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National Library of Medicine (U.S.). Office of the Director, Martin M. Cummings Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS C 554

Abstract

Administrative records, correspondence, medical research files, publications, and speeches document the administrative and medical career of Martin Marc Cummings, Director of the National Library of Medicine from 1964-1984. The bulk of the collection consists of Cummings' administrative files as NLM Director.

Dates

  • 1944-1989

Extent

118.1 Linear Feet (100 boxes + mapdrawer)

Creator

Physical Location

Materials stored onsite. History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine

Language of Materials

Collection materials primarily in English

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access.

Copyright and Re-use Information

Donor's copyrights were transferred to the public domain. Archival collections often contain mixed copyrights; while NLM is the owner of the physical items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. It is the user's responsibility to research and understand any applicable copyright and re-publication rights not allowed by fair use. NLM does not grant permissions to publish.

Privacy Information

Archives and manuscript collections may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in any collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications for which the National Library of Medicine assumes no responsibility.

Biographical/Historical Note

Martin Marc Cummings (1920-2011) medical educator, physician, scientific administrator, and medical librarian, made significant contributions to medical informatics and librarianship. As Director of the National Library of Medicine from 1964 to 1984, he guided the Library into the age of technology while broadening its mission.

Cummings was born in Camden, New Jersey on September 7, 1920. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Bucknell University in 1941 and his doctorate in medicine from Duke University in 1944. His medical research interests included the treatment of sarcoidosis and tuberculosis. In 1946 Cummings completed a U.S. Public Health Service internship and residency at the Boston Marine Hospital, after which he became a commissioned officer in the Public Health Service. In this capacity he received extensive training in bacteriology and tuberculosis at the Michigan State Health Department and the Serum Institute of Denmark. Upon completion of his training he served as Director of the Tuberculosis Evaluation Laboratory at the Communicable Disease Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 1949 Cummings joined the U.S. Veterans Administration's Department of Medicine and Surgery. He served from 1949 to 1953 as Chief of the Tuberculosis Section and Director of the Tuberculosis Research Laboratory at the V.A.'s Lawson General in Chamblee, Georgia. In 1953 he became Director of Research Services at the V.A.'s Central Office in Washington, D.C., serving until 1959.

During his time at the V.A. he also taught at several medical universities. Starting in 1948 he began teaching as an Instructor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia rising to the positions of Assistant Professor of Medicine and Associate Professor of Bacteriology by 1953. While at the V.A.'s Central Office he taught at the George Washington School of Medicine lecturing there in Microbiology until 1959. From 1959 to 1961 he was Chairman and Professor of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine.

In 1961 Cummings accepted the position of Chief of the Office of International Research at the National Institutes of Health serving until 1963. Over the next year he served as Associate Director for Research Grants before becoming the Director of the National Library of Medicine in 1964.

As Director of the National Library of Medicine, Cummings embraced technology to improve the services offered by the Library. He oversaw the improvement of MEDLARS and developed new programs such as the Extramural Programs, Regional Library Network, Specialized Information Services, and the Toxicology Program. In addition, Cummings focused on gaining authority and funds for a Research and Development program which culminated on May 22, 1980 with the dedication of the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications. Other successes include his involvement with the passage of the Medical Library Assistance Act of October 22, 1965 authorizing the Library to aid the nation's medical libraries in expanding their services to the health community. During his tenure at the Library his research interests included John Shaw Billings and William Osler, National Library of Medicine programs and library operations, and biomedical communications, history, and administration.

It was under Cummings' directorship that the Library was involved in the historic Williams & Wilkins Co. v. The United States case. On February 27, 1968 the Williams & Wilkins Co., a major publisher of medical and scientific books and journals, filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Claims against the United States of America. They charged that the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health library violated the company's copyright by duplicating for interlibrary loan articles from journals published by Williams & Wilkins. When the case was finally settled by the Supreme Court in 1975 in favor of the government, it had become a landmark case concerning library photocopying and copyright.

Cummings retired as Director on September 30, 1983 but immediately assumed new duties as Director Emeritus. His new responsibilities included the organization and classification of the John Shaw Billings Papers and assisting the International Program activities in the wake of Dr. Mary Corning's retirement. In 1984 Cummings acted as a consultant to and member of the Council on Library Resources' Board of Directors. He then returned to teaching as Distinguished Professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine from 1986 to 1990.

Throughout his career he published over 100 articles, editorials, chapters, and speeches covering medical research and librarianship. Early publications from 1946 to 1963 discuss his medical research into sarcoidosis and tuberculosis. His writings from 1963-onwards include issues concerning library administration and technology, and the National Library of Medicine.

