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Leonidas H. Berry Papers 1907-1982
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Collection Scope and Content Note

Dr. Berry's papers, which he gave to the National Library of Medicine in 1986, center on Dr. Berry's active professional and civic life. While the earliest copies of family material date from the 1890s, the bulk of the collection dates from the 1950s. Included are correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, publications, and lectures. Especially well documented are Dr. Berry's professional and community activities. Material on his work with drug abusers is found in the records of his tenure as president of the Cook County Physicians Association, at which time he developed and instituted the "Berry Plan" for the treatment of narcotics users. Berry's concern for the health needs of minorities is reflected in the records relating to the Chicago Commission on Human Rights, the Medical Forum Group, and in the folders on the African Methodist Episcopal Church, whose Health Commission Berry headed. In the latter capacity he helped organized the "Flying Medics," a group of black physician who went to Cairo, Illinois in 1970 to address that community's medical needs. In 1965-66 Berry served as the president of the National Medical Association. His files from his presidency are found throughout the collection. They address the wide range of issues of interest to African American physicians at a time when civil rights were of mounting national concern. Of particular interest are the records relating to the integration of minority physicians into mainstream medical organizations and institutions, an event also documented in the records of the Medical Committee for Human Rights.

Rounding out the collection are records relating to Dr. Berry's involvement with professional gastroenterological groups, correspondence and reviews about his publications, and material used in the preparation of his autobiography. Except for a collection of typescripts, there is little material on Dr. Berry's research or his patients. Dr. Berry did make many films demonstrating the use of the Berry endoscope; many of these are found in HMD's historical audiovisual collection. Berry's instruments are housed in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.

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