UT Health Science Center San Antonio

Guide to the John L. Matthews Papers



Descriptive Summary and Abstract

Creator Matthews, John L., 1908-1995
Title: John L. Matthews Papers
Inclusive dates:
Abstract: John L. Matthews was an ophthalmologist practicing in San Antonio, Texas, from the 1930’s until his retirement in 1994. The papers in the collection consist primarily of correspondence and papers, both published and unpublished.
Identification: MS 20
Extent: 3 boxes
Language: Materials are written in English, Spanish, and Russian.
Repository University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, UTHSC Libraries, University Archives, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900

Biographical Note

Dr. Matthews was a prominent member of the San Antonio medical community. As a physician and active member and leader in local medical organizations, Dr. Matthews played a significant role in the establishment of the South Texas Medical Center. While on the Board of the San Antonio Medical Foundation and serving as the President of the Bexar County Medical Society, Matthews secured the endorsement of the Texas Medical Association for a medical school in San Antonio, initiating the development of a medical center in the 1950s. Once appropriate requirements were met and important decisions made, Governor Preston Smith signed the bill approving the Medical Center’s construction in Northwest San Antonio.

Born in San Antonio December 15, 1908, Dr. John L. Matthews spent his childhood in Eagle Pass and Laredo, Texas. Matthews returned to San Antonio in 1922, where he would retain a permanent residence. He attended Main Avenue High School, and under the influence of Dr. Homer T. Wilson, a general practitioner who had a background in surgery, he decided to pursue a career in medicine. He attended the University of Texas at Austin and then transferred to the University of Texas at Galveston’s Medical Branch for his medical training.

Following graduation and a two year internship, he returned to San Antonio and entered general practice, joining the Army Reserve as a First Lieutenant in the 111th Medical Regiment. He had little interest in the field of ophthalmology until he took a correspondence course in military medicine (around 1935) and became intrigued by the subject. He decided to pursue ophthalmology and left San Antonio when he secured a two year residency at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. In 1940, Matthews returned to San Antonio and opened his office in the Nix Building as one of only four physicians in town limiting their practice to ophthalmology.

His first year of practice in San Antonio was interrupted when he was called into federal service and transferred, in 1941, to the Army Air Force as Flight Surgeon to the 111th Observation Squadron out of Houston. In January 1942, Matthews was transferred to the School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Field as an instructor for the Department of Ophthalmology. Matthews examined cadets for aviation training and lectured in the field of optics. In 1943 Matthews became the Chief of Ophthalmology at the school and would hold that position until 1945.

In 1946, Matthews re-opened his ophthalmology practice in San Antonio. He was President of the Texas Society of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology in 1954 and President of the Bexar County Medical Society in 1956. He donated his collection of books and journals to the new University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio in 1969. He was elected as the first President of the Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library on December 7, 1971. This organization was dedicated to supporting the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library’s collection of rare books, which were donated to the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio by the Bexar County Medical Society in 1970. After 59 years as a physician, Matthews retired in 1994. He died in 1995.

Sources:

"Interview with Dr. John L. Matthews: an Oral History" Box OH 5. University Archives, UTHSC Libraries, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

"The Life and Experiences of Dr. John Matthews." Treasures of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library Blog.


Scope and Contents

The John L. Matthews Papers primarily consist of correspondence and papers on various areas of research or presented to various conferences. Also included are records from the Hospitals Building Fund, Inc. of San Antonio, Texas where Dr. Matthews served on the Board of Directors and correspondence while serving as the first President of the Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library in 1971-1972.


 

Arrangement of Collection

The papers are arranged in three boxes in three series as follows:
Series 1: Hospitals Building Fund, Inc., San Antonio, Texas
Series 2: Other Correspondence, Papers, Publications
Series 3: Correspondence - Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

Restrictions

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use. Materials may be viewed in the reading room of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, located on the 5th floor of the Briscoe Library at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Use Restrictions

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Patient records may not be released without permission.


