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Michael E. DeBakey Archives 1903-2010
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Collection Scope and Content Note


Correspondence, administrative records, diaries, transcripts, publications, speeches, conference and awards material, subject files, photographs, memorabilia and artifacts, and audiovisual media document Michael DeBakey's personal life and professional career as a cardiovascular surgeon and administrator. Languages include French, German, and Arabic. The collection consists of materials gathered only from DeBakey's home and does not include his professional office contents.

DeBakey spent most of his medical career working as an administrator and instructor at Baylor College of Medicine (formerly Baylor University College of Medicine) in Houston, Texas. Much of his experimental surgical research and clinical work was performed at Methodist Hospital, a local hospital affiliated with the college. Researchers interested in DeBakey's professional career at these institutions should consult Series 3: Baylor College of Medicine. Correspondence, memoranda, board meeting minutes, financial records, historical overviews, hospital affiliation agreements, patient records, reports, and staffing records document DeBakey's administrative activities along with some of his surgical and research work. Of particular note are the folders exploring Denton A. Cooley's unauthorized use of DeBakey's experimental mechanical heart device in a human patient; files describing some of the surgical instruments and heart devices DeBakey developed; and journals kept while DeBakey was consulted in the treatment of Russian president Boris N. Yeltsin. Limited information on some pre-Baylor medical work can be found in Series 1: Personal and Biographical. His professional activities beyond Houston -- conferences, organizational involvement, awards received -- are documented in Series 5: Professional Activities and Awards.

Over seventy years' worth of journal articles, newspaper editorials, speeches, and other published works authored or co-authored by DeBakey comprise Series 4: Writings. These works illustrate the breadth of his research interests and ongoing progress in the development of various surgical procedures, plastic prostheses, and mechanical heart devices. Additional medical topics of interest to him are explored in the non-DeBakey authored articles located in Series 6: Medical Subject Files.

Series 1: Personal and Biographical documents aspects of DeBakey's personal life through biographical narratives, personal reflections, tributes, interviews, travel documents, clippings, and poetry. Featured items in this series include twenty transcripts of oral history interviews conducted in 1972 and nine diaries kept by DeBakey during some of his overseas travels. Information on DeBakey's family, medical education, early transfusion devices, army life, and interactions with fans and medical colleagues can be found in Series 2: Correspondence.

The non-textual materials in Series 7-9 shed further light on DeBakey's personal and professional life. Series 7: Photographs and Artwork is an extensive collection of portraits, family photographs, candid images of personal and professional events, surgery snapshots, hand drawn sketches, and painting prints that visually illustrate DeBakey's life from early childhood through his nineties. Series 8: Audiovisual Materials consists of interviews, news broadcasts, promotional videos, instructional videos, television programs, and conference and speech recordings. Series 9: Artifacts and Awards contains surgical tools and devices, awards, plaques, medals, clothing, and other three-dimensional objects that DeBakey accumulated over the course of his career.

Show all series level scope and content notes