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USU Archives: Exhibits

USU Archives

1987 Graduates

USU groundbreaking with President Gerald Ford

Dr. Robert J.T. Joy with students

Original location of USU, Bethesda, Maryland

Studying in the LRC

Dr. Robert J.T. Joy

President Ronald Reagan at 1987 Commencement

First USU Commencement, 1980

Dr. Jay Sanford and early USU staffers

Curreris and Sanfords celebrating USU groundbreaking

Dr. Anthony Curreri

Dr. Jay Sanford

USU Construction

Charter Class Students

Artist's Rendering of Cafeteria

Board of Regents and Dr. James Zimble

Artist's Rendering of Campus View

USU Construction

AFIP Welcome

1999 Graduates

1980 Graduates

Rare Book Collection

Rare Book Collection

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Telephone: (301) 295-3350

Audiovisual Collection on YouTube

View USU commencement ceremonies, promotional material, and other related audiovisual content.

USU Archives YouTube Channel

USU Historical Photos

This collection includes photographs of individuals, events, and activities important to the history of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.  The collection includes photographs of the University's groundbreaking and construction, commencements, and early University staff and students.

USU Photos on Flickr

Related Institutions

The following are links to other institutions with collections and exhibits that complement the material in the USU Archives. 

National Museum of Health and Medicine

National Library of Medicine

National Archives and Records Administration


The Archives mounts exhibitions three times a year in the lobby of the Learning Resource Center. These exhibits give the department an opportunity to highlight treasures from our collections and raise awareness of the types of collections that we preserve. The exhibits are open to the University community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Current Exhibits

50th Anniversary USU Logo50th Anniversary of USU: A Retrospective, January 2022 to January 2023

Visit the Learning Resource Center to view our yearlong celebratory exhibit of USU's 50th Anniversary. From September 21, 1972 when Congress passed legislation to create the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and President Richard M. Nixon signed it into law through the establishment of the Graduate School of Nursing, the Postgraduate Dental College, and the College of Allied Health Science, the exhibit traces the history of USU along with the students, faculty, and staff that made it happen.

Past Exhibits

Shetland the therapy dogAnimals in the Military, December 2019 to January 2022

Visit the LRC to view the USU Archives' new exhibit on the history of animals in the military, both in war and in peacetime. The exhibit includes photos, books, and information about the dogs, pigeons, and dolphins (among others) that have been trained and used for companionship, transportation, espionage, and communication.  


The Taliaferro Collection, October 2021 to January 2022

Visit the LRC to view the USU Archives' new exhibit on the Taliaferro Collection, a set of publications and artifacts donated to the USU Library by Dr. Lucy Graves Taliaferro, who for nearly 60 years worked as assistant to her husband Dr. William Hays Taliaferro in the field of parasitology.  The Taliaferros are the focus of the exhibit now on display in the LRC, which highlights their scientific careers. The collection includes publications, pictures, and personal artifacts from the Taliaferros’ personal and professional lives.

Medicine on the Move: WWI and the Ambulance, June 2019 to December 2019

Visit the LRC to view the USU Archives' new exhibit on the history of the ambulance corps in the first World War, including photos, books, and information about the Ambulance Corps, the Red Cross, and the growing role of women during this conflict. 

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Psychological Screening in the Military, March 2019 to July 2019

Visit the LRC to view the USU Archives' new exhibit on the history of psychological screening and intelligence testing in the military. In today’s military, there are three accession tools used to screen applicants who wish to enter the Armed Forces. One of them is a mental health screening. This exhibit outlines the history of mental health screenings and tests used in the military during the 20th century. It provides insights into how these tests evolved and became integrated into the Armed Forces screening process.

Top of the World: The 19th Century Obsession with the Arctic, March 2018 to November 2018

Visit the LRC to view the USU Archives' new exhibit on 19th century arctic exploration. Drawing on the USU Archives' collection of rare books, the exhibit tells the story of the search for the North Pole. The exhibit follows the expeditions led by Sir John Franklin, Charles Francis Hall, and Dr. Elisha Kent Kane. In particular, the exhibit focuses on the mystery of the lost Franklin expedition and fate of the various recovery missions. The exhibit touches on the arctic themes in Mary Shelley's 1818 novel, Frankenstein. To commemorate the 200th anniversary of its publication, the LRC will host NLM's traveling exhibit on Frankenstein in May. Materials housed in the USU Archives on the arctic are compiled in this subject guide.

