OBITUARY: William (Bill) Kaye Beatty, 1926-2002
Beatty, Virginia L., Journal of the Medical Library Association
William (Bill) Kaye Beatty, medical bibliographer, educator, librarian/archivist, medical historian, and MLA fellow died on December 9, 2002, in Evanston, Illinois, of complications from heart disease and multiple myeloma.
Bill Beatty was born in Toronto, Canada, February 5, 1926. His schooling included Appleby in Canada (whose British "public school" traditions introduced him to cricket, Gilbert and Sullivan, and Greek grammar), schools in Indiana and Pennsylvania, and finally the Kent School in Connecticut. While there, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served with the 617th Field Artillery Observation Battalion in the Rome-Arno and Po Valley Campaigns of 1944-45.
After the war, he studied classics at Harvard (1946-49) and worked as a library intern at Widener. He continued his education at Columbia, where he received a bachelor of arts degree in classical languages and literature in 1951 and a master of science degree in library science in 1952. He commuted from Philadelphia to New York in the summer of 1955 to take Tom Fleming's course in medical librarianship at Columbia, and he later received MLA grade I certification (number 655).
On June 14, 1952, he married Virginia Lewis, a fellow library school student, and they moved to Wilmington, where she began work with the Atomic Energy Commission's Savannah River Project at DuPont. Bill commuted to Philadelphia, working at the College of Physicians, first as circulation librarian and, later, as assistant librarian. Its director, W. B. McDaniel II, had wide interests in classics and the history of medicine. He mentored Bill and encouraged him to consider medical Iibrarianship, and he named him editor of Transactions and Studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
In 1956, Bill became associate librarian and assistant (later associate) professor of medical bibliography at the University of Missouri-Columbia; he was also consultant on the design of the library for the newly expanded medical school. During this time, Bill offered courses in medical history to students, founded the university's Medical History Group, and established the A. R. McComas medical history contest for students. Ralph H. Parker , the university librarian, encouraged him to be active in library association work.
Bill joined Northwestern University in 1962, as professor of medical bibliography and as consultant on renovating the existing library. He also held the administrative appointment of medical librarian until his resignation from that post in 1974, when he began courses in the history of medicine for students and medical writing seminars for house staff and faculty. From 1976 onward, he divided his time between the Chicago and Evanston campuses, teaching at the one and serving as archival associate at the other. He was made professor emeritus in 1994.
From the beginning of his career, Bill was active in library association activities, at the local, state, and national level. In the Special Libraries Association (SLA), he served as the employment chair for its Philadelphia Council (1953-56), was later on its Board of Directors (1964-67), and was a nominee for president in 1971. In the American Library Association (ALA), he served as the Medical Library Association (MLA) representative to the Committee on Bibliography (1957-61), which led to his becoming a regular member of that committee. Other activities included the Reference and Subscription Books Review Committee and the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on National Library Information Systems (1967-70). In 1965, he was president of the Association of Hospital and Institution Libraries (AHIL).
MLA received much of his attention. In 1954, he served on the Nominating Committee of the Philadelphia Chapter and volunteered his service on Vital Notes on Medical Periodicals, of which he became editor the following year. From then until 1976, he gathered material from colleagues worldwide: information on the births, marriages, deaths, and name changes of health sciences journals. He was also chair of the Editorial Committee for Vital Notes.
The list of his many other MLA appointments, assignments, and offices includes:
* Committee on Periodical and Serial Publications, chair (1955-61)
* Medical School Libraries Group, chair (1960)
* Program Committee for the Annual Meeting in Kansas City (1960)
* Program Committee for the Annual Meeting in Chicago (1962)
* Board of Directors (1966-69)
* Finance Committee (1966-69)
* Program Committee for the Annual Meeting in Louisville, chair (1969)
* Editorial Committee for the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association (1975-85)
* Editorial Committee on Supplements to Medical Reference Works (1966, 1972)
* Nominating Committee (1976)
* History of Medicine Group, chair (1979)
From 1979 to 1986, with his wife, Virginia, he served as co-archivist and prepared the MLA archives for deposit in the National Library of Medicine (NLM). For over thirty years (1959-90), he contributed "Winnowings" and "Journal Notes" to the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association, and he wrote extensively on medical and health sciences library topics [2-13].
In the 1960s and 1970s, Bill consulted on developing programs and on planning seventeen libraries in the United States and Canada. Among them were the medical libraries at the University of Vermont, McMaster University, University of Utah, University of Oklahoma, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the University of Arkansas, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
He consulted on many other projects. From 1965 to 1987, Bill worked with NLM on selection of materials for MEDLARS and Index Medicus. He was consultant for the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth editions of Stedmaris Medical Dictionary, covering history/biography and etymology. In 1982, he was a member of the faculty for a workshop "Selective Information Systems for Medical Libraries in the People's Republic of China." This workshop was held in Beijing and sponsored by the People's Republic, the China Medical Board, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Bill wrote more than 175 articles and book chapters and more than 2,000 book reviews (primarily for Library Journal and Booklist but also for library and medical journals, as well as for other publications such as Archeology and Technology and Culture). He coauthored, with Geoffrey Marks, five books on the history of medicine: The Medical, Garden, Women in White: Their Role as Doctors Through the Ages, The Precious Metals of Medicine, The Story of Medicine in America, and Epidemics (the last two were among Library Journal's outstanding sci-tech books). He served on the Board of Governors of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago (1986-91) and wrote biographical articles for its Proceedings, covering previously undocumented women, African-American, and other ethnic physicians who had made important contributions to Chicago medicine. The depth and range of his interests is manifest by a couple of articles, one on ancient coins  and the other about the Chicago cholera epidemic .
