I meant to write these more often, but somehow the life keeps staying busy.
Here's one from a few weeks ago. We're part of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (see the sidebar history) and their Radiology Department had a lead on some personal papers they were interested in. The American College of Radiology has stored their records with the History Factory in Chantilly, VA, and in their collection they had personal papers of Dr. William Thompson. Thompson was instrumental in setting up the large radiology program at AFIP. The ACR was willing to hand over this series of records to AFIP since it didn't really relate to their core holdings. I tend to wear a dual hat as AFIP's archivist as well as the Museum's so I was on the job.
Poaching from other archives never thrills me, although at times it makes sense. Years ago, we returned photographs of unidentified corpses that we had received from the NY Medical Examiner to the NY Municipal Archives to reunite them with the paper records of the cases. I was fine with that, but there have been plenty of times when people come in to do research and say "wouldn't this be better if it was in..."
Anyway, two people from the radiology dept., and 3 museum staffers took a van from Walter Reed while I drove myself from home. I beat them by about an hour so I hung around with the archivist there. He showed me the collection - it was pretty straightforward personal papers including diaries, some awards and some photographs, both personal and professional. I've seen dozens like it, and at 3 linear feet, it wasn't large. So we talked shop and then when everyone else arrived, they looked at the records. The radiologists were particularly interested as one doesn't see fifty-year old diaries every day, I suppose. We took a quick look in the stacks at the rest of the ACR collection - most archives look alike especially in the 'bulk' storage areas - and I've got to say that they have a nice set of advertising trade literature if you're doing anything on radiology's history. We also looked at the 3-D artifacts because there was some confusion in our party if we were supposed to be checking on them as well.
After signing the paperwork transferring it to us, we headed back to AFIP. Lauren Clark, who's volunteering as an intern this summer, has processed the collection and written a finding aid to it, which should make it onto our regular website soon. There's nothing deeply interesting or dramatic in Thompson's papers, but they help round out the history of radiology at AFIP.