I was doing some internet research today when I happened upon some copies of the original letters written by Virginia Apgar (yes, that Apgar) to Allen Whipple (yes, that Whipple) concerning the formalization of medical training for perioperative care, into what would eventually become the Department of Anesthesiology at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.
Now I don't know if it's just because I'm a dork (certainly) or because the players were such medical legends that getting a chance to read their correspondence (along with handwritten notes jotted in the body and along the margins!) feels like watching history unfold in real time. Or perhaps it's just seeing that familiar address on that old letterhead--the correspondence below detailing the formation of a department where, seventy years later, I myself would train--that got me all goose-bumpley. But certainly, there's a reason that these were called The Days of the Giants, and Virginia Apgar no doubt stood tall among them.
For more on Dr. Apgar, they have quite a trove of biographical information, pictures, and letters in the "Profiles in Science" section in the National Library of Medicine. Definitely worth checking out if you're a medical history wonk. Or just look at this picture of C. Everett Koop and wonder why people don't grow beards like this anymore.