Guide to the Division of Medicine and Science Disability Reference Collection
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.1319
Dates:
1836 - 2015
Languages:
English
Collection text is in English.
Some materials in French,Turkish, and Spanish.
Physical Description:
40 Cubic feet
85 boxes, 1 oversize folder
Repository:
This collection consists of archival materials compiled by National Museum of American History Curator Katherine Ott, on numerous subjects relating to disability and the rights of the disabled.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Disability Reference Collection represents a range of research materials acquired by curators Audrey Davis (1967-1996) and Katherine Ott (2002- ) and Janice Majewski (1978-2001), the first director of the Smithsonian's Accessibility Program in support of their collecting and exhibition work in the Division of Medicine and Science at the National Museum of American History.
Material includes scholarly and popular articles, advertisements, product literature, clippings, schematics, photographs, audio, video, and ephemera. Some materials were sent to Davis and Ott by members of the general public who heard about their work; others were purchased by Ott at flea markets and on e-Bay.
Combined with associated Archives Center collections and objects housed in the curatorial divisions at NMAH, this collection constitutes one of the largest and most significant sources on American disability history. It is especially strong in accessibility policy documents from the early days of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its implementation, and product trade literature of the 1980s and 1990s. The collection also has a rich selection of newsletters and magazines published for various disability sectors, such as the Toomey J Gazette on polio and Mainstream.
Each series represents a subject or type of material. Researchers should look across all series when examining a topic or type of material. For example, trade literature items for the disabled person are found not only in the dedicated series, but also in series specific to a particular disability (i.e. Blindness: Aids and Appliances). Another example is material on polio. Researchers should look in the dedicated series, but also in Series 9: Edna Hindson's Scrapbooks and Series 8: Ron Mace.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into seventeen series.
Series 1: Blindness, 1841-2002
Series 2: Hearing, 1855-2009
Series 3: Polio, 1836-2008
Series 4: Universal Design, 1844-2006
Series 5: Subject Files, 1863-2008
Series 6: Americans with Disabilities Act: 1968, 1978, 1980-2015, undated
Series 7: Brody, Lee/TTY, 1941-2001
Series 8: Mace, Ron, 1951-1999
Series 9: Hindson, Edna R., 1946-1954, 1991, 2003
Series 10: Lindahl, Lisa, 1988-2001, undated
Series 11: Wheelchairs, 1853-2007
Series 12: Arizonans for Safe and Equal Access to Transportation, 1988-1994
Series 13: Printed Material, 1919-2015
Series 14: Trade Literature, 1970-2013
Series 15: Newspaper Clippings, 1973-2000
Series 16: Ephemera, 1866-2011, undated
Series 17: Audio Visual Materials, 1979-2005

Historical Note
Historical Note
The Disability Reference Collection represents a range of research materials acquired by curators Audrey Davis (1967-1996) and Katherine Ott (2002-) in support of their collecting and exhibition work in the Divison of Medicine and Science at the National Museum of American History (NMAH). The collection also contains material acquired by Janice Majewski (1978-2001), the first director of the Smithsonian's Accessibility Program.
Audrey Davis (1934-2006) was a NMAH curator from 1967 to 1996. Her interest and expertise in rehabilitation medicine, including prosthetics and orthotics, led to important three-dimensional collections in the Division of Medicine and Science. Davis did a series of showcases on such topics as hearing aids, artificial noses, and a large exhibition in 1973 entitled Triumph over Disability: the Development of Rehabilitation Medicine in the U.S.A., for the 50th anniversary of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. The exhibition was dedicated to Mary Elizabeth Switzer, an influential figure in the field. Katherine Ott joined the Division in 2001 as a permanent curator and broadened research to include pan-disability issues. Ott led exhibitions on the history of maxillofacial surgery (About Faces, 1998), The Disability Rights Movement (2000-2002), polio (Whatever Happened to Polio?, 2005-2006), HIV and Aids Thirty Years Ago (2011-2012); general disability history (EveryBody: An Artifact History of Disability in America, 2013), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA25, 2015). Ott received a grant in 2000 from NMAH's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation to study the history of Universal Design; this included the collection of supporting materials.
Janice Majewski was the first director of the Smithsonian's Accessibility Program. Her tenure lasted from 1978 to 2001. She gathered background on museums and accessibility, followed current events, consulted on museum projects around the United States, and received a constant flow of product literature from vendors hoping for a Smithsonian contract. Most of the assistive technology brochures, policy papers, and gray literature on accessibility came from her office.

Administration
Processing Information
Processed by Roberta Kovitz, volunteer, 2014-2016.
Author
Roberta Kovitz
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was assembled by curators Audrey Davis (1967-1996) and Katherine Ott (2002-) in support of their collecting and exhibition work in the Division of Medicine and Science at the National Museum of American History. The collection also contains material acquired by Janice Majewski, the first director of the Smithsonian's Accessibility Program.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Related Materials
Materials in the Archives Center
Kevin M. Tuohy Papers (AC0317)
Milton S. Wirtz, D.D.S., Artificial Eye Collection (AC0501)
Van Phillips Video Oral History and Papers (AC0859)
Safko International, Inc. Records (AC0911)
Hariett Green Kopp Papers (AC1130)
Division of Science, Medicine and Society HIV/AIDS Reference Collection (AC1134)
Elaine Ostroff Universal Design Papers (AC1356)
Related Materials
Materials at Other Organizations
Rochester Institute for Technology Collections
Lee Brody TTY Collection, circa 1969-1989
Collection of TTY (text telephone) equipment, business records, posters, and awards relating to telecommunications pioneer Lee Brody. TTY phones allow the deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-impaired to use the telephone to communicate.
Gallaudet University Library Deaf Collections and Archives
The Harry G. Lang Collection on Early TTY History, 1947-1999
Collection of correspondence, news clippings, technical data, and other materials documenting the invention and first 15 years of the phone teletypewriter for the deaf.
North Carolina State University Libraries
Ronald L. Mace Papers, 1974-1998
Collection of correspondence, project reports, architectural drawings, videos, and publications.

Custodial History
Custodial History
The collection was transferred from the Division of Medicine and Science to the Archives Center in June 2015.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Medicine -- 1970-2000 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Blindness Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Disabilities Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
People with disabilities Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Newspapers -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Poliomyelitis Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Deafness Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
wheelchairs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
barrier-free design Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Valentines Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Telecommunication Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Greeting cards Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives