Name and location of repository
Level of description
Texas Medical Center Historical Resources Project records
- 1973-1991 (Creation)
- 1973-1978 (Creation)
7.75 cubic feet (8 boxes)
Name of creator
In the early 1970s, leaders within the Texas Medical Center recognized the importance of documenting the stories behind its formative years. In response, Dr. William Seybold, TMC President Richard Eastwood, historian Don Macon and others set in motion the Texas Medical Center Historical Resources Project. With the support of the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center—including use of its recording 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 would be available for research. Later, most of the master tapes (3/4” U-matics), 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 forty-seven unique recordings. Including duplicates, there are nearly one hundred tapes.
Content and structure elements
Scope and content
The Texas Medical Center (TMC) Historical Resources Project records contain video oral histories of notable personalities associated with or visiting the TMC. Beginning in 1973, the initial group of interviews focuses on individuals involved in the founding or early days of the TMC. Later “video profiles” also include significant visitors to the TMC. Several of these feature national and international figures in cancer research on their visits to Houston. In total the collection features forty-seven unique recordings of interviews with thirty-eight different individuals. All forty-seven unique recordings have been digitized.
Don Macon, Director of the TMC Historical Resources Project, serves as interviewer in all but one of the recordings. The interviews are all staged as one-on-one conversations, with the exception of Macon's interview of Isaac Berenblum and Philippe Shubik. A typical interview begins with some biographical information about the interviewee, followed by accounts of their careers and, where appropriate, their involvement with the Texas Medical Center. Recordings each tend to be approximately 30-60 minutes long; the shortest interview is about 18 minutes, with the longest (Dr. Frederick Elliott's) being 2 hours and 18 minutes.
The bulk of the interviews took place from 1973-1978. There are also interviews from 1982, 1988, and 1991. Most if not all of the interviews were recorded in the studio at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Most are attributed to MDA-TV, Department of Medical Communications. Some later interviews are attributed to UT-TV.
While there are forty-seven unique recordings, the collection includes many duplications and totals nearly one hundred tapes. The videotapes are primarily 3/4" U-Matic, though there are also some VHS tapes. There are many original master recordings, as well as duplications on a variety of media--including a dozen interviews transferred to DVDs. Most interviews correspond to a single tape, but some speakers continue on to a second tape, typically labeled "part 2." Dr. Elliott's interview spans five tapes.
The level of detail in the descriptions varies across recordings. The collection includes contemporary typed transcripts for the first ten interviews from 1973. The MHC has created computer-generated transcripts for a handful of other interviews. Thirteen interviews have detailed descriptions with timecodes and summaries of content being discussed. The remaining interviews have paragraph-length descriptions transcribed from the original tapes or their cases.
System of arrangement
The videotapes were arranged and inventoried in alphabetical order by last name of the interviewee.
Conditions of access and use elements
Conditions governing access
The collection is open for research. Digital copies have been made available by the Texas Medical Center Library.
In October 2010 and again in August 2022, MHC staff confirmed that there are no known signed releases by the interviewees. However, documents in the Control Folder make clear that copies of the video interviews had been provided to the TMC Library to facilitate access.
Materials are in relatively good condition. Some tape degradation has been found.
All interviews have been digitized. Original U-Matic tapes cannot be played due to lack of equipment. It may be possible to play VHS tapes, but use of digital surrogates is preferred.
Conditions governing reproduction
Copyright restrictions may apply. Permission to publish from this material must be facilitated through the repository, McGovern Historical Center.
Languages of the material
Scripts of the material
Language and script notes
Generated finding aid
Acquisition and appraisal elements
The videos were created in the television studio at M. D. Anderson. Documentation now included in the IC 084 Control Folder suggests that M. D. Anderson retained the master tapes, and that copies were presented to the TMC Library so they would be available for research. While the timing and exact source of the transfer of the master tapes is unknown, it appears that most of these (3/4” U-matics) also eventually made their way to the McGovern Historical Center for preservation.
Immediate source of acquisition
Beginning in at the TMC Historical Project Luncheon on December 14, 1973, some tapes were provided directly to the TMC Library by the Texas Medical Center Historical Resources Project. Many videos in the MHC collection have markings indicating they were indeed part of the Library's collection.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information
No accruals are expected for this collection.
Related materials elements
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
All interviews have been digitized. They are available online, as well as on the MHC's Digital Collections Drive.
Related archival materials
- Citation: Texas Medical Center Historical Resources Project records; IC 084; McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library. Please cite the box and folder numbers where appropriate.
- Processing information: In August 2022, the inventory was updated and the DVD interviews were posted online. In October 2022, the collection front matter was revised based on documents located in MS 004, MS 070, and IC 002 (which were then copied and filed in the Control Folder). -Matt Richardson
- Processing information: In 2022 the South Central Academic Medical Libraries Consortium (SCAMeL) Speedy Startup funds facilitated the digitization of the 29 remaining videotapes from this collection. These were described and posted online in January-February 2023. Other minor revisions were made to the finding aid. -Matt Richardson
Description control element
Rules or conventions
Documents regarding the Historical Resources Project found in MS 004, MS 070, and IC 002 have been scanned and are available in the MHC Control Folders.
Inventory prepared by Sandra Yates, 2019.
Updated by Matt Richardson, August 2022 - February 2023.
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
- Macon, N. Don (Subject)
- Texas Medical Center (Subject)
- MDA-TV (Television station : Houston, Tex.) (Subject)
- University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (Subject)
- M.D. Anderson Foundation (Houston, Tex.) (Subject)
- University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston (Subject)
- Methodist Hospital (Houston, Tex.) (Subject)
- Baylor College of Medicine (Subject)
- Bertner, Ernst William (Subject)
- International Union Against Cancer (Subject)
- Clark, Randolph Lee, 1906- (Subject)