John L. Decker, MD papers

Identity elements

Reference code

MS 088

Level of description



John L. Decker, MD papers


  • 1965-1990 (Creation)
  • 1931-1992 (Creation)


40.5 cubic feet (81 boxes)

Name of creator


Biographical history

John Laws Decker was born in Brooklyn, New York on June 27, 1921. Dr. Decker received his medical degree at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University on June 1951. He held various teaching appointments including: Instructor of Medicine, Columbia University (1954-1955); Tutor in Medical Sciences, Harvard University (1957-1958); Instructor of Medicine, University of Washington (1958-1959); Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Washington (1959-1962); and Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Washington (1962-1965). In 1965 he became the chief of rheumatology at the National Institutes of Health and served for eighteen years. Between the years 1983-1990 Dr. Decker was the Director of the Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Decker conducted research and authored publications in the fields of rheumatism, genetic rheumatism, arthritis, hypertension, ulcers, osteoporosis, and was an authority systemic lupus erythematosus.

[Sources: John L. Decker, M.D. Papers. Curriculum Vitae. McGovern Historical Center: Houston, TX. Shelf 10.04 Box 25A Folder: Personal C.V. And Bibliography 5-25-1989 John Decker #88. The Washington Post. Obituaries John L. Decker. July 28, 2000. The Washington Post. Retrieved from]

See also: Dr. John L. Decker Person Record at NIH:

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The papers of John L. Decker, MD primarily document his work at the National Institute of Health (NIH) as well as his involvment in professional organizations. His travel to and participation in conferences, lectures, and professional committees make up a significant portion of the papers.

The collection includes experiments, experiment data, experimental findings, rheumatoid studies, genetic studies, patient profiles, and X-rays. Patient materials such as X-rays are restricted. There are also texts of lectures given by Decker, typed manuscripts and letters, correspondence with colleagues in the fields of rheumatology, and materials relating to developed treatments. Also included are Decker’s published works and findings, institutional publications, and reprints.

The papers mostly correspond to Decker's stint at the NIH, 1965-1990. However some date as far back as 1931 and as late as 1992.
Subjects: Rheumatology, Genetics

System of arrangement

Most of the materials are found throughout Series 1: Professional Papers. For the most part, there is no clear arrangement within the materials. Folders clearly labeled "Project 352" and numbered X-rays have each been separated out into their own distinct, small series. However, there are almost certainly other research projects and X-rays among the Professional Papers in Series 1.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

This collection is open for research. However, X-rays and other patient information are restricted.

Physical access

Materials are generally in good condition.

Technical access

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

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Finding aids


Generated finding aid

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history


Immediate source of acquisition

Deed of gift signed by John L. Decker, M.D. 12/29/1992

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

Related archival materials

Related descriptions

Notes element

Specialized notes

  • Citation: John L. Decker, MD papers; MS 088; McGovern Historical Research Center, Texas Medical Center Library. Please cite the box and folder numbers where appropriate.
  • Processing information: Discarded original box for AVA.MS088.001, A Rheumatologic Approach to Shoulder Problems Joseph D. Croft, Jr. M.D. F.A.C.P. April 1978 with Booklet. Vol 2 No. 10. Images of box in the MS 088 Control Folder.
  • Processing information: Inventory prepared by Gagina Leonard, 2014.
  • Processing information: New inventory by Gina Leonard, 2023. Reviewed and uploaded to AtoM by Matt Richardson, July 2023.

Alternative identifier(s)



Description control element

Rules or conventions

Sources used

Archivist's note

Inventory prepared by Gagina Leonard, 2014.

Archivist's note

New inventory by Gina Leonard, 2023. Reviewed and uploaded to AtoM by Matt Richardson, July 2023.

Access points

Place access points

Accession area