If it Doesn't Kill You..., January 2018 to November 2018

The LRC is hosting Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures & Medical Prescriptions, an exhibit from the National Library of Medicine through February 17, 2018. The NLM exhibit explores how mind-altering drugs have been used throughout the history of America. While some remain socially acceptable, others are outlawed because of their toxic -- and intoxicating -- characteristics. These classifications have shifted at different times in history, and will continue to change. The six-banner traveling exhibition Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures & Medical Prescriptions explores the factors that have shaped the changing definitions of some of our most potent drugs, from medical miracle to social menace. This exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health and the National Museum of American History. The USU Archives has created an accompanying display, If It Doesn't Kill You . . . which covers the same subject, but includes materials held in the Archives's collections.

Dr. Faye Glenn Abdellah, 1919-2017, First Dean of the Daniel K. Inouye Graduate School of Medicine, July 2017 to February 2018

In memory of Dr. Faye Abdellah, this exhibit highlights her important career, publications, and awards. As founding dean of the USU Graduate School of Medicine, she was a key person in the development of USU. Dr. Abdellah passed away in early 2017.

Disabled Veterans of the American Civil War: Support for Soldiers and Sailors in the Aftermath, July 2017 to December 2017

The LRC is currently hosting the NLM traveling exhibit, Life and Limb, the Toll of the American Civil War. To coordinate with that exhibit, we wanted to shed light on USU collections relating to this topic. The USU Archives’ rare book collection contains several items that relate to surgery, amputations, and patient care during and after the American Civil War. Some of our materials include a memoir by Dr. John H. Brinton, the biography of Dr. Lewis Atterbury Stimson, correspondence from the U.S. Surgeon General, and various publications by the United States Sanitary Commission. All of these aforementioned have been scanned and are searchable from the Archives’ web site. 

The First Five: A Look Back at the Previous Presidents of USU, January 2017 to July 2017

In honor of the installation and investiture ceremony of President Thomas, the USU Archives mounted an exhibit on the first five USU presidents. Visit the exhibit case in the LRC lobby to discover the remarkable men that have guided USU from the 1970s through today. Enjoy photographs and memorabilia on each of the past presidents from the University Archives.

Exhibition of Rare Book: Mundus Subterraneus by Athanasius Kircher (1678), October 2016 to December 2016

For the next few months, the Archives will be displaying Mundus Subterraneus by Athanasius Kircher, which is an oversized rare book published in 1678. Written in Latin, it covers the entirety of the Earth’s geology, from volcanoes and earthquakes to the internal fires in the Earth’s center and the location of the island of Atlantis. Visit the exhibit to see the volume as well as reproductions of some of the book’s many illustrations.

Invisible to the Naked Eye: Microorganisms and Microscopy, October 2015 to February 2016

The LRC will be hosting the traveling exhibit, From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Technology, from NLM this fall, which explores microbes, bacteria, penicillin, and other microscopic organisms. To dovetail with this exhibit, the USU Archives is displaying rare books relating to microscopes and microorganisms. Visit the display case on the first floor to see the evolution of microscopy from the 1590s to today.

Revolutionary Medicine, January 2015 to May 2015

Coinciding with the NLM traveling exhibit, "Every Necessary Care & Attention: George Washington & Medicine," recently displayed in the LRC, the Archives has mounted a new display in January 2015 on medicine during the American Revolution. This exhibit showcases first person narratives of physicians from that period from the Archives' rare book collection. "Revolutionary Medicine" explores the major illnesses, battle wounds, and public health issues of the Revolutionary War as well as how they were treated.


The USU Archives Audiovisual Showcase, July 2014 to December 2014
Over the last year, the Archives has converted over 250 historical VHS and U-matic tapes to digital format. To give the University a taste of some those videos, we are showcasing clips from commencement ceremonies, Congressional hearings, and USU promotional and recruitment videos. To learn more about our digitization project and to enjoy the clips, please visit the computer kiosk under the stairs in the LRC and check out headphones from the LRC computer help desk.