Index Terms

Persons
Grum, Nathalie
Matthews, John L., 1908-1995
Nixon, Pat Ireland, 1883-1965
Organizations
Bexar County Medical Library (San Antonio, Tex.)
Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library
P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. University Libraries. University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Hospitals Building Fund, Inc. (San Antonio, Tex.)
Subjects
Libraries, Medical – Texas
Physicians – Texas
History of Medicine – Texas
Ophthalmology – Texas
Document Types
Correspondence
Newspaper clippings
Photographs
Reprints

Separated Material

Matthews, John L. Interview with Dr. John L. Matthews: an Oral History. Box OH 5 University Archives, UTHSC Libraries, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], in the John L. Matthews Papers, MS 20, University Archives, UTHSC Libraries, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Provenance

Materials in this collection were created by Dr. Matthews and others working or corresponding with him on various projects.

Collection History

Records were created by Dr. John L. Matthews and those with whom he corresponded. Letters while President of the Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library were collected by staff of the Dolph Briscoe Library while working with Dr. Matthews during his term and afterward.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by: Anne Comeaux, April 2014. Revised July 2015 by: Anne Comeaux.


Detailed Description of Collection

 

Series 1. Hospitals Building Fund, Inc., San Antonio, Texas

Box Folder
MS 20*1 1 Audit Reports. Hospitals Building Fund, Inc. San Antonio, Texas. 1957 – 1961.
2 American City Bureau. Final Service Report for the Hospitals Building Fund, Inc., San Antonio, Texas. March 31, 1958.
3 Preliminary Balance Sheets.
  • July 1, 1961 – June 30, 1962
  • July 1, 1960 – June 30, 1961
  • July 1, 1959 – June 30, 1960
4 Correspondence.
Contains a copy of donation pamphlet for Hospitals Building Fund, Inc. dated 1956-1957.
5 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, July 10, 1956 – Oct. 2, 1962.
Includes a copy of the By-Laws and Charter and a picture of members of the board of trustees of the United Hospitals Building Fund, Inc. from The San Antonian 20(29):2, Thursday, July 19, 1956



 

