SRS Newsletter
December 2012
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Historian's Corner: the SRS Archives at the University of Kansas Medical Center

Behrooz A. Akbarnia, MD

Behrooz A. Akbarnia, MD

The SRS Archives – A Historical Collection at the University of Kansas Medical Center
Our society is fortunate enough to have established an endowment fund to support the SRS archives at KUMC. We are now able to store, not only the important documents, but also historical articles for future generations. Below is the description of the archives and how the SRS fellowship can use, as well as. 

Nancy J. Hulston, MA
Adjunct Associate Professor – History of Medicine
Director of Archives– KUMC

The Archives of the University of Kansas Medical Center serve as a repository for significant historical artifacts, photographs, books and papers charting the development and accomplishments of the SRS and its members. The Archives are organized for members interested in the history of spinal and orthopedic surgery in the United States and for study by qualified researchers.

The SRS Archives include: Annual Meeting Folders from 1965 to present, Presidential Cycles, Board of Directors Meetings, Committee Reports, Members Business Meetings, Annual Meeting Planning, Presidential Address and Harrington Lecturers Notes, Multi-District Pedicle Screw Litigation, Nominating Committee Notes, Committee Files, Alphabetical Subject Files, Related Meetings and Publications, Presidential Addresses, Harrington Guest Lecturer, Guest Speakers, Orthopedic Bone Screw Products Liability Litigation, Membership Correspondence, Morbidity and Mortality Reports and Financial Statements. Additional materials include photographs, audio-visual media and artifacts. These materials will be added to periodically. Books that were deposited with the archival materials have been distinctively identified, catalogued and shelved in the Clendening History of Medicine Library.

Also affiliated with Special Collections related to the history of spinal orthopedics are the papers of former SRS members Paul Randall Harrington, MD, and Walter P. Blount, MD.  During the 1960s, Harrington developed the first successful spinal instrumentation system, which, with few modifications, remained the most widely used system for about 25 years. Over the years Harrington became internationally recognized as an authority on scoliosis. A founding member of SRS, he served as its president from 1972-1973.

Dr. Walter P. Blount was a pioneer in the development of the Milwaukee Brace for treatment of scoliosis and the Blount Staple used in treatment of unequal leg length as an alternative to osteotomy.  He did extensive work on Erlacher-Blount syndrome, also known as Tibia Vara, and was one of the first surgeons to recognize fractures in children as a possible symptom of abuse.  He served as president of the Orthopaedic Clinical Society (OCS) in 1946 and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons(AAOS), 1955-1956, and as vice president of the Societe Internationale de Chirugie Othopedique et de Traumatologie International Society of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology (SICOT), from 1963 to 1966.

Individuals interested in contributing historical materials appropriate to the archival collections should contact Nancy Hulston, MA, the university archivist at the University of Kansas Medical Center or Katy Kujala-Korpela at the SRS Administrative Office. Access to the archives is open to SRS members and to qualified researchers who have been granted appropriate permission by the SRS Historian. A portion of the SRS Archives has been digitized and posted in a special segment of the organization’s website: 

Committee Chair: Behrooz A. Akbarnia, MD Committee Members: Nathan H. Lebwohl, MD, Past Chair; Vishal Sarwahi, MD; Azmi Hamzaoglu, MD; Reinhard D. Zeller, MD; Lawrence I. Karlin, MD; Alistair G. Thompson, FRCS; Jason Lowenstein, MD.