USU Commencement: A Yearly Celebration, March 2014 through July 2014
In celebration of the upcoming USU commencement ceremony, the USU Archives is displaying a collection of treasures from commencements past. USU's first commencement ceremony was held on May 24, 1980 beginning a tradition of having graduation on Armed Forces Day. Twenty-nine students graduated in 1980 and the ceremony was held on campus on the quad. Highlights of the USU commencement ceremonies include distinguished speakers, military bands, and the administration of the Hippocratic Oath. Visit the first floor of the LRC to see the display of commencement ephemera through July.

Nursing, Aid Societies, and Sanitary Service: The Role of Women in the Civil War, July 2013 through February 2014
The USU Archives installed a new exhibit on women in the Civil War to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg. The display highlights the vast Civil War era collections that the Archives houses in its rare book and manuscript collections. Of particular note are quotations from memoirs written by women about their role in the war and photos from that time. The exhibit will be on display on the first floor of the LRC adjacent to the computer classroom through the fall.

In Memoriam: Dr. Kenneth E. Kinnamon, DVM, Ph.D., 1934-2012, April 2013 through July 2013
The USU archives is celebrating the life of Dr. Kenneth Kinnamon, professor in the USU Departments of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, Anatomy, Physiology and Genetics, and Radiology, through an exhibit currently on display in the LRC lobby. In addition to his faculty appointments, Dr. Kinnamon was Associate Dean for Operations for over 11 years and served as director of several departments. He was a member of the USU community since its founding and in 2004 served as editor of The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences: First Generation Reflections, a history of USU. Dr. Kinnamon passed away in December of 2012.

Laying the Foundation: The Charter Class, 1976-1980, November 2012 through March 2013
The Archives' second exhibit celebrating the University's 40th Anniversary is on display now in the LRC lobby. This exhibit focuses on the University's charter class, which matriculated in fall 1976 and graduated in spring 1980. By exploring the earliest students, their coursework, and their extra-curricular activities, the display shows how the foundation was laid for what would become the thriving University that USU is today. Updates on where the charter class is now are also included.

In the Beginning...
  A Look Back at the Early Years of USU, 1972-1976, June 2012 to November 2012

USU is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2012. In connection with this milestone, the Archives mounted an exhibit on the history of the University during that pivotal time after the University was legally established in 1972 and before the first class matriculated in fall 1976. The display gives a glimpse into the challenges of establishing a University in just four years using early Board of Regents meeting minutes, accreditation committee binders, photographs, and oral history interviews. Visitors will learn how the University hired faculty, recruited students, established a curriculum, physically built the school, and became accredited. The exhibit will be on display in the LRC lobby until November 2012.

In Memoriam: Dr. James A. Zimble, 1933-2011, January 2012 through May 2012
The USU Archives is celebrating the life of Dr. James A. Zimble, the fourth President of USU, through an exhibit currently on display in the LRC lobby. Dr. Zimble was President of USU from 1991 to 2004. He came to USU after a long and illustrious career as a Navy physician and after serving as the 30th Surgeon General of the Navy. He served as USU President with dedication and outstanding leadership, which enabled the University to prove its enduring value and to transition into the stable, well-respected University that it is today. Dr. Zimble passed away in December 2011.

Home Remedies & Domestic Medicine, August 2011 through December 2011
The USU Archives houses a collection of over 3,000 rare books covering numerous medical subjects and many of these titles deal with the subjects of housewifery and domestic medicine. The books in the collection vary from texts for doctors and medical professionals to handbooks for wives and mothers, featuring recipes, remedies, and other guidelines for maintaining health and wellness at home.

Emergence of the Combat Medic, April 2011 through July 2011
In conjunction with Military History, the USU Archives has installed an exhibit on enlisted medics and corpsmen. Surgeon General Robert Murray was a strong proponent of creating a permanent corps of enlisted medical professionals. In 1886, Congress realized Murray's dream. Medics have been an integral part of military history and military medicine and continue to fulfill an important role in the armed forces to this day.