Series 2. Other Correspondence, Papers, Publications

Box Folder
MS 20*1 6 Third Pan-American Congress of Ophthalmology. Havana, Cuba, January 1947.
Letters, newspaper clippings, and 13 photographs of event.
7 Ophthalmic Injuries of War.
Correspondence and original papers of presentations at the Annual Meeting of the Department of Ophthalmology, George Washington University School of Medicine, December, 1944; the Texas Ophthalmological and Otolaryngolocial Society in December 1942, and to an unidentified meeting in Mexico. Papers are in English and Spanish. Also reprint of article published in War Medicine 4:247-261, September 1943.
8 Miscellaneous correspondence and papers.
8 items
  • Obituary for Wilbur Hamilton
  • Obituary for James P. Aderhold
  • Correspondence with Texas Ophthalmological and Oto-Laryngological Society re membership
  • Pat Ireland Nixon. “Dr. Benjamin Harrison, Temporary Texan.” Reprint from Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 1(1):108-114.
  • Henry Schuman. “Sixty-five Notable Milestones in the History of Medicine in the Bexar County Medical Library.”
  • Celebration Honoring Dr. Pat Ireland Nixon on His Seventy-Fifth Birthday.
  • “Bexar County Doctors Prior to Organized Medicine – Before 1853 and 1869.” Mrs. L. Bonham Jones, Research and Romance of Medicine Committee Chair 1967-68, Women’s Auxiliary to the Bexar County Medical Society.
  • Prayer written by Pat Ireland Nixon
Box Folder
MS 20*2 1 Pan American Congress of Ophthalmology, Miami, March 1950.
Includes 2 copies of group picture of Dr. John Matthews and friends; letter from Victor A. Byrnes enclosing copy of paper; and discussion by John L. Matthews, M.D. on 3 presentations, including Dr. Byrnes’.
2 Conference on Bovine Cancer – Eye. Marfa, Texas. Aug. 24-25, 1951. John L. Matthews, Chairman.
Includes newspaper clippings, agenda with abstracts of papers, proceedings, correspondence with M. D. Anderson re appointment as consultant to Study Section on Cancer Eye, minutes of Sept. 25, 1956 meeting of Committee for Coordination and Initiation of Research in “Cancer Eye” of Cattle, correspondence re meeting (1952-1969) and research results (1951), copies of presentations, and resolution of commendation for Dr. Matthews by Highland Hereford Breeders Association, Marfa,Texas.
3 Optics and Refraction Lecture Notes, 6/10/1944.
4 Correspondence and research on Choroideremia. (1947-1969).
Includes two presentations by John L. Matthews to Wilk Eye Conference in Philadelphia (1957) and Texas Society of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology in December 1954. Caution: Patient records included. Do not release without permission if patient less than 100 years old.
5 Correspondence and research on Choroideremia, continued . (1957 – 1968).
6 Stine Test.
Paper by William H. Crisp and George H. Stine with discussion by John L. Matthews. 1948
7 John L. Matthews. Observations on the effects of Diisopropyl Flurophosphate (“DFP”). 1947.
8 IV Congreso Mexicano de Oftalmología, April 9, 1958.
6 b&w photos, 2 color photos, program, menu, and published paper by John L. Matthews in Anales de la Sociedad Mexicana des Oftalmologia 31(3), July – Sept 1948.
9 Military & Aviation Ophthalmology. 1943-1960.
14 items
Contains published & unpublished papers
  • Matthews, John L. Ophthalmic injuries of war. War Medicine 4:247-261, September 1943.
  • Matthews, John L. The use of goggles and protective lenses by flying personnel. Aviation Ophthalmology – American Association of Ophthalmology & Otolaryngology (AAOO), Chicago, October 1944.
  • Matthews, John L. Heridas oculares de Guerra. Archivos de la Asociación para envitar la Ceguera en México 4:265:277, 1946.
  • Matthews, John L. The effect of ophthalmic filters on color vision. Vision Committee – Randolph Field, November 11, 1948.
  • Matthews, John L. Use of absorptive lenses: facts for the profession. Transactions American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology: 274-277, January-February, 1949.
  • Matthews, John L. Some considerations in the selection of flying sun glasses. The Journal of Aviation Medicine 20(1):39-46, February 1949.
  • Matthews, John L. Absorptive and reflective filters for spectacle wear. Paper presented at the third Pan-American Congress of Ophthalmology, Havana, Cuba, January 7, 1948.
  • Matthews, John L. Ophthalmology in aviation: eye-protective devices. Date unknown.
  • Matthews, John L. Discussion of “The New Air Force Eye Examination for Flying,” Col. Victor A. Byrnes. 1952.
  • Byrnes, Victor A. The new Air Force eye examination for flying. 1952.
  • Strughold, Hubertus. Eye hazards and protection in space. Aerospace Medicine: 670-673, August 1960.
  • Farnsworth, Dean. Standards for Sunglasses. The Sight-Saving Review 20(2): 81-87, Summer, 1950.
  • Payne, Brittain F. Aviation ophthalmology. The Journal of Aviation Medicine 18(4): 367-378, August 1947.
  • Payne, Brittain F. Aviation ophthalmology. The Military Surgeon 100(6):488-497, June 1947.
10 Other Ophthalmic Papers
4 items
  • Bibliography of papers presented or published by John L. Matthews
  • Brown WC, RE Kellenberger, KE Hudson, and JL Matthews. Leiomyoma of the iris. American Journal of Ophthalmology 43(3):457-460, March 1957.
  • Matthews, John L. Discussion of “Combined operation for cataract and glaucoma.”
  • Matthews, John L. Discussion of “A preliminary Investigation on the effects of the Mesquite thorn on the human eye” by Harmon Brunner and Frederick W. Bieberdorff. Copy of original paper by Brunner included.
11 Visual Standards Panel – Toronto.
Matthews, John L. Visual acuity. Aero Medical Association. Panel “A” – Visual Standards.>
12 Papers on Sunglasses
5 items
  • Matthews, John L. Use of absorptive lenses and other visual aids in ophthalmology. American Association of Ophthalmology & Otolaryngology, Chicago, October 1948.
  • Matthews, John L. Absorptive and reflective filters for spectacle wear. Third Pan-American Congress of Ophthalmology, Havana, Cuba, January 7, 1948.
  • Correspondence with Ralph Stair re critique of paper on Absorptive and Reflective Files for Spectacle Wear.
  • Matthews, John L. Physiological effects of reflective, colored, and polarizing ophthalmic filters: basic considerations in the selection of sunglasses for flying personnel. Project No. 21-02-040, Report No. 1, USAF School of Aviation Medicine, Randolph Field, Texas, May 1949.
  • Rose, HW and I. Schmidt. Physiological effects of reflective, colored, and polarizing ophthalmic filters: effect of ophthalmic filters on color vision. Project No. 21-02-040, Report No. 2, USAF School of Aviation Medicine, Randolph Field, Texas, March 1950.
13 Mementos of Presidency of Bexar County Medical Society and of International Medical Assembly.
Includes photographs, programs, newspaper clippings, Kiwanis Club of San Antonio certificate of appreciation.



