This is an unprecedented time for everyone in the Johns Hopkins Medicine family — and the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions wants to preserve as many details about it as possible.
The Chesney Archives invites all faculty and staff members, students and volunteers throughout the institution to submit their stories now, while memories are the sharpest and most accurate. The online submission form includes a short series of questions to capture each person’s role and institutional affiliation as well as a section to type or paste the story.
“The individuals who keep the Johns Hopkins health divisions functioning at optimal level 24/7 for delivery of health care, critical research and the training of health professionals are remarkable for their resilience in times of change and crisis,” says Nancy McCall, director of the Chesney Archives. “We now want to learn how they are facing the challenges that COVID-19 brings to every level of each division. We want to hear from staff of facilities services, housekeeping, security and IT support, laboratory and clinical staff, as well as physicians, nurses, research scientists, public health specialists, house staff, students, administrators and executive leadership. The archives is committed to preserving the record of their experiences as an example for future generations.”
The Chesney Archives has administrative records showing how The Johns Hopkins Hospital responded to the deadly influenza pandemic of 1918–1919, yet it has few recollections from people.
The archives’ collections do contain some letters written by physicians, nurses, students and others who recount their experiences during that dire emergency a century ago. Also included are the diaries of William Henry Welch, one of the four founding physicians of Johns Hopkins Medicine. However, many of those on the front lines of that pandemic failed to maintain — or keep — records about what they did to combat it.
McCall says staff members have been searching institutional websites and preserving e-publications to document how Johns Hopkins Medicine is handling the COVID-19 crisis. They are developing strategies to organize all of this material, and they have asked the faculty and staff who are leading the fight against COVID-19 to save relevant items for the archives.
McCall says the archives is focused on documenting more fully “the personal, on-the-ground stories from a diverse cross section of the workforce and student population of Johns Hopkins Medicine, nursing and public health during the time of COVID-19.”
If you have questions, please contact the Chesney Archives: [email protected].