In Memoriam: Dr. John H. Cross, PhD, 1923-2010, December 2010 through March 2011
The USU archives is celebrating the life of Dr. John Cross, renowned parasitologist and long time professor in the USU Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, through an exhibit currently on display in the LRC lobby. Dr. Cross passed away in November 2010 after receiving the Uniformed Services University Medal in September. He was well known in the parasitology community for his work in identifying the life cycle of the parasite Capillaria philippinensis and he was a memorable and popular faculty member with USU students.

From the USU Archives: Tropical Medicine and Malaria, November 2010 through January 2011
The USU Archives and the Learning Resource Center have a large collection of materials relating to tropical medicine and specifically, malaria. Tropical medicine is the study of diseases endemic to tropical and subtropical regions of the world, like malaria, yellow fever, filariasis, and schistosomiasis. Because the military frequently practices medicine in these regions it is particularly important for USUHS students to study tropical diseases. This display highlights excerpts from the USU Archives' Oral History Project as well as other material from the 19th through the 20th century found in the Archives and the LRC.

From the USU Archives: The U.S. Sanitary Commission, July 2010 through October 2010

The USU Archives houses a number of Civil War-era documents relating to the United States Sanitary Commission. The Sanitary Commission was an agency of the U.S. Government during the Civil War that raised money and donations of food and clothing. It distributed medicine, ran hospital ships, soldiers' homes, lodges, and resting areas for disabled soldiers. The Archives brings this agency into the spotlight in the exhibit now on display in the LRC lobby, which features pictures, documents, and books related to the U.S. Sanitary Commission and its important contributions to the military during the Civil War.

The Gold-Headed Cane, September 2009 through February 2010

The USU Archives is honored to house a collection of over 3,000 rare books spanning four centuries and covering an array of medical subjects. Much of the collection was donated to USU in 2005 as part of the Sommer Family Collection. This collection contains medical books and periodicals dating back to 1672. Among these volumes is the charming history, The Gold-Headed Cane, first published in 1827. This volume is highlighted in the exhibit on display in the LRC lobby and tells the story of a physician's cane as it is handed down between prominent British physicians from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The book gives biographies of each of the cane's owners as well as a glimpse of the medical profession in England during that time.

The History of the LRC, March through August 2009

As the Learning Resource Center undergoes renovations this spring, the USU Archives looks back over the history of the LRC. In 1979, the LRC opened in the newly constructed Building D. Since that time a variety of physical and technological changes have been made. Library staff worked to create more study space for students by constructing study carrels and improved the environmental conditions for the collections by renovating the HVAC system in the 1990s. When the library first opened, patrons would thumb through a physical card catalog to locate material, but by the early 1980s the LRC implemented a computerized catalog and a precursor to today's subscription databases for locating journals. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the LRC met the challenges of the digital world through enhanced access to its collections online.

The Forgotten Flu, October 2008 through February 2009

The 1918 flu pandemic (often called the "Spanish flu") was an influenza pandemic first found in the United States, then appearing in Sierra Leone and France, and then spreading to nearly every part of the world. In the United States, despite the high mortality rates of the epidemic in 1918-1919, the Spanish flu remains a relatively obscure event, leading some historians to label the Spanish flu a "forgotten pandemic."

The Spanish flu lasted from March 1918 to June 1920, spreading to the Arctic and remote Pacific islands. It is estimated that anywhere from 20 to 100 million people were killed worldwide, more than double the number killed in World War I. This pandemic has been described as "the greatest medical holocaust in history" and may have killed more people than the Black Death. With the exhibit, The Forgotten Flu, the USU Archives used images and statistics from this pandemic to illustrate the severity and historical importance of this medical phenomenon.

Strange Medicine, March 2008 through October 2008
Prior to the passing of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, there was very little regulating the medical profession and its associated paraphernalia. The term patent medicine often refers to drug compounds of the 19th century that were sold with colorful names and miraculous claims. Patent medicine advertising often talked up their exotic ingredients and amazing results, though the actual effects (usually very different than those claimed) came from more prosaic drugs. At the beginning of the 20th century, the discovery of radium led to the development of a number of radioactive items and medicines. The USU Archives exhibit, Strange Medicine, highlighted a variety of images and items related to medical quackery, including patent medicines, fad diets, and early uses of radioactivity from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

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