A Look Back in Time: the UC Public Relations Collection from 1980-2000

By Mary Kroeger Vuyk

I recently completed an internship at the Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions. I was assigned the task of organizing and processing approximately 1500 files from the University of Cincinnati/ University Hospital Public Relations Department dating from around 1980 to 2000. The majority of this collection is photographic in nature but does include a few other items such as news releases, letters, etc.

Dr. Leland Clark in his laboratory

The collection gives researchers a unique look into the inner workings of the to University of Cincinnati College of Medicine as well as University Hospital during this time period. What makes this collection so interesting is that it chronicles not only the big headlines such as the birth of the Gutzwiller quadruplets (pictured below), but also the small acts of kindness such as the volunteer baby cuddlers. The collection provides hundreds of photographs of doctors, nurses, administrators, and staff that helped to keep the University of Cincinnati Medical School and University Hospital running smoothly.

While all the files hold a special place in UC history, several files are worthy of mention. One such file contains photographs of Charles Ashcraft, recipient of the very first heart transplant at University Hospital. Along with pictures of a delighted Mr. Ashcraft post surgery, this file also includes color photographs of the surgery itself. Like something from the Discovery Channel, these photographs give the viewer a real sense of what it looked and felt like to be involved in this historical event. Another file that piqued my interest was that of Albert Sabin, especially photos of an event occurring in August of 1995 after Dr. Sabin’s death. The event was attended by his wife, Heloise, as well as other prominent members of the community like Mayor Roxanne Qualls, Dr. Frederick Hauck, and Judge Gilbert Bettman.  As Winkler Center archivist, Stephanie Bricking, continues to work on the Albert B. Sabin Digitization Project, I look forward to learning more about this event and others that demonstrate what a significant impact Dr. Sabin had not only on the city of Cincinnati, but worldwide.

Researchers can locate additional information about this collection at OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository.

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