 

Series 3. Work with Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

Box Item
MS 20*3 1 Letter to John L. Matthews, M.D. from David A. Kronick, Ph.D., Librarian, acknowledging gift of books and journals to library of The University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio. Sept. 25, 1969.
2 Roster of members of Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library – 1988-1989
3 Minutes of July 16, 1989, meeting (Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Society Board Meeting?).
Discusses the history of Dr. P. I. Nixon, Sr.’s interest in history, the formation of the Doctor’s Round Table for the purchase of books, the Bexar County Medical Library and it’s housing of rare books, and anecdotes about Dr. Nixon and some of his friends.
4 Letter to John L. Matthews, M.D. from David A. Kronick, Ph.D., Librarian, sending membership roster of Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. Sept. 11, 1973.
5 Biography of Dr. John Matthews with attached note from Janet Allen asking for corrections.
Biography contains handwritten corrections.
6 "The Pat Ireland Nixon History of Medicine Room: History of the Collection," by John L. Matthews, M.D.
Presented to the Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, December 7, 1971. 2 copies.
7 Correspondence re gift to Nixon Library by Mrs. William W. Bondurant, Jr.
Several letters including thank yous from library and from John P. Howe, III, M.D., President of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and note from John L. Matthews to library. 1971.
8 Correspondence with David O. LaRo, Jr. re preparation for oral history interview of Nathalie Grum, original librarian for the Bexar County Medical Society Library. 1993.
9 Letter to Mrs. A. F. Grum from John L. Matthews, M.D. June 8, 1971.
10 Letter to Mr. S. E. Cockrell from John L. Matthews, M.D. June 8, 1971.
11 Letter to Robert R. Nixon from John L. Matthews, M.D. June 8, 1971.
12 Invitation to dedication of the Pat Ireland Nixon History of Medicine Room at the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio.
13 "San Antonio physicians dedicate P. I. Nixon Room,"Texas Medicine, 67(7): 109, July 1971.
14 Letter to Dr. and Mrs. S. Perry Post from John L. Matthews inviting them to the organizational meeting of the Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. September 24, 1971.
15 Form letter - invitation to first meeting of the Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. November 22, 1971.
16 Letter to Dr. and Mrs. S. Perry Post re invitation to join Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. December 14, 1971.
17 Form letter - invitation for membership in the Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, signed by John L. Matthews and Mrs. Albert Steves, III. June 20, 1972.
18 Letter to Joyce M. Ray from John L. Matthews re contribution of clippings from North San Antonio Times concerning Pat Nixon. December 23, 1986.
Clippings were removed by archival staff and are now part of the Pat Ireland Nixon Collection.