Name and location of repository
Level of description
Jan De Hartog's "Compassion and the Art of Medicine"
- 1993 (Creation)
0.0625 cubic feet (1 folder)
Name of creator
Jan de Hartog was born April 22, 1914 in Haarlem, Netherlands. He ran away as a young teenager and took jobs on fishing boats, as a coal shoveler, and as a tour boat captain. He wrote in his spare time, published a series of mystery novels, and started a career in theater in the late 1930s.
In May 1940, ten days before Germany invaded, de Hartog published Holland’s Glory, a novel about ocean-going tugboat captains. The book was not political but because of the title and thoroughly-Dutch subject it became a bestseller and drew the attention of the Gestapo. De Hartog had already joined the Dutch resistance movement and had to flee to England, where he continued resistance work alongside like-minded British. He eventually became a pacifist and joined the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). His years in England introduced his work to English-language audiences and he produced several successful books and plays.
De Hartog moved to the United States in the late 1950s and married his third wife, Marjorie Hein. In the early 1960s, the de Hartogs and others became aware of the poor conditions at Jefferson Davis Hospital and the ongoing dispute over whether the city or county was responsible for its funding. The expose The Hospital spurred the formation of the Harris County Hospital District (now Harris Health System).
De Hartog died September 22, 2002, in Houston. He and Marjorie were long-time members of Houston’ Live Oak Friends Meeting. This VHS was donated by the Drexler family, who were also members of LOFM; their daughter Alethea was an assistant at the John P. McGovern Historical Collections at the Texas Medical Center Library.
Content and structure elements
Scope and content
“The Mystery of Compassion” is #4 of a series of six autobiographical lectures entitled “Compassion and the Art of Medicine” given between 1991 and 1995 by Dutch author and longtime Houston resident Jan de Hartog. Mr. de Hartog and his wife, Marjorie, were involved in the expose of the poor conditions at Jefferson Davis Hospital in the early 1960’s, that led to the creation of the Harris County Hospital District. Mr. de Hartog’s professional papers are housed at the University of Houston M.D. Anderson Library Special Collections, ID 1967-002. A single VHS tape produced in 1993 by Baylor College of Medicine Media Productions. It measures 1.5 x 4.75 x 8 inches, has a black-and-white label, and is in good condition.
Subjects: Jefferson Davis Hospital
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use elements
Conditions governing access
No access restrictions. Open for research.
Materials are in good condition.
Need VHS deck. Recommend digitization access.
Conditions governing reproduction
Copyright restrictions may apply.
Languages of the material
Scripts of the material
Language and script notes
Acquisition and appraisal elements
Immediate source of acquisition
Donated by Bette C. Salmon Drexler, Spring, Texas. Mrs. Drexler attended Live Oak Friends Meeting and was a friend of the de Hartogs.
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
Jan de Hartog’s professional papers are housed at the University of Houston M.D. Anderson Library Special Collections, ID 1967-002. (https://findingaids.lib.uh.edu/repositories/2/resources/124). According to the finding aid, "'The Hospital' sub-series contains notes, outlines, drafts, and galley proofs of the work. Additional documents relating to the response to 'The Hospital' and to Jan and Marjorie de Hartog's work at Jefferson Davis Hospital is included in 'The Hospital' Materials series."
- Citation: Jan De Hartog's "Compassion and the Art of Medicine"; MS 168; 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.
- Processing information: Stored in one folder in the Small MS Collection (SMS) box.
Description control element
Rules or conventions
Processed in 2013.