Medical World News Photograph Collection

Institutional Collection No. 077

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Collection Overview

Repository: John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center, Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library
Creator: Medical World News
Title: Medical World News Photograph Collection
Dates: 1935-1988
Bulk Dates: 1957-1985
Quantity: 218 cubic feet (432 boxes)
Abstract: The Medical World News Photograph Collection (IC 077) is one of the largest and most interesting in the Texas Medical Center Library, McGovern Historical Center. Comprised of an estimated 500,000 photographic prints, negatives, and transparencies, it offers an expansive visual tour of medical advances from 1960-1988. Through biographical files, subject files, article files, raw negative footage, and color transparencies, this collection documents the production of a premiere medical news magazine, and it contains most of the images published in the magazine from 1967-1985. The collection also contains cover story files from 1978-1979 that consist of article drafts, interview transcripts, and other materials related to specific cover stories. Medical World News was an image-rich weekly publication that focused on medical developments, issues, and personalities. It was published for 35 years from 1960 to 1994. The collection is 218 cubic feet and equals 424 document boxes and 8 oversize boxes. The materials are in good condition and open for research.
Identification: IC 077
Language: English

Historical Note

Medical World News (MWN) was a weekly publication that focused on medical developments, issues, and personalities. It was published for 35 years from 1960 to 1994. Self-described as “The Newsmagazine of Medicine,” Medical World News was the only news magazine devoted solely to medicine during its years of publication.

With Maxwell M. Geffen as the publisher, the first issue of Medical World News hit the newsstand on April 22, 1960. It began as a biweekly publication, but quickly increased its frequency to every week. From the beginning Medical World News aspired to be more than just another medical journal. As Geffen describes in his first Letter from the Publisher, “Medical World News proposes to offer a new, unique and clear channel of communication between the profession and the world around it, and to set new standards of accuracy and disclosure, covering every phase of medical journalism.” (MWN, 1960, 04/22, p.11) It was a unique and independent publication with the freedom to report all aspects on controversial issues in medicine. Its target audience was the physician, and the image-rich content was “designed to facilitate communications and easy reading.” (MWN, 1960, 04/22, p.11) Within the first 2 months, Medical World News covered “the Kefauver investigation, the rapid developments surrounding medical care for the aged, the debate of the ‘polio greats,’ the use of oral contraceptives and the exciting conversation of tumorous cells into normal cells by a Rockefeller Institute scientist.” (MWN, 1960, 06/03, p.9)

Morris Fishbein, previously editor of Journal of the American Medical Association, was the first editor for the Medical World News. He shaped the tone and concepts of the publication, emphasizing photography to differentiate Medical World News from other medical journals. He had a photo staff of six people, including Rick Giacalone as art director and Don Monaco and Martha Roberts as photo editors. The work of the staff and amount of images created, reviewed, and used for each story was a massive undertaking. Geffen describes, “[the picture staff] handles about 30,000 pictures every year. For a single story, they may scrutinize as many as 150 color slides or a dozen rolls of 36-frame black-and-white film–from which they will choose only four or five of the best for publication.” (MWN, 1967, 03/31, p.21) To capture all the footage, Medical World News hired freelance photographers for assignments all over the world. Many were members of the American Society of Magazine Photographers. Notable photographers who contributed to issues are George Tames, Art Shay, Joe Baker, James Pickerell, Ivan Massar, Jerry Miller, Al Geise, Mike Shea, Dennis Galloway, and Bob Phillips. Some photographers were associated with photo agencies, like Black Star and Magnum Photos.

Ownership of the Medical World News changed throughout its 35-year history. The following is a list of publishing companies, their locations, and years of ownership:

Medical World News Publishing Company, New York, NY, 1960-1967
McGraw-Hill Publications, New York, NY, 1967-1981
Hospital Equities International (HEI) Publishing Company, Houston, TX, 1981-1985
Miller Freeman Inc., San Francisco, CA, 1985-1992
Axel Springer Publications, New York, NY, 1992-1994

By the 1990s Medical World News had become a monthly magazine. Nicholas K. Zittel was the last editor, and he wrote in his final Editor’s Note, “Over the years, MWN has fought valiantly to fulfill [its] promise. The ‘war on cancer,’ the artificial heart, Medicare, advances in neonatology, the halcyon days of drug discovery, political battles in Congress. With its comprehensive coverage of these and other critical issues MWN has fought tirelessly for and on behalf of the primary-care physician.” (MWN, February 1994, p.2) The last issue of the Medical World News was published in February 1994.

SOURCES: Medical World News, 1960, 1967, 1994; IC 077 Medical World News Photograph Collection

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Scope and Contents Note

The Medical World News Photograph Collection (IC 077) predominantly consists of photographic prints, negatives, and transparencies that document the production of a premiere medical news magazine. The collection contains most of the images published in the magazine from 1967-1985. In addition, there are many more unpublished 35mm negative footage dating back to 1963. Through biographical files, subject files, article files, raw negative footage, and color transparencies, the collection offers an expansive visual tour of medical advances from 1960-1988. There are images from 8,198 articles. The biographical files and subjects files have reproduced photographs that pre-date the publication with content as early as 1904. These images were mostly provided by other agencies to illustrate an article or medical news item. Images dated before 1960 are assumed to be reproductions. Color 35mm slides and larger format transparencies were used to illustrate cover stories and other features. The collection also includes article drafts, interview transcripts, and other source material for at least twelve of the magazine’s cover stories from 1978-1979.

