People

TMC Ceremony Marks Collaboration Between U.S. and Japan


By Maggie Galehouse | March 02, 2017

Japanese archivists and historians visited the TMC Library’s McGovern Historical Center on Wednesday for a ceremony marking the end of a project to digitize the records of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission.

“We have to take these opportunities to think again about past wars,” said Masahito Ando, Ph.D., a professor of archival science at Gakushuin University in Tokyo who led the project with fellow archivist Kaori Maekawa, Ph.D. “The duty of historians and archivists is to keep and convey memories.”

Preserving the past, Ando added, helps us avoid repeating mistakes in the future.

The Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) was established by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1946—one year after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki—to study the effects of nuclear radiation on survivors and their children. A joint enterprise of the U.S. and Japan, the commission lasted until 1975, when it was succeeded by a nonprofit, the Radiation Research Effects Foundation.

The digital archive now available at the McGovern Historical Center gathers official ABCC records that include minutes from meetings, technical reports, annual reports, photographs and more. This rare collaboration with Japanese historians and archivists aims to provide more information about the effects of radiation to the public, policymakers and survivors of atomic bombings, testings and radiation accidents, said Philip Montgomery, MLIS, CA, head of the TMC Library’s McGovern Historical Center.

“The whole point is, we want to discourage the use of radiation in a weaponized manner,” Montgomery said.

This project began in Washington, D.C., with Japanese archivists digitizing the ABCC records for their own purposes. When they decided to make the material available to a broader population, they asked the McGovern Historical Center to store the digitized records and determine the best way to share them with a wider audience.

“We will work now for the next year developing a website and figuring out how to present the material,” Montgomery said.

The McGovern Historical Center already has vast holdings of unofficial atomic bomb records—including diaries, photos and letters—thanks in large part to R. Lee Clark, M.D., the first president of MD Anderson Cancer Center. Clark recruited people from the ABCC to work in the Texas Medical Center, so many of their records ended up in the TMC archive.

Included in the holdings are the papers of William J. Schull, Ph.D., professor emeritus of genetics and epidemiology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston’s School of Public Health. Schull, who attended Wednesday’s ceremony, joined the ABCC in 1949 and spent decades traveling to Japan and studying the genetic impact of radiation on human health. In honor of his service to the Japanese people, Schull received the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Third Class from the Emperor of Japan in 1992.

Getting the ABCC records digitized, Schull said, shows “how two totally different cultures, with totally different languages and standards, managed to work together.”

At the ceremony, Ando gave the hard drive of digitized materials, wrapped like a present in silver paper, to Montgomery. When the ceremony concluded, the hard drive was loaded into a library computer for guests to peruse.

“There is a very poor archive system in my country, and it is a very serious problem,” Ando said. “We have to bring back history to the hands of ordinary people.”

Tags | People



Social Posts

profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Run for the Wall riders to stop in Tuscaloosa https://t.co/9JjuvTKWBn via @WBRCNews

39 mins ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

Prominent health professionals addressed students, faculty, staff and guests when UTHealth's six professional schools held 2018 commencement ceremonies during the month of May, graduating more than 1,200 students. https://t.co/sFlhaOIZ6h #UTHealth18 #ManyFacesOfUTHealth

1 hour ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

https://t.co/32gAsIydIu

1 hour ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

RT @McGovernMed: Dr. Mona A. Eissa, professor and division director in the Department of Pediatrics, spoke with KPRC about a new study that…

1 hour ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

RT @MDA_UTHGrad: Videos from our 2018 commencement ceremony are now live on YouTube!: https://t.co/e3Eq39Nc3n #WeAreGSBS #UTHealth #endcanc…

1 hour ago
profile_image

TAMU Health Sciences

@TAMHSC

@TAMUDental awarded a $3.5 million Center of Excellence grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services https://t.co/tkuTtMQDpi https://t.co/ZrNrPuwF89

1 hour ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

A #stemcelltransplant is often used to treat #leukemia, #lymphoma, #multiplemyeloma and #MDS. Learn how they work. #endcancer https://t.co/xMW7tlcuo9

2 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Million Veteran Program: VA wants Veterans to be part of health database https://t.co/QwNPP54H1t via @WCPO

2 hours ago
profile_image

TAMU Health Sciences

@TAMHSC

Thank you, and congratulations, to our faculty and staff that were recognized for their positive influence on student veterans across the Health Science Center https://t.co/SMJTKyU0xS https://t.co/3j9AQ5jo1K

2 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Get ready for the long weekend with these safety tips from our experts! https://t.co/hKLFVXpgbo https://t.co/ShFH0CGGm3

2 hours ago
profile_image

Houston Methodist

@MethodistHosp

.@MethodistHosp researchers have identified a new treatment option for organ transplant acceptance by targeting T-cells. https://t.co/ecCbLRW7Vq

2 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

https://t.co/KxohEzEYAY

3 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

National Memorial Day Concert returns for the 29th year to honor those who served https://t.co/U8heQdGuIk via #VAntagePoint

3 hours ago
profile_image

TAMU Health Sciences

@TAMHSC

RT @carrie_byington: As #MemorialDay approaches, we honor those who gave their lives in military service for our freedoms. Their legacies a…

3 hours ago
profile_image

Houston Methodist

@MethodistHosp

@TXMedCenter Thanks for sharing the story ^SF

3 hours ago