Archives & Special Collections as per its mission statement appraises, collects, organizes, describes, preserves and makes accessible the archival records of Columbia’s four health sciences schools and selectively acquires the records of persons, organizations and institutions that increase our knowledge of the history of the health sciences.
It does this by continually adding appropriate materials to its collections either by transfer from university offices, purchase, or donation. Among the past year’s acquisitions are:
Columbia University. HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies Records, 1987-2012: Newsletters, brochures, grant applications and reports, photographs, DVDs, training and intervention manuals, workshop materials documenting the work of the Center from its founding. Also included are reprints of articles by co-founder Dr. Anke Ehrhardt and other HIV Center staff members.
Kenneth A. Forde Papers, 1950s-2010s: Correspondence, printed material, photographs, certificates, a videotape and memorabilia of Dr. Kenneth A. Forde (P&S 1959), Jose Ferrer Professor of Surgery Emeritus. A legendary African-American surgeon, Forde is best known for his work on making endoscopy a safer and more accurate tool for the diagnosis of colon and other cancers.
Barbara W. Low Papers, 1930s-2010s: Correspondence, biographical materials, photographs, notebooks, reprints, and scientific data created by Dr. Low, a pioneer in the field of x-ray crystallography and a member for over a half century of Columbia’s Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. Low was part of the team that discovered the molecular structure of penicillin in the 1940s; she went on to discover the pi-helix and do important work on the structure of insulin.
Sarah J. McNutt Collection: McNutt (1839-1930) was among the first generation of American women to earn a medical degree and was one of the founders in 1887 of Babies Hospital (now Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NY). Among the items in the collection are her medical school diploma (1877), fellowship certificate from the New York Academy of Medicine (1888), and membership certificate from the Medical Society of the County of NY (1880). Found in the walls of a Connecticut home undergoing renovations, the items were donated to the Health Sciences Library when the owners discovered McNutt’s connection to Children’s Hospital.
Michael Merson Collection on the Global AIDS Response: Dr. Merson, who led the World Health Organization’s Global Programme on AIDS (GPA) in the 1990s donated the collection he created while writing The AIDS Pandemic: Searching for a Global Response (2018), co-authored with Stephen Inrig. Included are correspondence, reports, meeting minutes, speeches, press clippings, and printed material. Perhaps the most significant part of the collection are the full transcripts and audiotapes of the interviews Merson did with his GPA collaborators around the world as part of the research for his book.
Presbyterian Hospital: Photograph of the 1901 Presbyterian Hospital house staff. Archives & Special Collections has only a few photos of Presbyterian’s late 19th – early 20th century house staff – what today would be called residents. The photograph was donated not by New York-Presbyterian Hospital but by a donor in Georgia who wanted it to have a good home.
Robert Frary P&S Admission Ticket: 19th century American medical students did not pay an annual tuition but rather paid by the class. As a token of their payment they received an engraved “admission ticket” signed by the professor which gave them entrance to the class. Archives & Special Collections recently purchased from a rare book dealer the 1818/19 admission ticket of Robert Frary for David Hosack’s obstetrics class at the College of Physicians & Surgeons. Though Archives & Special Collections already owns a number of admission tickets, we bought this one because it complements a collection of Frary’s medical practice ledgers and account books purchased in 2011.