by Matt Richardson, Archivist and Special Collections Librarian.
There’s a new exhibit from the archives of the McGovern Historical Center on display in the main TMC Library. The exhibit, located on the Jones Library Street Level, features cartoons drawn by Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission researcher Akio AWA, Sc.D.
AWA joined the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) in Hiroshima, Japan in 1967. Working in the Department of Clinical Laboratories, he was assistant to the Chief and Head of the Chromosome Section.
AWA would doodle in staff meetings and leave his cartoons on the table afterwards. Sometimes other researchers like Arthur D. Bloom, M.D. contributed cartoons, too. Chief of Clinical Laboratories Howard Hamilton, M.D. collected them. Hamilton’s papers (MS 066)—including the AWA cartoons—are part of the extensive ABCC archives at the TMC Library’s McGovern Historical Center.
AWA’s cartoons capture some of the flavor of life as a researcher with the ABCC, and often satirize work there. His boss Howard Hamilton—recognizable by his bowtie—is a frequent subject.
While the cartoons often show characters at work, their minds are sometimes elsewhere. This seems appropriate, since the cartoons were typically drawn in staff meetings. Many of AWA’s cartoons show favorite pastimes and hint at the personalities of his colleagues (at least as he chose to depict them).
To see the exhibit, venture downstairs to the Street Level classrooms. As a bonus, check out the more than 100 original cartoons digitized and are available online. Or to see the original cartoons in person, plan a visit to the Research Center.