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C. Everett Koop Papers 1933-2011
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All Series Level Scope and Content Notes

Correspondence, speeches, photographs, videos, writings, scrapbooks and other memorabilia document C. Everett Koop's tenure as U.S. Surgeon General and later at Dartmouth University's Koop Institute and the many public health issues with which he was concerned. Koop's earlier career as a pediatric surgeon is also documented, albeit on a smaller scale.

The bulk of the material is organized as Series 2: Sequential Files and Series 3: Subject Files. Both series were created and maintained by the SG administrative staff and represent a kind of "in-box" for all varieties of information that came into the office each month. The Subject Files series contains the portion of these office files concerning topics Koop felt were major focuses of his and held strong personal import. Upon leaving office he took these sequential files with him. Here the researcher will find Koop's files on the Baby Doe and Katie Beckett controversies, Koop's early work with adolescent health from his career as a pediatric surgeon during the 1950s-1970s, and some post-SG material related to tobacco and smoking.

The earlier portion of Sequential Files series mainly consists of routine and administrative intra-office and HHS material on topics that held minimal interest to Koop, such as organizational policy and the day-to-day operations of the SG Office and the Commissioned Officers Corps. Both sets of these files contain clippings, background information, reports and speeches reflect the major issues Koop confronted such as AIDS, child health care, smoking, pornography and illicit drugs. AIDS-related materials are primarily found in the post-1987 portion of the series. Child health topics dominate the 1981-1984 portions of the series, while pornography and smoking topics occupy most of the 1984-1987 years.

Speeches can be found in Series 6, the second largest series of the collection, which contain new introductions and reminiscences authored by Koop after the collection was donated. The Correspondence series forms another significant portion the collection and contains official correspondence, fan mail and hate mail. The Scrapbooks and Memorabilia series consists mainly of photographs, but also includes clippings, notes, and awards. For additional photographs, researchers should consult Series 8: Photographs. The Audiovisual and Digital Materials series contains CD-ROMs of political cartoons, along with videotapes and audiocassettes of interviews and other programs. Series 10: Published Works contains books, journal articles, unpublished works, and reports by or about the former Surgeon General.


This series is divided into two sub-series: Biographical and Office of the Surgeon General. The first sub-series contains an autobiographical account written by Koop and several oral history interview transcripts, as well as curriculum vitae and genealogical notes. The Office of the Surgeon General sub-series includes activity reports and monthly appointment calendars kept by Koop as Surgeon General. This series is arranged alphabetically by folder title and chronologically therein.


The Sequential Files series is the largest and most comprehensive in the collection and chronicles Koop's activities as Surgeon General on a month-by-month basis. It is not known whether Koop or his secretary maintained these files, which include records of his lengthy confirmation hearings, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps files, Surgeon General's reports, and files related to most health issues and events throughout the 1980s. Of particular note in this series is Understanding AIDS: A Message from the Surgeon General, an eight-page mailer sent to every American residence in May 1988 and one of Koop's most well known reports. Types of documents in this series, which include correspondence, speeches, invitations, news clippings, and photographs, can be found throughout the collection. The series is arranged chronologically by month and alphabetically by title therein.


The Subject Files Series contains documentation of the major areas of work for which Koop is best known. These topics are represented by the following five sub-series: Adolescent Health, Adult Health, AIDS, Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs, and Reproduction. The Adolescent Health sub-series includes technical medical writings documenting Koop's pioneering contributions in the field of pediatrics as well as materials on major mid-1980s events concerning handicapped infants Baby Doe, Baby Jane Doe, and Katie Beckett. The Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drugs sub-series features documents related to Koop's well known campaign against tobacco, including many files on the early efforts to create tobacco legislation. The materials in each sub-series are arranged alphabetically.


The correspondence in this series primarily dates from Koop's tenure as Surgeon General, although there are a few folders covering subsequent years. The series is divided into the following sub-series: Chronological, Fan Mail, and Hate Mail. Koop and his staff analyzed every health related letter that came to the Surgeon General's office as well as those addressed to President Reagan. Koop's communications with these constituents reflects a personal concern and compassion that gave him a reputation for being America's family doctor. He was not without critics, as is represented in the Hate Mail sub-series. Koop or his office staff would pencil the word Nut over much of his hate mail, reflecting his no nonsense and sometimes humorous approach to letters of that sort. The correspondence in each sub-series is arranged chronologically by month.


This series contains invitations requesting Koop to speak at various events, many of which he declined. The bulk of material covers the years 1985 to 1989. The following sub-series comprise this series: Speaking Invitation Logs, Invitations Accepted, and Invitations Declined; each is arranged chronologically by month.


This extensive series contains over 1,200 speeches, arranged chronologically but artificially grouped into the general categories of his professional career. They include lectures, keynote addresses, and official televised statements. The bulk of the speeches occurred after his tenure as Surgeon General. Throughout his career Koop addressed press conferences, college and university commencements, banquets, conferences, senate hearings, and various interest groups.

Moreover, in 2003-2004 Koop added introductions and contextual prefaces to many of these speeches. Koop would give variations of a basic topical speech, augmented by particular situational contexts depending on the audience at hand. These new prefaces contain Koop's thoughts about the event at the time, his purpose for attending, the after-speech public opinion, and his afterthoughts about the importance or impact of the speech or event. Many are available electronically via Profiles in Science.


These scrapbooks visually document Koop's career as Surgeon General as well as his previous work at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. His post-Surgeon General years are represented by a few items covering speeches, special events, awards, and trips. The scrapbooks cover topics like the AIDS report and medical successes such as the separation of conjoined twins through photographs, correspondence, news clippings, and a few magazine articles. Many of the photographs feature Koop with friends and attendees at official functions. Several of these scrapbooks apparently were constructed by Koop's wife Betty and are titled EFK. This series is arranged alphabetically by scrapbook title.


This small series consists of copies of original photographs, many of which were returned to the donor after duplication. Items marked with an * indicate the item is a copy of an original that was returned to Dr. Koop. Several of these can be viewed at the Profiles in Science website. The images are divided into two sub-series, Personal and Professional, and are arranged chronologically within each sub-series.


Items are VHS tapes unless otherwise noted. This series contains mostly VHS recordings of appearances by Koop on television programs and news casts. Additionally there are a few audio cassette recordings of television shows, interviews, and speeches, and one DVD on Parkinson's disease from 2005. There are also five CD-ROMS, as well as their printed contents, containing political cartoon images that appeared in periodicals and newspapers, especially early in Koop's tenure as Surgeon General. This series is arranged alphabetically by topic and chronologically therein.


This series includes both published and unpublished works arranged into four sub-series: The Surgeon General's Reports and Workshops, C. Everett Koop as Author, C. Everett Koop as Contributor, and Works by Others. The bulk of this series is comprised of hard bound books authored or contributed to by Koop; many medical papers he wrote as a pediatrician can be found in Series III: Subject Files. The materials are arranged chronologically within each sub-series.


Primarily files containing invitations, logistical travel information, and honoraria arrangements. Occassionally there will be meeting agendas or programs included. Files can often be connected with speeches found in Series 10 - this arrangement reflects Koop's original filing system.