Cummings has also received over thirty awards, fellowships, and honorary degrees. Awards include Rockefeller Public Service Award, Modern Medicine Distinguished Achievement Award, and the Abraham Horowitz Award of the Pan American Health Organization. He was a fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics, the Medical Library Association, and the Royal College of Physicians. In addition, he received honorary degrees from Bucknell University, University of Nebraska, Emory University, Georgetown University, Karolinska Institute, Academy of Medicine, Lodz, Poland, and Duke University. He was also an active member of numerous medical and library professional associations through out his career and retirement including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Medical Library Association, and the Washington Society for the History of Medicine.

Brief Chronology

1920
Born in Camden, New Jersey (September 7)
1941
B.S., Bucknell University
1942-1944
U.S. Army
1944
M.D., Duke University
1944-1947
Internship and Residency, Boston Marine Hospital
1944-1946
Resident, Tuberculosis Grasslands Hospital, Valhalla, NY
1946
Received specialized training in bacteriology and tuberculosis, Michigan State Health Department and the State Serum Institute of Denmark
1946-1949
Commissioned Officer, U.S. Public Health Service
1947-1949
Director, Tuberculosis Evaluation Laboratory, Communicable Disease Center, Atlanta, GA. Treated tuberculosis in veterans, Lawson Veterans Administration Hospital
1948-1953
Instructor through Associate Professor of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
1949-1953
Chief, Tuberculosis Section and Director Tuberculosis Research Laboratory, Veterans Administration Hospital, Atlanta, GA
1953-1959
Director, Research Services, Veterans Administration, Washington, D.C. Lecturer of Microbiology, George Washington University School of Medicine
1958-1959
Chairman, Committee on Medical Research, National Tuberculosis Association
1958-1960
Chairman, Panel Sarcoidosis National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences
1959-1961
Professor and Chairman, Department of Microbiology, University of Oklahoma
1961-1963
Chief, Office of International Research, National Institute of Health (NIH)
1963-1964
Associate Director for Research Grants, NIH
1964-1983
Director, National Library of Medicine, NIH
1965
Medical Library Assistance Act
1968
Williams & Wilkins Co. v. United States of America
1980
Dedication of the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications
1984
Director Emeritus, NIH, National Library of Medicine (NLM)
1984
Consultant and Member, Board of Directors, Council on Library Resources
1986-1990
Distinguished Professor, Georgetown University School of Medicine

Collection Summary

Administrative records, correspondence, medical research files, publications, and speeches (1944-1989; 116 linear feet) document the administrative and medical career of Martin Marc Cummings, Director of the National Library of Medicine between 1964-1984. Materials cover Cummings' career as National Library of Medicine Director, Director Emeritus starting in 1984, and his portions of research career on sarcoidosis and tuberculosis from 1948 to 1963.

The bulk of the collection consists of Cummings' administrative files as Director of the National Library of Medicine. Of special interest is Series 3: NLM Administration, 1956-1982, documenting Cummings major institutional and political accomplishments such as the development of the NLM Extramural Program, the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communication, and MEDLARS. In addition, Series 6: Speeches, 1961-1983 and Series 11: Publications, 1946-1982 document NLM's major milestones and achievements during his leadership. His inter-governmental work in the area of science policy, education, and computer science is best reflected in Series 5: Committees and Series 4: Subject Files.

Of note regarding the landmark copyright case with Williams & Wilkins Co., only four files are to be found in Series 4: Subject Files, 1951-1984. After the Supreme Court case, Cummings' office combined his files with Scott Adams' and the Reference Service Division's files concerning this matter which then was accessioned and processed as MS C 421 Williams & Wilkins Co. v. The United States Records.

Abstract

Administrative records, correspondence, medical research files, publications, and speeches document the administrative and medical career of Martin Marc Cummings, Director of the National Library of Medicine from 1964-1984. The bulk of the collection consists of Cummings' administrative files as NLM Director.

Physical Location

Materials stored onsite. History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine

Provenance

Transfer, NLM/OD, 1989 and 2001. Acc. #564, 573, 580, 2001-16.

General

Processed by
Daniel J. Lavoie, II (History Associates, Inc.); John P. Rees
Encoded by
John P. Rees
Processing completed
May 2006; March 2019
Title
Finding Aid to the National Library of Medicine. Office of the Director, Martin M. Cummings Papers, 1944-1989
Status
Unverified Partial Draft
Author
Daniel J. Lavoie, II (History Associates, Inc.); John P. Rees
Date
May 2006; March 2019
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latn
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English
Edition statement
2.0

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Archives and Modern Manuscripts Collection Collecting Area

Contact:
8600 Rockville Pike
Bldg 38/1E-21, MSC 3819
Bethesda MD 20894 US
1-888-FINDNLM (1-888-346-3656)