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The Virginia Apgar Papers

[Notices about Apgar from the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly] pdf (130,400 Bytes) transcript of pdf
[Notices about Apgar from the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly]
The Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Office actively sought out information on the activities of MHC graduates. These notices reveal that Apgar's college nickname was "Jimmy" and acknowledge her medical education and later appointments, as well as interesting activities such as saving the baby of actress Elizabeth Taylor in 1958.
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Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly
Original Repository: Mount Holyoke College. Archives and Special Collections. Trustees Biographical Files: Apgar, Virginia [RG 3.2]
Box 1, Folder 1: 1923-1969.
Reproduced with permission of Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly.
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Biographical Information
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Virginia Apgar '29
Jan 1930
Virginia Apgar is a medical student at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.
May 1934
Virginia Apgar received her M.D. in June from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University. On October 1 she began a two-year internship at the Presbyterian Hospital, New York.
Aug 1939
See Margaret Prest
Nov 1949
The biggest scoop I've been able to dig up for some time concerns Dr. Virginia Apgar has been appointed to full professorship, Department, of Anesthesiology, Columbia U. C. Of physicians and surgeons. Jimmy is the first woman to be appointed full professor at Columbia.
Jimmy was in attendance during a serious operation Marjory Tuck Bodel had. Jimmy writes that "it's not often I give the patient a transfusions during one operation, as we did in Marjorie." Dr. Apgar reports that the patient is completely cured.
Feb 1950
Congratulations to Virginia Apgar by her recent appointment as professor of surgery at Physicians and Surgeons. We hear she's the first woman so appointed? How about it, Dr. Apgar?
May 1950
Ed. Note: our apologies to all concerned for the inaccurate repetition in the February Q. of the note about Dr. Virginia Apgar. As correctly stated by your scribe in the November Q. Virginia is the first woman to be appointed full professor. At the at the C. of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia U. She is working in the Dept. of Anesthesiology.
Spring 1960
The Blackwell Award, established in 1949, goes each year to women physicians who made significant contributions to medicine is named after Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical doctor's degree and founder of the New York Infirmary which is staffed by women physicians. Virginia's mother and her cousin, Winifred Shaw (MHC '26), attended the ceremony.
Jimmy is chief of the division of congenital malformations for the National Foundation, with headquarters in New York, and is the creator of the Apgar score, a method of evaluating an infant within 60 seconds after birth. In February she was interviewed by Patricia McCormick at United press international, and the story appeared in the New York World-Telegram. On the subject of birth defects, she said, "Birth defects are the largest single unmet childhood medical need today. About 250,000 children are born each year with some birth defect he stressed the need for long-range program of scientific research into the problem.
Spring 1962
Virginia Apgar has been given the Distinguished Service Award of the American Soc. of Anesthesiologists. Her achievements take her far afield - Los Angeles, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Cyprus, Athens, Rome, and London.
Spring 1963
The New York Times ran a full-page ad of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring." It quoted Virginia Apgar, among other eminent scientists, thus: "genetic inheritance is most valuable possession of the human race. This precious material was developed over millions of years of trial and error. Now Miss Carson shows us clearly that in one short speck of time, a quarter of a century, we've been racing towards potentially irreversible situation which threatens to do away with, or at least alter, life as we know it now. Can we be intelligent, discriminating and courageous enough to meet this challenge? Thank you Miss Carson, for opening our eyes
Summer 1964
Dr. Virginia Apgar, director of the National Foundation of March of Dimes' division of congenital malformations, received an honorary degree of Doctor of Medical Sciences this June from the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania. Jimmy was cited for her "outstanding work in public health and medical education."
Winter 1958
You never know where '29 will turn up next. An Associated Press story last August quoted Showman Mike Todd as giving special credit to our Jimmy Apgar for her work in saving the life of the premature baby born to his wife Liz Taylor, screen star. Todd said Dr. Virginia Apgar "worked over the baby for 14 min. before she hollered. Those were the longest 14 min. of my life." The story went on, "Dr. Apgar is a resuscitation specialist. She breathed life into the tiny infant." Jimmy is professor of anesthesiology, Columbia University, and clinical director of anesthesia, Presbyterian Hospital, New York City.
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