Chapter 04: An Opportunity to Work at the New Cancer Hospital, MD Anderson

Title

Chapter 04: An Opportunity to Work at the New Cancer Hospital, MD Anderson

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Description

Mrs. McGready sketches how she was working as a medical librarian at University of Texas Medical Branch when she was offered an opportunity to work at MD Anderson. MD Anderson had just come in to Houston, housed in Baker Estate. Dr. Bertner, in charge, everything comes through him. Repeat of story of MD Anderson’s one car, a Ford station wagon.

Publication Date

10-7-2016

Publisher

The Historical Resources Center, The Research Medical Library, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The Interview Subject's Story; Joining MD Anderson/Coming to TexasJoining MD Anderson; Personal Background; MD Anderson History

Disciplines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History

Transcript

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

So, I wanted to ask you -- first of all, tell me how you ended up getting connected with MD Anderson.

Mary Catherine McGready

Well, it [MD Anderson] had just come into Houston. And I was working for Elizabeth Runge, a medical librarian -- and I don’t mean regular librarian, but medical. And I knew that that’s what I wanted to do.

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

Now, can I ask you why -- you just said not a regular librarian, but a medical librarian. What’s the difference? Why is medical librarian special?

Mary Catherine McGready

Well, a general library would have books, novels, that kind of thing. But this is strictly medical. One hundred percent medical.

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

Now, why did you know you wanted to be a medical librarian and not a general librarian?

Mary Catherine McGready

Because when I was in Galveston I met Elizabeth Runge. And that’s where I knew that that’s what I wanted to do. And I just had two years in college, and I told Daddy I didn't want to go back. And he said no. “You get a degree, and then we will talk about it.” And I said, “But Daddy, this is what I really know I want, and I can do it now.” Well, he had three boys in school at the same time. And I don’t think it took too long to convince him that -- as he said, “We will do this. We will do it for one year, and then you’ll go back to school.” At the end of one year, I said, “Daddy, this is what I want to do.” “No, you need a degree.” “Give me one more year.” And he agreed. I think having four boys -- three boys -- in college, he was -- of course, they all worked, but still, they -- he was still buying them white shirts. So...

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

It’s an expense.

Mary Catherine McGready

Yeah. And so that’s -- I -- now my brother was in medical school at the time, and he knew Elizabeth Runge, and he told her that his little sister was very interested in this. So I had an unpaid internship for the first summer.

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

What year was that? Was it ’44 or ’43?

Mary Catherine McGready

Forty-two.

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

Forty-two! Wow.

Mary Catherine McGready

So I finally convinced Daddy that I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Well, I loved Elizabeth Runge -- named my first child from her. So we stayed close.

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

So how did she connect you with MD Anderson? What -- how did that happen?

Mary Catherine McGready

MD Anderson had just come into Texas, and they were housed in the old Baker estate. And the Bakers left a gardener and a houseboy on duty to take care of -- maintain the place. And Dr. Bertner was acting physician (inaudible), and so all the things came through him, and he signed everything. So the MD Anderson Hospital had one car, a Ford station wagon. And they said, “Do you have a license?” I said, “I’ve been driving since I was 14.” “Do you have a license?” “Do I need a license?” “You need a license.”

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

That’s funny. But that was when you got employed there. How did you get the job there?

Mary Catherine McGready

Because I wanted to stay in Galveston because I was in love with a medical student. And that’s how I would -- that’s how I was going to arrange it.

Chapter 04: An Opportunity to Work at the New Cancer Hospital, MD Anderson

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