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Elizabeth W. Sherwood was born in Jeffersonville, New York. She received her nursing diploma in 1918 from New York City Hospital and attended the Teachers College of Columbia University before beginning her nursing career in 1919. She worked in two hospitals in New York before coming to Johns Hopkins in 1924 as nurse in charge of the general operating rooms at the hospital. During her time at Johns Hopkins the number of operating rooms grew from three to fourteen and the technology and techniques involved in surgery changed significantly. She served with chiefs of surgery J.M.T. Finney, Dean Lewis, Warfield M. Firor, and Alfred Blalock before retiring in 1958.

Scope and Content

The Elizabeth W. Sherwood Collection emphasizes her work in nursing administration and surgery. It includes materials related to early television broadcasts from the general operating rooms at Johns Hopkins. The materials document the 1947 broadcast of Alfred Blalock demonstrating the life-saving procedure he devised, commonly known as the “blue baby” operation. There are also materials related to a similar color television transmission two years later at Johns Hopkins, which is identified as being the first medical program transmitted between two cities. The materials include clippings, programs, and scripts related to this Johns Hopkins broadcast from Baltimore to the clinical sessions of the American Medical Association, in Washington, D.C., in 1949. The Sherwood papers also contain correspondence (1939-1941) with the American Red Cross regarding the production of war-time surgical dressings and an album of letters and photographs presented as a retirement gift from the surgeons she assisted during her years at Johns Hopkins.

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