Chapter 06: Working for Dr. Bertner and the New MD Anderson


Chapter 06: Working for Dr. Bertner and the New MD Anderson



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Mrs. McGready recalls taking papers down to Dr. Ernst Bertner's "private physicians'" office in the Second National Bank Building on Main Street in downtown Houston. She notes that she was with MD Anderson for nine months, until her fiancé was finished w medical school. She was asked to stay on, but made it clear she was "not a career person" and wanted to leave to be married.



Publication Date



The Making Cancer History® Voices Oral History Collection, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center - MD Anderson PastPersonal Background; MD Anderson History

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


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


Tacey A. Rosolowski, PhD:

So what kind of things would you take down to Dr. Bertner to sign?

Mary Catherine McGready

All the late papers that had to be signed. And that was Zuma Krum’s problem [her job] -- and I’d do anything to get -- take the one car, go anywhere. And I would go downtown, where -- he was -- his office was in the Second National Bank, on Main Street -- and that was when we still had policemen out here, (inaudible). And wasn’t I lucky, there was a boy from Timpson doing. And I’d say, “Forrest, I got to go up to Dr. Bertner’s office!” “OK, Mary Catherine. I’ll watch it.” So I’d leave it right in a no-parking zone. Well, that was the advantage of coming from a small town.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, PhD:

Gosh. And a much smaller Houston, too, really tiny. So was his MD Anderson office down in the Second National Bank?

Mary Catherine McGready

That was his private practice. And then the office, though, was at MD Anderson, in the Baker estate. Now the Baker estate was interesting, because they left the two men -- one had been a houseboy and one a gardener -- and they left them to maintain the place. And the gardener brought fresh flowers all the time.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, PhD:

What was it like working at this brand-new, from-scratch hospital?

Mary Catherine McGready

Well, this beautiful old home. And everything had been cleaned out of it. As I said, we used the dining rooms as the nucleus of the library.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, PhD:

Now how long were -- did you stay in that job?

Mary Catherine McGready

Well, until my fiancé finished, and he was going off for an internship. And we married, and so that I could go with him. So I think about nine months.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, PhD:

So did you ever consider staying on in that job? Did they ask you? Or what...

Mary Catherine McGready

Oh, yeah, but I [ ] made it clear that I was not a career person. But when I came back years later and had five children, and I was looking for a job, I knew Helen Holt, who was a [Harris County Medical Society] librarian. So I told Helen I was looking for a job. She said, “I could use you, fine.” So I started working under Helen. They combined two libraries. There was Baylor College of Medicine that they had moved from Dallas -- I believe it was Dallas -- and then the Harris County Medical Society Library. So those were the two that were merged.

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Chapter 06: Working for Dr. Bertner and the New MD Anderson