museums, archives and libraries

industry and laboratories

professional societies and organizations

credits and acknowledgements


This Guide to Collections relating to the History of Artificial Organs is a review of materials located in known repositories as well as private and corporate holdings worldwide. This guide is an introduction, not an inventory, to the papers, records, films, tapes, interviews and artifacts relevant to the history of artificial organ developments.

Purpose of the Guide

This Guide is intended to serve many purposes. It marks an essential first step towards preserving the documentary history of artificial organ developments in the United States and abroad. It is intended to bring attention to the need to preserve recent medical science history before documents and devices are lost. We hope that more individual and corporate contributors in the field will be motivated to save significant records and prototypes and seek to deposit these items in relevant repositories. Equally important, in successfully locating and identifying the documentary history of this field, we hope that this Guide will encourage education, scholarship, and research on artificial organ history.

Scope of Collections

This Guide focuses on historical resource materials, defined here as the papers, records, films, tapes, interviews, and artifacts relevant to the history of artificial organ developments. For the purposes of this Guide, artificial organs have been broadly defined to include any bio-medical replacement part for the human body, internally or externally.

Scope of Repositories

With the assistance of project work group members, a listing of potential repositories was generated that included large and small museums, university and public libraries and archives, industry and research laboratories, professional societies and government agencies, as well as private collections. To develop the collection descriptions in this Guide, the project staff contacted these repositories by telephone, correspondence, e-mail, and in some cases, in person. Curators, librarians, archivists, historical and public relations staff, who were contacted in regards to this project, provided collections descriptions and general repository information for this Guide. In a few cases, on-site visits by the project staff allowed for a more complete compilation of information.

Organization of the Guide

An introduction to PROJECT BIONICS: Artificial Organs from Discovery to Clinical Use, its aims and history, may be found in the Foreword to this Guide.

The Guide itself is organized alphabetically by repository grouping. There are three repository groupings:

  1. Museums, Libraries and Archives
  2. Industry and Laboratories
  3. Professional Societies and Agencies

General information on each repository is presented, including location, telephone and fax numbers, website URL if available, contact person's name and title, hours of operation, and a brief abstract on the holdings and/or mandate of the repository in general.

The value of this Guide is the description of each collection as it relates to the history of artificial organs. Each collection entry includes title, date, quantity, biographical/historical note, collection description, finding aid, restrictions, and related material. The biographical/historical note provides background information on the individual or institution or general history directly related to the origins and evolution of the collection. The collection description summarizes the content of the collection, and when possible, includes a listing of collection items directly related to the history of artificial organs. The collection entries vary in length, reflecting the size and information available on the collection.

The information collected for this Guide was structured using the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) format. The project staff gathered data on access and services, location, quantity, subject contents, restrictions, and other pertinent information. It is hoped that this format will allow for standardization across varying types of materials as well as repositories at which these records are located. The EAD format also facilitates the production of an on-line searchable version of this Guide.

Use of the Guide

It is hoped that educators, scholars, researchers, scientists, librarians, archivists, curators and the public will find this Guide useful towards furthering their interest in and encouraging study of the history of artificial organ developments.

People and Institutions Contacted for this Guide

A great number of public repositories, corporate offices, professional societies and individuals were contacted throughout the course of compiling this Guide in an attempt to be as comprehensive as possible. At this time, this Guide provides a strong beginning towards identifying all known collections relating to the history of artificial organs. The next step is to identify the unknown collections - public and private - that will contribute to our knowledge of artificial organ history. We hope that this Guide may encourage institutions and individuals who know of objects, personal papers, photos, or other historical material not included in this Guide to contact us towards rectifying this.

We thank all the people and institutions that were contacted, and appreciate their assistance in providing information and directing us to additional historical materials. Most of these people and institutions are listed in this Guide as individual entries. We hope that they will use our Guide - both the paper and on-line versions - and contact us when the time comes to revise information regarding their collections.

Some people and institutions that were contacted for information for this Guide did not have any relevant material, and thus cannot be found in the following pages. We thank them nonetheless, and hope that they will contact us if this changes. We would be delighted to include any new materials that related to the history of artificial organs that they might acquire in our Guide. The following societies and repositories were contacted, but were not included in this Guide for the reasons identified above:

  • American College of Cardiology
  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Society of Nephrology
  • Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation
  • Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives
  • Massachesetts Institute of Technology, Institute Archives and Special Collections
  • Medical History Museum of Nova Scotia
  • Rockefeller University, Rockefeller Archive Center
  • Society of Thoracic Surgeons
  • Society of Vascular Surgery
  • Surgical Historical Society, University of Miami
  • Transplantation Society
  • University of Minnesota, Wangensteen Historical Library History of Medicine Collection
  • World Heart Corporation (see University of Ottawa Heart Institute which is included in this Guide)

Private Collections

We had hoped to describe private collections relating to artificial organ history in the Guide towards identifying previously unknown collections. We were pleased to find out that several private collections - photos, personal papers, objects, slides - do exist, but for various reasons were not accessible at this time. We are currently working with several individuals towards depositing these materials in appropriate repositories where they will be accessible for historians and others to consult.

We hope that more scientists and practitioners will contact us about the existence of such records. This is crucial towards identifying previously unknown collections and ensuring their preservation for posterity.

As part of its mission statement, PROJECT BIONICS aims to facilitate preservation of historical documentation in the field of artificial organ developments. PROJECT BIONICS offers to work with groups and individuals in order to ensure that papers, objects and the like are not lost or destroyed upon the retirement of prominent scientists or the relocation of laboratories. We encourage those who may possess (or know of) materials of historical value to contact us. Whether or not they wish to grant public access to their materials or deposit them in either an archives or museum for posterity is entirely up to them.

Last reviewed: 27 August 2008
Last updated: 20 September 2004
First published: 01 March 2002
Metadata| Permanence level: Permanent: Dynamic Content