Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview of the Collection

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Separated Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series I: Personal information and material for books and articles.

Series II: Professional information.

Series III: Reprints.

Index Terms

Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library, John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center

Murdina MacFarquhar Desmond Papers

Manuscript Collection No. 54



Overview of the Collection

Creator: Murdina MacFarquhar Desmond, MD (1916-2003)
Title: Papers of Murdina MacFarquhar Desmond, MD
Dates: 1948-86
Abstract: Murdina M. Desmond, M.D., FAAP (Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics) was a member of a 1950s team that developed an infection control plan for hospital- acquired staphyloccous infection for newborns. Dr. Desmond began the first neonatal intensive care unit in the nation at the former Jefferson Davis Hospital and worked with affected babies at the hospital during the 1963-64 rubella outbreak. In 1973, she became director of the Leopold Meyer Center for Developmental Pediatrics at Texas Children's Hospital. (Adapted from the obituary in the American Academy of Pediatrics News, 2003;23;123.)
Identification: 54
Quantity: 3.5 linear feet
Location: Historical Research Center (HRC), 8272 El Rio, Suite 190, Houston, TX 77054. phone: 713.799.7145
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center (HAM-TMC) Library, John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center,  1133 John Freeman Blvd.  Houston, Texas 77030

Biographical Note

Dr. Desmond was born in the Hebrides Islands of Scotland in 1916. Her family immigrated to the United States when she was 7. She attended Smith College on scholarship, graduating in 1938, and obtained her M.D. in 1942 from Temple School of Medicine. Following her internship and six months of pediatric residency, Dr. Desmond joined the U.S. Naval Reserve as a physician and actively served through World War II, including time at Pearl Harbor.

Postwar, she completed her pediatric training and a fellowship in newborn research. In 1948, she moved to Houston, Texas to join the faculty of Baylor College of Medicine in the Pediatric Department which at that time consisted of four faculty members and two residents. In 1950, Baylor became affiliated with the former Jefferson Davis Hospital and a newborn service was established. Dr. Desmond became the first head of the newborn care section in the Pediatric Department.

In 1956, Dr. Desmond and two other physicians were alarmed at the death rate from staphylococcus infections at Jefferson Davis Hospital, the then city-county hospital. The doctors declared the nursery unsafe and closed it to any more admissions. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Desmond began the first neonatal intensive care unit in the nation at the hospital. Dr. Desmond also worked with infants born with drug addictions. She developed the transitional nursery in which at risk infants were under close observation for potential medical problems. Infants who were seriously ill were placed in a separate unit, which became the first newborn intensive care unit in the southwestern states of the United States. Until Jefferson Davis Hospital closed, Dr. Desmond served as director of nurseries and as pediatric coordinator of its Maternal and Infant Care project.

During the outbreak of rubella in 1963-64, Dr. Desmond worked with about 200 affected infants and children. She recognized that many at-risk infants, whom medical care was able to save, developed conditions that required comprehensive evaluation and long-term care. In 1973 she became the director of the Leopold Meyer Center for Developmental Pediatrics at Texas Children's hospital. During this period she was on the team which cared for David Vetter, the "Bubble Boy." The Desmond Neonatal Developmental Follow-up Clinic, named for Dr. Desmond, was established in 1994 to provide logitudinal follow-up and neurodevelopmental assessments for pre-term babies.

Dr. Desmond received the Apgar Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics; the Stanley Kalinski Award from the Texas Pediatric Society; and awards from Smith College and Temple University among others.

Dr. Desmond married James L. Desmond who she met while serving in the Naval Reserve. They were married after the war and then moved to Houston, Texas, where her husband had a dental practice until his death in 1969. She and her husband had two children.

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Scope and Contents

This collection holds photographs of Dr. Desmond as a medical student, Naval officer, and a faculty member of Baylor College of Medicine. The main portion of her papers deal with her work at Jefferson Davis Hospital, including grants she received from the John A. Hartford Foundation, and at Texas Children's Hospital.Some background material and photographs of the illustrations she used in the book, Newborn Medicine and Society: European Background and American Practice (1750-1975), are included. Reprints of her journal articles are available.She donated many books on the newborn and on pediatrics. These books have been cataloged and are available through the HAM-TMC Library's online catalog.

