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Information on Anna

Anna's Story: An Unofficial Mascot for Comparative Medicine

Anna - The unofficial mascot for the Department of Medicine

Anna by De Nyse Turner, Oil on Panel, courtesy of The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, photograph by Aaron Levin

“Anna’s origins were indefinite, her age was unknown, but she was a full grown dog when she was operated upon in 1943 to help perfect the Blalock-Taussig operation (the blue baby operation).  Afterwards, the laboratory became her home, and she was the pet of everyone who came to visit. She was photographed several times by leading magazines and newspapers with former “blue babies” who came to see her on their return visits to Dr. Taussig and Dr. Blalock. In 1950 her story was made into a motion picture, which is the property of the Maryland Society for Medical Research, and the film has been shown to schools and other groups. In 1951 this portrait was painted by DeNyse W. Turner and was presented to the Johns Hopkins Hospital by the Baltimore Animal Aid Association. At that time a special medal was presented to Anna. Anna spent 15 happy years of her life in the Surgical Research Laboratories, and died there at a ripe old age in 1957.”                                       - Dr. Alex Haller, July, 1975



In 1950, Dr. Alfred Blalock commissioned this portrait by DeNyse W. Turner and suggested a prominent place to hang it where "the children would derive a lot of pleasure from (it)." 
Read the transcript and see a copy of the letter.


In 1975, Vivien Thomas, a surgical technician for the blue baby operation, responded to Dr. Alex Haller's article on Anna in the Johns Hopkins Medical Journal. 
Read the transcript and see a copy of the letter.