Archives and Rare Books

Thomas Jefferson’s Lenses

The Becker Archives holds a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson. This handwritten letter concerning Jefferson’s spectacles was given to Dr. Eugene Opie, dean of Washington University School of Medicine, in 1915. The letter was generously donated by William K. Bixby, was a frequent benefactor and long-time supporter of Washington University. Jefferson’s letter, dated Dec.  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

Robert E. Shank Papers available online via Industry Documents Library partnership

Becker Library is pleased to announce a partnership with the University of California San Francisco’s Industry Documents Library to provide online access to the Robert E. Shank Papers. Over 100,000 pages from Becker Library Archives’ Robert E. Shank Papers were digitized for this project. The files are included as part of the Food Industry Documents  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

The ‘New’ Medical Center

In the early 20th century, a “new” medical center was created for Washington University largely due to the efforts of two men: Abraham Flexner and Robert Brookings. With funding from the Carnegie Foundation, Flexner traveled to 155 medical schools throughout the United States and Canada between 1908 and 1910. His goal was to assess each institution  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

Bernie’s ‘other’ library

Washington University’s medical library is named after Bernard Becker, MD (1920-2013), who served as head of the university’s Department of Ophthalmology from 1953 to 1988.  During his remarkable 35-year tenure as department chair, Becker established one of the most outstanding academic ophthalmology departments and residency programs in the country and became a world-renowned expert on  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

Russian refugee doctor becomes WashU cancer researcher

This story is summarized from Valentina Suntzeff’s unpublished autobiography, which can be found in the Valentina Suntzeff Papers in the Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives. Early Life Valentina Davidovna was born in Kazan, Russia on February 28, 1891. Her father was a physician, and he encouraged Valentina to pursue medicine at a young age. When she entered  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

Applying to Washington University School of Medicine in 1891

Applying to medical school today is widely known to be an intensive and rigorous process. In 1891, the year Washington University first offered medical education, an applicant to the university’s medical school only needed to satisfy any one of the four admission requirements listed below: A college degree A high school diploma A certificate denoting  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

The Great American Smokeout

Every year on the third Thursday of November, the American Cancer Society encourages all smokers to avoid using cigarettes for 24 hours for the Great American Smokeout event. The hope is that by refraining from smoking for one single day, and instead learning more about the many health benefits of quitting for good, smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk.

Announcements

Oct. 4 is #AskAnArchivist Day

On Wednesday, Oct. 4, Becker Library will participate in Ask an Archivist Day, an event that highlights the importance of archives as unique sources of information and emphasizes the value they bring to the community. On Oct. 4, archivists around the country will take to Twitter to respond to questions tweeted with the hashtag #AskAnArchivist. We invite  [Read more]

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