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Arrangement

Series I - Personal information and material for books and articles.
Series II - Professional information.
Series III - Reprints.

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Separated Material

Books which were donated with the collection were cataloged and placed in the John P. McGovern Historical Collection which is searchable through the HAM-TMC Library's online catalog.

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Administrative Information

Custodial History

Dr. Desmond donated the items in the collection in 1996.

Preferred Citation

Murdina MacFarquhar Desmond, MD Papers, Manuscript Collection No. 54, John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center, Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library, 1133 John Freeman Blvd., Houston, Texas 77030

Processing Information

The collection was reviewed for duplicate materials and to establish or re-establish the order. Duplicate reprints were discarded. Paperclips and most other binding material were removed. When necessary, materials were interleaved with archival bond or put into mylar envelopes. Some articles and reports on acidic paper were copied onto archival bond and then discarded. Legal documents folded and housed in letter-sized folders were unfolded and the letter-sized folders replaced with legal-sized folders. Books were removed from the collection and cataloged with a local holding note which identified them as donated by Dr. Desmond.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Series I: Personal information and material for books and articles.

This series contains transcripts of three oral histories, obituaries, photographs, information about Dr. Desmond's retirement and awards she received, speeches, workshops and background material for her publications.
Box Folder
1 1 Obituaries.
2 Oral history. Baylor College of Medicine, 1987, 1992. Note: this oral history is available after 2013, ten years after Dr. Desmond's death.
3 Oral history. American Academy of Pediatrics, 1996.
4 Photographs: Desmond and family.
5 Photographs: Miscellaneous of Dr. Desmond.
6 Photographs: Retirement.
7 Correspondence: Retirement.
8 Correspondence: Miscellaneous.
9 Apgar Award: Speech and slides, October 17, 1988.
10 Dedication of The Murdina M. Desmond Transitional Care Nursery at Ben Taub General Hospital, April 24, 1992.
11 Texas Perinatal Association Award, 1987, Third Annual Award.
12 Various certificates and awards. [One award plaque is on display at the Rare Book Room in the HAM-TMC Library.]
13 The Premium Infant: A tribute to Murdina MacFarquhar Desmond, M.D., December 5, 1986.
Box Folder
2 1 Newborn Medicine and Society: European Background and American Practice (1750-1975): photographs of illustrations in book and book jacket.
2 Infant mortality statistics: graphs from various sources.
3 Infant health: postcards and photocopies of postcards, late 19th -early 20th century.
4 Collected articles for research.
5 Quotations, cartoons and images of nurses.
6 Goals and methods for upgrading maternal-child health and crippled children's services, Feb. 2-3, 1977.
7 Workshops.
8 Life-span of man: speech.
9 The middle class premature, Feb. 3, 1978, transcript.
10 Neonate after intensive care, April 5-7, 1977, manuscript of speech.
11 Eulogy for Dr. Reba Michels Hill, manuscript.
12 Physical diagnosis of the newly born: Ross Conference on Pediatric Research, 1962 at Baylor College of Medicine.
13 Presentations.
14 Profound handicap in children and medical decisions, 1977 (unpublished).
15 Rudolph, Arnold Jack: publications.
6 Miscellaneous.

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Series II: Professional information.

