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Virginia Apgar (1909-1974) was an American physician who is best known for the Apgar Score, a simple, rapid method for assessing newborn viability. Developed in the early 1950s and quickly adopted by obstetric teams, the method reduced infant mortality and laid the foundations of neonatology. Apgar scoring has been a standard obstetric practice for the past forty years. While best known for this achievement, Apgar was also a leader in the emerging field of anesthesiology during the 1940s and in the new field of teratology (the study of birth defects) after 1960.
The Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections is the repository for the Virginia Apgar Papers, which range from 1880 to 1975. The collection contains diaries, correspondence, course/training records, writings, Apgar Score material, financial records, biographical information, and photographs.
As part of its Profiles in Science project, the National Library of Medicine has collaborated with the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections to digitize and make available over the World Wide Web a selection of the Virginia Apgar Papers for use by educators and researchers. This site provides access to the portions of the Virginia Apgar Papers of the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections that have been selected for digitization. Individuals interested in conducting research in the Virginia Apgar Papers are invited to contact the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections.
This online Exhibit is designed to introduce you to the various phases of Apgar's career and professional life. It is divided into sections that focus on Apgar's life and major contributions to clinical medicine and public health. We suggest that new visitors begin with this exhibit, which includes a small selection of documents and visuals, organized within these sections. Each section begins with a "Background Narrative," which leads to "Documents" and "Visuals."
Visitors may access additional materials through Search on the navigation bar. They may also view the materials alphabetically or chronologically by choosing Browse on the navigation bar. Documents and visuals in these lists are arranged by format and then either alphabetically by title or chronologically.