Frank J. Sladen Library History

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Henry Ford Hospital has continually maintained a library to assist both the medical staff and affiliated patients. Upon founding in 1915, Dr. Frank J. Sladen, the first Physician-In-Chief, formed the early hospital library with his own medical book collection. During the 1918 hospital occupation of recuperating World War I soldiers, the American Library Association maintained a library at the temporary U.S. Army Hospital #36. When the hospital reopened in 1919, Dr. Sladen investigated other medical libraries, including the Johns Hopkins library in his formation of early policies. The first Henry Ford Hospital Library annual report of December 1922 indicates a collection of 2,600 books and 1,180 pamphlets. The library also cooperated extensively with the Wayne County Medical Library, the University of Michigan Medical Library and the Library of the Surgeon General's Office. Dr. Frank Sladen and Dr. Roy McClure, the first Surgeon-In-Chief, both worked attentively in creating positive relationships with the national and Detroit Metropolitan medical community.

The growing library became a major focus in continuing medical education at the hospital. In 1926, Henry Ford Hospital documented this early research in the book, The Collected Papers by the Staff of the Henry Ford Hospital 1916-1925. Both Dr. Frank J. Sladen and Dr. Roy McClure were from the Johns Hopkins Medical School and known for their extensive medical studies. This in turn attracted more Hopkins graduates to the hospital with unique research specialties. Consequently, the hospital staff authored numerous articles, published books and newsletters during this innovative period. The Henry Ford Hospital International Symposiums held from 1953-1975 and the Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal, 1953-1992, were two of the distinguished medical works.

The Sladen Library staff has significantly assisted in the public dissemination of medical information. In addition to providing literature and information to patients and staff, the early Henry Ford Hospital librarians co-founded the Metropolitan Detroit Medical Library Group (MDMLG) which was dedicated to collaborating with local biomedical libraries. The group began as the Biological Sciences Group of the Michigan Chapter of the Special Libraries Association in 1946 and consisted of area medical librarians. In the 1960's, with the Wayne State University Medical Library, MDMLG was most notably responsible for the development of the local interlibrary loan network, the formation of the union catalog of monographs and the production of a serials locator tool. Today the group continues to work on special library projects promoting the health science sectors.

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In 1978, the Henry Ford Hospital Medical Library was rededicated as the Frank J. Sladen Library in honor of the physician's work. The renowned medical library, providing state-of-the-art library services in the delivery of information, also maintains the history of the hospital in the Conrad R. Lam, M.D. Archives. Dr. Lam collected documents on Henry Ford Health history and is recognized as its first historian. This rare historical collection was formally merged with the Frank J. Sladen, M.D. Library in 1979.


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