The collection is estimated to have roughly 500,000 images, and it is comprised of 22,003 folders within 424 document boxes and 8 oversize boxes, equaling 218 cubic feet. Materials are in good condition.

To complement the collection, the archive maintains a complete set of Medical World News from 1960-1994.

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Access Restrictions

Unrestricted. Material is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish from this material must be facilitated through the repository, Texas Medical Center Library, McGovern Historical Center. Copyright restirictions may apply.

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IC 098 TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection; IC 043 Texas Heart Institute Film Collection

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Index Terms

 

Subjects (Organizations)

 
Medical World News

Subjects

Medicine
Medicine — Periodicals

Document Types

Black-and-white negatives
Color slides
Color transparencies
Paper
Photographs

Occupation

Medical research personnel
Physicians
Publishers and publishing
Scientists

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Preferred Citation

Medical World News Photograph Collection; IC 077; John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center, Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library.

Please cite the box and folder numbers where appropriate.

Acquisition Information

The McGovern Historical Center received the Medical World News Photograph Collection from HEI Publishing, which published the magazine in Houston for a few years. The photograph archive was originally donated to the archive in 1985. After the publication was sold to Miller Freeman, Inc. in San Francisco, CA, the archive had an agreement to archive materials with the new publishing company for a time. During this time 19 boxes were added to the collection.

Processing Information

The collection is separated into four general series according to type of materials: Prints, Negatives, Slides and Transparencies, and Cover Stories. The Prints series consists of biographical files, subject files, article files, and oversize. Biographical and subject files are each arranged in alphabetical order according to subject. Article and oversize files are arranged according to article number (an identification number given to each article by the publisher), which is generally in chronological order and correspond to publication dates of each magazine issue. The Negatives series consists of the raw photographic footage and copy negatives produced by staff and freelance photographers for each Medical World News story. Negatives are arranged by negative number (an identification number given to each story assignment by the publisher or graphics vendor), which is in chronological order. Slides and Transparencies consists of 35mm slides as well as medium and large format transparencies that were created for Medical World News feature stories. The materials were housed in the original slide boxes. The slide boxes were grouped and assigned subjects based on descriptions provided on the original boxes. Materials are ordered alphabetically according to subject, in most cases subjects are a person’s surname. Cover story titles and issues were identified and ordered in chronological order. Materials were grouped by story title with some story materials separated across multiple folders. Folders are labeled with the story title, issue, and part of total folders.

Additions

No accruals are expected for this collection.

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Detailed Description of Collection

View complete inventory on Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO)

Series I: Photographic Prints, 1935-1988 (bulk: 1957-1985)

This series consists of biographical files, subject files, article files, and oversize that document developments, events, issues, news, and personalities in medicine from 1955-1988. Many of the images were used in issues of the Medical World News. There are reproduced photographs in the biographical files and subjects files that pre-date the publication with content as early as 1904. These images were mostly provided by other agencies to illustrate an article or medical news item. Images dated before 1960 are assumed to be reproductions. Biographical files are organized in alphabetical order by name. Subject files are organized in alphabetical order by subject term. Article files are organized in numerical order by the article number assigned by the publisher, which is generally chronological order. Oversize materials are organized by article number with unnumbered items at the end. The inventory provides subject or article title, photographer (if available), year or issue date. The series totals 255 boxes and 8 oversized boxes and equals 133.5 cubic feet.

  • Subseries 1: Biographical Files, 1935-1985 (bulk: 1957-1969)
  • Subseries 2: Subject Files, 1955-1988 (bulk: 1960-1967)
  • Subseries 3: Article Files, 1961-1988 (bulk: 1967-1985)
  • Subseries 4: Oversize, 1962-1982 (bulk: 1967-1972)
  • Subseries 4: Oversize, 1962-1982 (bulk: 1967-1972)

Series II: Photographic Negatives, 1960-1983 (bulk: 1965-1974)

This series consists of the raw photographic footage and copy negatives produced by staff and freelance photographers for Medical World News articles. Materials include black & white 35mm negatives, 4×5 format negatives, and 120/220 format negatives. There are 8,309 folders of negatives organized by negative identification number assigned by the publisher, which is generally in chronological order. The inventory reflects the information provided on the original envelope, containing negative identification number, subject, photographer, editor or writer, film formats and quantity of each format (in box brackets), and date of footage. This series totals 155 boxes and equals 77.5 cubic feet.

Series III: Slides and Transparencies, 1962-1982

This series consists of color 35mm slides as well as medium and large format transparencies that were created for feature and cover stories of the Medical World News. There are 165 folders of transparencies organized alphabetically by subject. The inventory reflects the information provided on the original box of materials, including subject, credited photographer (and agency if applicable), formats – quantity (in box brackets), possible issue date (if available), and year. The series totals 10 boxes and equals 5 cubic feet.

Series IV: Cover Stories, 1978-1979

This series contains article drafts, source materials, interview transcripts, interoffice memos, visuals, and other materials related to specific cover stories in Medical World News. The inventory provides article title (in quotations), author, part number of total folders (in parenthesis), types of materials in folder, and issue date. This series has materials related to 12 cover stories between 1978-1979 and totals 4 boxes, equaling 2 cubic feet.

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