This series contains information about her work as a faculty member and physician at Baylor College of Medicine, Jefferson Davis Hospital and Texas Children's Hospital. It also includes information about research grants.
Box Folder
1 1 Baylor College of Medicine: Faculty correspondence.
2 Baylor College of Medicine: Faculty photographs.
3 Baylor College of Medicine: History of the Newborn Section, Department of Pediatrics.
4 Baylor College of Medicine: Guidelines in the management of the neonate, Newborn Section, Department of Medicine, December 1976.
5 Baylor College of Medicine: Guideline in the management of the neonate, June 1981.
6 Baylor College of Medicine: Manual of the Newborn Subsection, 1962-63.
7 Baylor College of Medicine: History of the Newborn Section.
8 Hartford Project: photographs of illustrations.
9 Hartford Project: Report on the Newborn Study. Dr. Desmond's copy, 1961?.
10 Hartford Project: photographs of staff, 1961.
11 John A. Hartford Foundation, Inc: Baylor College of Medicine presentation.
12 Hartford Foundation: Roche Medical Image article, April 1962.
13 Hartford Project: Progress Report, 1962.
14 Hartford Project: Progress Report, January 1, 1963-December 31, 1963.
15 Hartford Foundation: Progress Report and Application for Continuing Research Support... 12/1/62 to 12/1/65.
16 Hartford Foundation: Research Report, January 1, 1960-December 31, 1968.
17 Hartford Project: Chapter from The Greatest Good: A History of the John A. Hartford Foundation.
Box Folder
2 1 Jefferson Davis Hospital: History
2 Jefferson Davis Hospital: Scrapbook, Newborns
3 Jefferson Davis Hospital: Staph Epidemics, 1953-1958
4 Jefferson Davis Hospital Newborn Services: personnel needs.
5 Jefferson Davis Hospital Newborn Services: High Risk Clinic.
6 Jefferson Davis Hospital Newborn Services: Procedures Manual.
7 Jefferson Davis Hospital Newborn Services: Newborn Triage, article.
8 Jefferson Davis Hospital Newborn Services: Transient Care Nursery Patient Chart. RESTRICTED.
9 Jefferson Davis Hospital Newborn Services: Transient Care Nursery Patient Chart. RESTRICTED.
10 Jefferson Davis Hospital Newborn Services: Infant Mortality Study 1951-52. George L. Daeschner.
1 Jefferson Davis Hospital Newborn Services: Morbidity Study
Box Folder
3 1 Jefferson Davis Hospital Newborn Services: 1950s manuals.
2 Jefferson Davis Hospital Newborn Services: 1960s manuals.
3 Jefferson Davis Hospital Newborn Services: Statistics.
4 Jefferson Davis Hospital Newborn Services: Follow-up clinic areas. 5th floor expansion.
5 Jefferson Davis Hospital Newborn Services: Publicity.
6 Jefferson Davis Hospital Newborn Services: Correspondence and miscellaneous.
7 Maternity and Infant Care Project #535: Procedures for Mother-baby circles.
8 Maternity and Infant Care Project #535: Progress Report 1968-69.
9 Maternity and Infant Care Project #535: Progress Report 1969-1970.
Box Folder
4 1 Maternity and Infant Care Project #535: Application.
2 Maternity and Infant Care Project #535: Procedural Manual.
3 Maternity and Infant Care Project #535: New Born Facilities Dedication.
4 Jefferson Davis Hospital Newborn Services: Newborn Nursery Plans.
5 Jefferson Davis Hospital Newborn Services: Statistics of admissions, deliveries, births 1950-1971.
6 Texas Children's Hospital House Staff Manual: 1980?
7 Texas Children's Hospital: Leopold Meyer Center.
Texas Children's Hospital Meyer Center for Developmental Pediatics: Desmond Neonatal Developmental Follow-up Clinic.
9 Photographs: miscellaneous.

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Series III: Reprints.

This series contains reprints of 80 articles Dr. Desmond authored or co/authored from 1949-1991. [A list of the reprints is available upon request.]

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Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.


Baylor College of Medicine. Dept. of Pediatrics.

Fetal Mortality

Infant Mortality

Infant, Newborn

Intensive care, neonatal

Jefferson Davis Hospital (Houston, Tex.)

John A. Hartford Foundation

Neonatology

Nurseries, Hospital

Pediatrics

Perinatal Mortality

Perinatology

Staphylococcol Infections

Texas Children's Hospital

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