As Archives Month comes to a close, we bring you the second part of our two part blog series answering questions asked by our two interns. Read part 1 here.
Caroline Waller: "I would like to know more about the history of the [Duke University Medical Center] archives, like when/why/where was it founded.”
The Archives was formally established in 1977 through the efforts of Elon H. Clark, Barnes Woodhall and G.S.T. Cavanagh, with support from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation; however informal efforts to collect materials documenting the history of Duke Medicine existed well before this time. An October 1965 article published in the Intercom, the forerunner of Duke Dialogue, entitled, "Wait, Please...Before You Throw That Away!" galvanized efforts to establish an archive. In the article, pictured to the right, the authors requested that individuals send in their "priceless" materials to become part of the reading room of the new Medical Center Library, to be devoted to the "History of Duke University Medical Center." Barnes Woodhall, M.D., Vice Provost, and G.S.T. Cavanagh, then Director of the Medical Center Library, coordinated this first formal attempt to collect materials.
Three years later, through the support of a grant from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Elon Clark, coordinator and professor of medical art, began collecting official papers, photographs, printed materials, and interviews pertaining to the history and business of the Medical Center. Clark's efforts established an important foundation for documenting the history of Duke Medicine.
This work continues to the present as we actively collect the official records of DUMC and DUHS departments and divisions, including a variety of materials that provide evidence of the business, interests, and activities through of the years.