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Donald J. Fernbach, MD papers

[Dr. Donald J. Fernbach (right) and another man sitting at his desk, undated. IC042-b80-f20, IC 042 Texas Children's Hospital Historical Archive, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library]

Newly processed! The papers of Donald J. Fernbach, MD, have been processed and a finding aid is available at

Donald J. Fernbach joined the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine in 1957 and helped found the Research Hematology-Oncology Service (now the Cancer and Hematology Center) at Texas Children’s Hospital in 1958. His contributions include coordinating studies on acute leukemia in children, coauthoring the first textbook on clinical pediatric oncology, leading the effort to screen for sickle cell disease in newborns, and performing the first bone marrow transplant between identical twins to treat aplastic anemia.

A significant portion of Dr. Fernbach’s papers at the McGovern Historical Center document the work of the Southwest Cancer Chemotherapy Study Group, whose members collaborated to conduct clinical trials. That group’s records date back as far as 1956, and Dr. Fernbach’s papers include similar records from its successors the Southwest Oncology Group and Pediatric Oncology Group. Decades of developments in cancer treatments are documented through the groups’ research, correspondence, grant applications, meeting minutes, agendas, and reports.

Dr. Fernbach’s papers also provide insight into the operations of Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital over his long career. In particular, there are extensive files relating to his work on various committees within both institutions. Other materials relate to the Hematology-Oncology Service/Section and the Research Hematology Laboratory.

The collection also documents his involvement in other organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House in Houston, the American Cancer Society, and the University of Texas. A few files highlight Dr. Fernbach’s anti-smoking advocacy within the Texas Medical Center and Houston.

In addition, the MHC has several collections related to the TMC institutions where Dr. Fernbach served:

IC 006 Baylor College of Medicine records

IC 042 Texas Children’s Hospital Historical Archives

IC 073 Ronald McDonald House, Houston records