by Matt Richardson, Archivist and Special Collections Librarian
October is Archives Month! The TMC Library is celebrating with a special opportunity to support the McGovern Historical Center. Help us secure the history of the Texas Medical Center. https://library.tmc.edu/mcgovern/2022/09/28/give-2-history-secure-the-past/
In the early 1970s, TMC leaders such as Frederick Elliott, William Seybold, and Grant Taylor recognized the importance of documenting the stories behind the formative years of the Texas Medical Center. In response, the Executive Committee of the Board of the Texas Medical Center, Inc., led by TMC President Richard Eastwood, approved the Texas Medical Center Historical Resources Project. Don Macon served as Project Director, and Diane Romero was Research Associate. With the support of R. Lee Clark and the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center—including use of its television studio—Macon and others began creating a series of video interviews featuring early leaders and other influential figures in the TMC.
Over the years, the project’s focus expanded to “video profiles” that also included significant visitors to the TMC. Given M. D. Anderson’s involvement, it’s no surprise that several of these feature national and international figures in cancer research on their visits to Houston.
From the beginning, copies of the interviews were presented to the TMC Library so they’d be available for research. Later, most of the master tapes (3/4” U-matics, if you were curious), also made their way to the McGovern Historical Center for preservation. The collection of interviews now archived at the MHC includes conversations with thirty-eight different interviewees spread across nearly one hundred tapes (Frederick Elliott set the record, with his interviews spanning five tapes and more than two hours).
Twelve of these interviews had been transferred to DVDs, and we’re now sharing them online for the first time. You can listen to personal histories and stories of the TMC’s early days from Leland Anderson, Hines Baker, William Bates, Frederick Elliot, R. Lee Clark, Jared Clarke, Ella Fondren, John Freeman, Earl Hankamer, William Kirkland, Chauncey Leake, Julia Williams Bertner Naylor.
The discerning scroller might notice that videos aren’t the only files available. Thanks to some enterprising technological forays by one of our archives interns, we’ve now got computer-generated transcriptions for several these. Thanks to Microsoft Word for the assist, and apologies to our human readers for the as-yet-uncorrected nature of these transcripts.
But that’s not all! Thanks to funds from the South Central Academic Medical Libraries Consortium (SCAMeL), the MHC has recently had the rest of these interviews digitized. We’ve got some behind-the-scenes work to do (please, ask us about metadata!), but stay tuned for an announcement in the coming months when interviews with the remaining twenty-six personalities go online.
For now enjoy a look at a few of the folks who sat down with Mr. Macon in 1973.