Celebrating 100 Years of The Texas Medical Center Library: 1915-2015
In 2015, The Texas Medical Center Library celebrated 100 years of providing medical knowledge to Texas physicians. Before the library was created in 1915 was a momentous year for the world and Houston. 1914 marked the beginning of World War I, a conflict that would soon engulf the United States. In Houston that year, the death of George Hermann indirectly set in motion the creation of the Texas Medical Center. In 1914, George Hermann, who became a millionaire with the discovery of oil in Humble, Texas, donated the site of his sawmill to the City of Houston and that donation became Hermann Park. By the following October he was dead. His funeral was a major event in the city. Hermann stipulated in his will that a public, charity hospital be created. Hermann Hospital opened its doors in 1925. In the late 1940s, the Texas Medical Center would take shape on land adjacent to Hermann Hospital, where radiology was one of many areas of instruction at this teaching hospital in the 1950s. “Hermann, George Henry (1843-1914).”
The origins of the library date back to 1915, when the Houston Academy of Medicine (HAM) established a small library in downtown Houston to serve the Harris County Medical Society, which was founded in 1903, so it predates the Medical Center by several decades. After WWII ended, the 1940’s were big years for the Texas Medical Center, . The Texas Medical Center was planned in the early 1940’s by the trustees of the M.D. Anderson Foundation, to be located on land purchased from the city, next to Hermann Hospital was dedicated on February 28, 1946.
This Library was combined with the Baylor College of Medicine’s small library in 1949 to form a centralized collection. As more institutions joined the Texas Medical Center, they also shared the resources of the TMC Library, thereby creating a unique point of collaboration among the institutions of the TMC. A permanent home for this new library was built in the early 1950s, through the efforts of HAM and BCM. Jesse H. Jones contributed funding for the construction, and in 1954, the approximately 27,000 square foot, three-story “Jesse H. Jones Library Building” was dedicated.
The Friends of the Texas Medical Center Library was founded in 1960 and continues to provide support for Library resources. By 1975, a new addition to the building had added another 76,000 square feet for the Library’s growing collection. At this time, the Library officially became known as the Houston Academy of Medicine – Texas Medical Center Library. Today we use the shorter operating name of the TMC Library, a library which is a trusted resource that provides expertise and teaches about tools and techniques needed to find and filter relevant, authoritative information from the exponentially growing published literature, to support health sciences research, medical education, and patient care preparing for the next generations of healthcare professionals.
As these recording technologies age, archivists at the TMC Library are working to preserve this audiovisual history for the future. The McGovern Historical Center recently digitized and shared online more than 50 archival films, videos and sound recordings. Digitization was made possible by funding from the South Central Academic Medical Libraries Consortium. A series of video interviews, a small selection from the 1970s-1980s. captured the stories of TMC leaders and important visitors are in this exhibit. To see more Digitized film and video, visit Archives & Rare Book Collections for The TMC Library (Film and Video). Search more collections at archives.library.tmc.edu.
Due to the flood from Tropical Allison from June 4th thru June 18th, 2001, a great number of archived photos and audiovisual materials reflecting the TMC Library history has been destroyed during the 1990s, the only video available is included in The TMC Library in the 1980s and 1997.
Items from this exhibit are from the McGovern Historical Center at The TMC Library. Additional information regarding the Centennial Celebration in January 2015 can be found on blog posts of Archive for Centennial.