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African American surgeon Charles Richard Drew (1904-1950) has been called "the father of the blood bank," for his outstanding role in conceiving, organizing, and directing America's first large-scale blood banking program during the early years of World War II. While best known for the blood bank work, Drew devoted much of his career to raising the standards of African American medical education at Howard University, where he trained a generation of outstanding surgeons, and worked to break through the barriers that segregation imposed on black physicians. His premature death in a car accident generated enduring stories that he was a victim of medical segregation, though this was repeatedly proved false.
The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University in Washington, DC is the repository for the Charles R. Drew Papers, which range from 1900 to the 1980s. The collection contains photographs, personal and professional correspondence, published articles, lectures, laboratory notebooks, and research notes, along with materials relating to his death and legacy.
As part of its Profiles in Science project, the National Library of Medicine has collaborated with the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center to digitize and make available over the World Wide Web a selection of the Charles R. Drew Papers for use by educators and researchers. This site provides access to the portions of the Charles R. Drew Papers of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center that have been selected for digitization. Individuals interested in conducting research in the Charles R. Drew Papers are invited to contact the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.
This online Exhibit is designed to introduce you to the various phases of Drew's career and professional life. It is divided into sections that focus on Drew's life and major contributions to blood banking and surgical education. We suggest that new visitors begin with this exhibit, which includes a small selection of documents and visuals, organized within these sections. Each section begins with a "Background Narrative," which leads to "Documents" and "Visuals."
Visitors may access additional materials through Search on the navigation bar. They may also view the materials alphabetically or chronologically by choosing Browse on the navigation bar. Documents and visuals in these lists are arranged by format and then either alphabetically by title or chronologically.