Recent Acquisitions

Barnes, W. Harry | The Necessity of Bronchoscopy in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Diseases of the Lungs

  • First and only edition of a talk by the first Black doctor to become a board-certified specialist and to use the bronchoscope, given at a meeting of the first organisation for African American medical professionals.

    W. Harry Barnes (1887-1945) was a “nationally recognized ear, nose, and throat specialist whose ‘ability as a diagnostician and surgeon was equalled by few, and surpassed by none’” (Krapp, Notable Black American Scientists, p. 20). Barnes grew up poor with “a fierce determination to rise out of poverty and to pursue a career as a professional” (Krapp). He won a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, receiving his M.D. in 1912 and returning in 1921 for postgraduate work in otolaryngology. Unable to receive higher training in the US, he studied at the Universities of Paris and Bordeaux and was later mentored by the renowned Dr. Chevalier Jackson, who taught him the use of the bronchoscope. Barnes established a department of bronchoscopy at Mercy Hospital and later accepted a teaching position at Howard University.

    “Barnes was an innovator in his field. His invention of the hypophyscope, an instrument used to visualize the pituitary gland through the sphenoid sinus, made him famous. His accomplishments included other innovative operative techniques as well as a streamlined, efficient medical record system. Barnes was very active in the National Medical Association, for which he presented papers and gave demonstrations. One such demonstration showed the speedy and bloodless technique of his ten-minute tonsillectomy. He became president of the Association in 1935” (Krapp).

    Established in 1895, the National Medical Association is the “oldest and largest organization representing African American physicians and health professionals in the United States” and was founded when “membership in America’s professional organizations, including the American Medical Association (AMA), was restricted to whites only. The AMA determined medical policy for the country and played an influential role in broadening the expertise of physicians. When a group of black doctors sought membership into the AMA, they were repeatedly denied admission. Subsequently, the NMA was created for black doctors and health professionals who found it necessary to establish their own medical societies and hospitals” (NMA website).

  • ...Read at National Medical Ass. Convention, Aug. 16, 1933. [Philadelphia], 1933.

    8 page pamphlet, stapled. Minor crease to the tail of the spine. Excellent condition.