Welcome, 1982
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welcome american association for the history of medicine april 29 1982 we are honored that the national library of medicine was asked to be a co-host for your meeting this year i know that some of you have already visited the library and i hope those of you who haven't will be able to find the time in your busy schedules our staff have prepared an exhibit entitled the history of medical history in the united states that provides a fascinating glimpse of your profession a former director of the national institutes of health has described the national library of medicine as a jewel in the crown of nih i tell you this only because it gives me the opportunity to describe our historical collection as the jewel in crown of the library there is no part of nlm in which we take more pride unlike a jewel however our historical materials are not merely for ornament but are in daily use by scholars and students the staff of nlm have always had an appreciation for the history of the medical profession from our first doctor dr john shaw blllings who has himself become a historical figure to frank bradford rogers who will no doubt someday attain that distinction it was dr rogers who more than 20 years ago had the wisdom and foresight to recruit john blake as chief of our hlstory of medicine division

Page  2 dr blake as some of you may know is retiring from federal service at the end of this year this comes close on the heels of dr peter olche's retirement it seems that our high saleries and excellent retirement benefits encourage our historians to retire at an early age i thought this would be an opportune time to recount briefly the accomplishments of john and the fine staff he has assembled perhaps the most startling item is that he single handedly increased the size of our historical collections by some 400000 pieces this remarkable accomplishment was the result of an aggressive internal acquisitions policy that moved forward the chronological boundary of the history of medicine collection from 1800 to 1870 thus obtaining at one stroke of the pen 70 years of literature from the general collection by more conventional acquisitions procedures dr blake has added some 13000 volumes 17000 prints and photographs and nearly one million manuscript pieces dr blake is the only member of the nlm staff who i gave an unlimited budget because i knew that hi new england providence and family would never allow him to use it all twenty years ago it was necessary to look in 11 different files to find all books in our historical collection all are now included in a consolidated file all 16th and 17th century books have been fully cataloged and all 18th century books have received either full or limited cataloging these accomplishments have been paralleled by a fivefold increase since 1962 in interlibrary loan and photoduplication orders for historical materials

Page  3 3 dr blake inaugurated in 1965 an annual bibliography of the history of medicine and in 1978 the online database histline he and his staff have published a number of fine catalogs to the collection and also found time to publish over 100 articles from avicenna to zuriel waterman they have been active in professional society activities most prominently of course in the american association for the history of medicine you are well aware of his historical research and procedures some may think it unseemly of me to turn a few welcoming remarks into an encomium for our history of medicine division my only defense is that i want you to share our pride in the accomplishments of john blake and his competent staff the collection they have so ably tended is after all your collection and we are accountable to you for our stewardship of this priceless national resource thank you and my best wishes for a successful meeting