on Family Health and China's Children Manuscript Materials, 1973-1980

Contains diaries, writings, clippings, correspondence, and manuscript materials pertaining to Arena's trip to China as a member of the Medical Delegation of the Council on Family Health. The purpose of the trip to China was to discover current practices in pediatric care, parental and school roles in health care for children, and to learn more about alternative treatments.

Correspondence and writings regarding acupuncture, child abuse, hypnosis, and other issues
Clippings, ca. 1974
Correspondence, 1975-1980
Speaking engagements
Speech material, 1974
Personal observations of China, n.d.
Pediatrics, commentary issue on China, 1975
China's children, health and nutritional status

Box 14
Slides, (about 90 slides), 1974
Photographs and memorabilia, 2 folders
Report of the Medical Delegation to the People’s Republic of China, 1973
China diary, 2 volumes
China’s Children, manuscript materials
Post-China writings and articles
Post-China correspondence and writings

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General Subject Files and Correspondence, 1965-1995

Contains alphabetical subject files pertaining to poison control associations, corporations and safety packaging, and books and periodicals as vehicles for poison prevention education.

Abdominal Pain
Committee on Toxicology Symposium, 1979
Afflick, Lylel, Australia safety medicine bottle
Alive and Well, Spenco Medical Corporation
Ambulatory pediatrics
American College of Emergency Physicians
Alpha Omega Alpha
Aspirin Amendment Conferences, 1965, 1966
Association Italo-Americana, Di. Toxicologia, Enrico Malizia
Astolfe, Emilio
Atkins, Chet
Austin, Glenn, The Parent's Almanac
Baby Talk, Pat Irons
Battelle Columbus Laboratory
Becton-Dickson firm
Reviews of Arena's books

Box 15
CIBA Clinical Symposia
Clinical Medicine
Clinical Pediatrics, 1965-1973
Perry Como, 2 folders
Department of Community Health Sciences
Council on Family Health, 1974-1978
Consultant Magazine
Council On Family Health, 1972-1973
Council On Family Health, 1970-1971
Crayon, Water Color and Craft Institute
Cruise, 1963
Current therapy
Desferal iron poisoning
Drackett Company
Emergency Medicine magazine
Expecting magazine
Eastern Carolina Emergency Medical Services System
"Essentials of Pharmacology," John A. Bevan
Family Circle
Food and Drug Administration, Bureau of Drugs
Federal Trade Commission
Film scripts received by Arena
Fulbright scholarships
Future Homemakers of America
Gellis, Sydney
Gerber Products Co.
Goddard, Food and Drug Administration
Health, Education and Welfare Consultant, internal drugs
Highlights Magazine for Children, advisory board

Box 16
International College of Pediatrics
Johnson and Johnson Research Center
Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians
Journal of the American Medical Association
Journal of Pediatrics
Kay Chemical Company
Klein Company, infant safety pins
KPR Info/Media, Starr/Bergmann
Katz, Samuel
Lederer, Eppie (Ann Landers), 2 folders
Mead-Johnson Labs, 1975-1977
Medical Focus, Inc.
Medical Communications Corporation, E. Walter Scott
Medical Digest
Medical Letter
Medical Times
Medical Tribune
Medix (Dave Bell)
Merck Sharpe and Dohne
Milligan, James (Borden, Inc.)
Modern Medicine
Modern Treatment magazine
Mothers Manual magazine
National Child Health Council
National Academy of Science Institute of Medicine
National Safety Council
Dell Norfleet
North Carolina Medical Journal
North Carolina Pediatric Society, 1964-1970
Parra, Manuel A. Arellano
Partnership agreement, Children's Clinic
Pediatric News columns, 2 folders, 1976-1978
Pediatric News, 4 folders, 1966-1991
Pediatrics, 1973-1981

Box 17
Personal correspondence and subject files, 11 folders, 1985-1995
Phi Beta Kappa
Plough, Inc., 1975-1986
Bio Ethics, March, 1991
Section on Bio Ethics
Proprietary Association, Pisiani Talk, 1970
Prudential Insurance Company of America, Philip Worth and Al Derogatis
Renzulli, John, 1959-1973
Retirement of colleagues, 1974-1983
Retirement, Jay Arena Endowment Fund, and Arena professorship, 1974-1984
Retired Scientists Society
Retirement Chair
Book reviews written by Arena, 1970-1978
Roche Laboratories

Box 18
Ross Laboratories
Reportes Medicos magazine
Rumack, Barry
Sabbatical International Poison Control Meeting, 1976
Safety Closures, 1976
Salicylamide versus aspirin
Schwartsman, Samuel
Senior Pediatric Teachers Program
Smisnow, Virgil, publications
Biography, David Tillerson Smith
Steroid therapy of chemical pneumonitis
Televans Producations, Bob Evans
Raimondi, Vagnozzi, Cardinal
Verhulist, Henry L.
West Virginia University
Poisoning and pediatrician responsibility
West Virginia University alumni

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Duke Children's Classic, 1974-1995

Contains correspondence, programs, budgets, photographs, and memorabilia of the Duke Children’s Classic golf tournaments (formerly known as Duke Celebrity Golf, Duke Celebrity Pro-Am, and the Children’s Cancer Classic) from 1974 to 1995.

22 folders

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Biographical Materials and Photographs, ca. 1930-1992

Contains materials pertaining to various professional activities and personal interests of Jay Arena.

Box 19
Wills of Arena family
Convocation at Duke Chapel (Arena read the Duke Indenture), 1992
Medical Alumni Weekend, (presented teaching award), 1982
Portrait dedication notes, n.d.
Class of 1932, 35th reunion announcement, 1967
Agreement between School of Medicine and 1932 graduates (to serve two years in a hospital or laboratory approved by the Executive Committee of the School of Medicine), 1932
International driving permit, 1963
Photographs, Duke Pediatric Society, 1952-1958
Photographs, Arena as a student, ca. 1930-1932
Reminiscence and correspondence, "Student Life at a New Medical School Over One-Half Century Ago," 1992
Clippings, 1967-1971
Certificate, Watts Hospital Certificate, 1969
Certificate, Physician’s Recognition Award, 1980
Alpha Omega Alpha membership certificate, 1931
Duke University School of Medicine diploma, 1932
A2007-083: Negatives, Arena era (2 folders)

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Separated Materials

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