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Samuel B. Guze Oral History (OH102)

  • OH102
  • Collection

An interview of the Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project, conducted by Edwin W. McCleskey and associates, 1990. Approximate Length: 49 minutes. Interviewers, Bill Geideman and James Carter.

Guze discusses his experience with segregation and desegregation of Barnes Hospital, Renard Hospital, its psychiatric service and unit. He guessed the psychiatric service desegregated the Barnes Hospital psychiatric unit in October 1953.

He and the interviewers had a clearer timeline for desegregation of admission of medical students to the Washington University School of Medicine. He said the executive faculty gave the admissions committee discretion in flexible criteria for admission for those with disadvantaged educational background. Roy Vagelos of Biochemistry was a key player on the Executive Faculty along with John Herweg, who headed the admissions committee starting in the early 1960s. Guze recalled that the first African American medical student (1953?) had difficulty and the second had no difficulty, but the executive faculty wanted more African Americans admitted and numbers did not start to go up significantly until about 1968. This was due to the hiring of Bob Lee, Dean of Minority Affairs, whose sole responsibility at first was minority students.

Guze discusses the parallel but related desegregation of the St. Louis City Hospital and health care systems. He notes that the segregated city healthcare system included two large general hospitals, Homer G. Phillips (St. Louis City Hospital no. 2) built in 1937 on the north side for African-Americans and older St. Louis City Hospital (no. 1 or Max Starkloff) for whites on the south side. He said there was one psychiatric unit at the Malcolm Bliss Center for whites and a separate psychiatric unit for blacks run by black psychiatrists at Homer G. Phillips Hospital. And he recalled that there was a long-standing formal teaching arrangement with 'Max Starkloff or St. Louis City Hospital no. 1 in several services on the south side including psychiatry, medicine, surgery, infectious disease unit, laboratory and isolation unit. But he noted the teaching arrangement with Homer G. Phillips Hospital was less complete and depended on personal relationships in each Service. For example the teaching arrangement with the Surgery Service at Homer G. Phillips was more complete because of the efforts of Robert Elman of the Surgery Department at Washington University School of Medicine to have regular teaching rounds at Homer G. Phillips. Guze notes that desegregation of both facilities led the city to evaluate whether the city needed two large general hospital complexes. A group of black physicians approached Guze in the 1970s about an affiliation, but Guze insisted on conditions that Homer G. Phillips was not prepared to meet then including the right to appoint medical staff.

Guze, Samuel B.

Jacob G. Probstein Papers

  • FC060
  • Collection
  • 1920-1979

The Jacob G. Probstein papers include short transcripts of at least two oral history interviews with Probstein on Jewish Hospital (1977), Probstein's short histories of the pancreatitis research group: "Sam Gray/ Michael Somogyi/ May Fund and Pancreatis"(1979), and two letters from Helen Graham about Evarts A. Graham(1965-1968). The Jacob G. Probstein reprints, 1924-1970 are the bulk of the material. The focus of the oral histories are Jewish Hospital of St. Louis, its chiefs of surgery, its patients (the Jewish community), its donors, the role of nurses and nurse administrators, Dr. Michael Somogyi and the pancreatitis and diabetes research group, the clinics, and early operative techniques in the old Delmar location of the hospital.

Probstein, J. G. (Jacob G.)