- Corporate body
The origins of the library date back to 1915, when the Houston Academy of Medicine (HAM) established a small library in downtown Houston to serve the Harris County Medical Society. This Library was combined with the Baylor College of Medicine’s (BCM’s) small library in 1949 to form a centralized collection. As more institutions joined the Texas Medical Center, they also shared the resources of the TMC Library, thereby creating a unique point of collaboration among the institutions of the TMC.
A permanent home for this new library was built in the early 1950’s, through the efforts of HAM and BCM. Jesse H. Jones contributed funding for the construction, and in 1954, the approximately 27,000 square foot, three-story “Jesse H. Jones Library Building” was dedicated. By 1975, a new addition to the building had added another 76,000 square feet for the Library’s growing collection. At this time, the Library officially became known as the Houston Academy of Medicine – Texas Medical Center Library. Today the library uses the shorter operating name of The TMC Library.
The McGovern Historical Center (MHC) is the rare book and archive department for the library. The earliest acquisition records for the books in the MHC are found in the Houston Academy of Medicine’s (HAM) Library Committee reports for 1935 and 1936. Thirty Fellows of the Academy raised $300 to purchase a collection of 275 French medical books published between 1730 and 1830. In 1949, HAM and Baylor College of Medicine combined their medical libraries. In anticipation of the completion of the Jesse H. Jones Building for the library, the MD Anderson Foundation purchased the rheumatology collection of a New York physician, Dr. Reginald Burbank. This purchase was followed by a gift from the Cora and Webb Mading Foundation of more than 1,000 titles on sanitation and communicable diseases. After the 1954 dedication of the library building, many physicians donated books or historical pamphlets to be stored in a very small, locked room on the second floor. Soon after his arrival in Houston, Dr. McGovern became one of the Library’s most staunch supporters, annually supplying funds for the purchase of rare books and travel support for the librarians to attend meetings of the American Association for the History of Medicine. In 1977, The Library formed a new department with new quarters to collect historical materials and to enhance the rare book collections. In 1982, Dr. McGovern donated his personal collection of rare and historical book to the Library. In 1996 the Library’s Board of Directors named the historical department in his honor.