From 1996 until his death, he volunteered as librarian/archivist at the Frances Willard Memorial Library in Evanston, assisting graduate students and faculty from all over the world who worked in the areas of history and woman's studies. He was a member of the Evanston Human Relations Commission from 1972 to 1979. He had a passionate commitment to education, both formal and informal. He believed in reading-reading stories out loud to his children every night-and encouraged librarians and physicians to keep up with the literature of their professions. Bill believed in the power of the written word and exhorted students to use the English language as a scalpel rather than as a meat ax. As a teacher, he delighted in seeing the light of new understanding flash on in a student's or a colleague's eyes.
Bill held himself and others to high standards. He was hard working and well organized. He never sought a job or an appointment but, when asked, did well anything that he promised; he was a fanatic about deadlines. He was generous in giving of himself to his profession, his colleagues, and his family. He was good company and a loyal friend. He had a great sense of humor and was quietly proud of having become a full professor at age thirty-six, his command of Greek grammar, his baseball knowledge, and his ability to do the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in ink.
William K. Beatty is listed in Who's Who in America and in Contemporary Authors. Honors and Awards include SLA's John Cotton Dana Lecture (1968); MLA's Ida and George Eliot Prize (1973); the D. J. Davis Lecture in Medical History, University of Illinois (1974); MLA's Special Award (1990); and MLA Fellowship (1997).
A few of his early papers are in the archives of the University of Missouri, while the bulk is at the Northwestern University Archives; most of the material related to Vital Notes on Medical Periodicals is now in the MLA archives at the NLM.
* Medical bibliographer, founder of the Medical Literature (later Documentation) Service at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and partner in the consulting firm of Beatty and Beatty. She is also known as Mrs. William Kaye Beatty and is the mother of two daughters, Margaret M. Beatty and Carol E. Beatty, and a son, the late William B. K. Beatty.
1. BBATTY VL, BEATTY WK. Ralph Halstead Parker, 1909-1989. Bull Med Libr Assoc 1991 Apr;79(2):259-61.
2. BEATTY WK. A historical review of bibliotherapy. Libr Trends 1962 Oct; 11(2):106-17.
3. BEATTY WK. Library service (review of literature concerning hospital libraries, 1960-1962). Hospitals 1963 Apr 16; 37(8):117-8,120,122.
4. BEATTY WK. Biomedical libraries. In: Encyclopedia of library and information science. New York, NY: Decker, 1969;(2):554-603.
5. BEATTY WK. Keys to the medical literature. New Physician 1969 Aug;18(8):634-641. (Reprinted in a number of anthologies.)
6. BEATTY WK. Selection, acquisition, and weeding. In: Annan GL, Felter JW, eds. Handbook of medical library practice. 3d ed. Chicago, IL: Medical Library Association, 1970:71-92.
7. BEATTY WK. Searching the literature comes before writing the literature. Ann Intern Med 1973 Dec;79:917-24.
8. BEATTY WK, BEATTY VL. A medical collection. American Libraries 1974 May;5(5):250-3.
9. BEATTY WK, BEATTY VL. Medical school libraries in the United States and Canada built between 1961 and 1971 (part I). Bull Med Libr Assoc 1975 Jul; 63(3):324-36.
10. BEATTY WK, BEATTY VL. Medical school libraries in the United States and Canada built between 1961 and 1971 (part II). Bull Med Libr Assoc 1975 Oct; 63(4):396-404.
11. BEATTY WK, BEATTY VL. Sources of medical information. JAMA 1976 Jul 5; 236(1):78-82.
12. BEATTY WK. Libraries and how to use them. In: Warren KS, ed. Coping with the biomedical literature. New York, NY: Praeger, 1981:199-225.
13. BEATTY WK. The bright thread: the Bulletin's 75th anniversary. Bull Med Libr Assoc 1986 Jul;74(3):191-204. (Reprinted: BEATTY WK. The bright thread: the Bulletin's 75th anniversary. [MLA centennial issue]. Bull Med Libr Assoc 1998 Apr;86(2):237-48.)
14. BEATTY WK. Some medical aspects of Greek and Roman coins. Bull New York Academy of Medicine 1974 Jan; 50(1):8-95.
15. BEATTY WK. When cholera scoured Chicago. Chicago History 1982 Spring; 11(1):2-13.
Virginia L. Beatty*
Evanston, Illinois 60201…
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Publication information: Article title: OBITUARY: William (Bill) Kaye Beatty, 1926-2002. Contributors: Beatty, Virginia L. - Author. Journal title: Journal of the Medical Library Association. Volume: 91. Issue: 3 Publication date: July 2003. Page number: 383+. © Medical Library Association Apr 2008. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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