Finding Aid for the John Martin Askey, M.D., Papers 1917-1990

Collection processed and machine-readable finding aid created by UCLA Biomedical Library staff.
Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences
History and Special Collections Division for the Sciences
12-077 Center for Health Sciences
Box 951798
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1798
Phone: 310/825-6940
Fax: 310/825-0465
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: John Martin Askey, M.D., Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1917-1990
Collection number: 413
Creator: Askey, John Martin 1899-1991
Extent: 2 document boxes(1 lin. ft.)
Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library.Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences
Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
Abstract: A small collection of papers, mostly from Dr. Askey's retirement years, which include materials concerning his personal life and family, and materials on medical topics which continued to have special interest for him. Dr. Askey was a skilled clinician with extensive professional publications; he was also a graceful writer, and the enclosed transcription of a youthful travel diary describing his time in 1925 as a ship's surgeon is most engaging.
Physical location: SRLF
Language of Material: Collection materials in English


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Property rights in the physical objects belong to the UCLA Biomedical Library. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish if the Biomedical Library does not hold the copyright.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], John Martin Askey, M.D., Papers (Manuscript collection 413). Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles.

UCLA Catalog Record ID

UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6575032 

Acquisition Information

Gift of B & L Rootenberg Rare Books, December, 2009.


As a very young man, John Martin Askey (1899-1991) thought he might want to be a journalist; but after graduation from high school in Bellingham, Washington, a short stint as police reporter for a Tacoma newspaper convinced him otherwise. Instead he decided to follow his older brother Vincent into medicine. After a year at the College of Puget Sound and three years at the University of Oregon he entered the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and received his M.D. degree in 1923. He interned at University of Pennsylvania Hospital, spent four months as a ship's surgeon, then again followed his older brother to California, where he received his license to practice medicine in 1925.
Dr. Askey was board certified in Internal Medicine, and specialized in cardiovascular diseases. In addition to his private practice he joined the clinical teaching staff at the University of Southern California until 1964, when he was named Emeritus Clinical Professor of Medicine. Dr. Askey published widely, and was active in national, state, and regional professional societies. At various times he served as President or Chairman of the Los Angeles County Heart Association, the Los Angeles Society of Internal Medicine, and the California Medical Association General Medicine Section.

Scope and Content

These papers came from Dr. Askey's home office and reflect some of the interests of his retirement years. They include reprints of his professional journal publications and a few of his more ephemeral published items, such as letters to the editor. Undoubtedly he authored many more short pieces that are not here; the correspondence and his personal reminiscences make it clear that he liked to write, and was never short of comments.
The sixty-some page typed transcription of the diary that documents his summer-1925 travels on the training ship "Annapolis" is a well-written, charming, and thoughtful account that reveals a good deal about the young man who wrote it. Since the original diary is not included, one cannot judge how much of the presentation, if any, has been altered by the mind and experience of the older man who transcribed it; but there are occasional explicit retrospections by Dr. Askey in the typed text. He also frequently and vigorously underlined and commented on the text of the clippings and reprints, on both medical and cultural topics, that are included in these papers. The bound volume of medical papers is a rather haphazard compilation: the reprints/tear sheets/photocopies are in only a rough chronological order; items by other authors have been inserted, not always for a discernible reason; additional notes, pages, and comments are sometimes stapled or taped to the text pages. But as in the correspondence, Dr. Askey's underlining and marginalia add interest to the gathered materials.
The collection is organized into the following series:
  • Series 1. Personal.
  • Series 2. Professional.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Naval Medicine -- Personal Narratives
Physicians -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources.
Ship physicians -- Archival resources

Container List


Series 1. Personal.

Box 1, Folder 1

Autobiographical notes.

Physical Description: 8 p. (8 sheets)

Scope and Content Note

typed notes: Honors, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Vignettes, Reminiscences
Box 1, Folder 2

Whatcom High School, Bellingham, Washington. 1917, 1967

Physical Description: paper-bound, 17.5 x 26 cm

Scope and Content Note

"The Kulshan", 1917 high school yearbook; commencement program for 1917; typed list of the Class of 1917 with current addresses (1967); original mounted photograph of the basketball team and two copies; newspaper clippings about the senior class and basketball games


Dr. Askey was editor-in-chief of the yearbook and center on the basketball team
Box 1, Folder 3

Whatcom High School Class of 1917, 50th reunion. 1965-1969

Scope and Content Note

letters, clipping, one group photograph, and class lists mostly pertaining to the 50th class reunion
Box 1, Folder 4

Whatcom High School Class of 1917, 55th reunion. 1970-1973

Scope and Content Note

letters, clipping, one group photograph, and class lists mostly pertaining to the 55th class reunion
Box 1, Folder 5

College of Puget Sound. 1918, 1963-1983

Scope and Content Note

most of the material focuses on the campus basketball teams: newspaper clippings; photographs of 1918 team [Dr. Askey was team captain] with later "then" and "now" photograph; other campus news


the institution's name was later changed to University of Puget Sound
Box 1, Folder 6

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Class of 1923. 1972-1987

Scope and Content Note

correspondence concerning alumni affairs and letters from classmates; lists of class members; Class of 1923 Round Robin Letter #1 [dated in ink 1966, then changed to 1978]; "Vignettes of the Class of 1923" by Dr. Askey
Box 1, Folder 7

"Ship Surgeon on the 'Annapolis', June-September 1925". undated

Physical Description: 60 p. (60 sheets), double-spaced typescript

Scope and Content Note

Transcript of Dr. Askey's diary kept during a 4-mos. trip as surgeon on a merchant marine training ship, his first job after completing internship at University of Pennsylvania hospital; entries for 6/2/25 through circa 8/5/25, covering the trip from embarkation in Philadelphia to landing at Civita Vecchia, the port of Rome; four introductory pages describe how Dr. Askey happened to get the job, and introduce the ship's crew; also a prior draft (paged 21-58) with handwritten note: "My original copy of diary"


This part of the diary covers stops in the Azores, Portugal, Spain, France, and Genoa. Dr. Askey typed this transcription himself "45 years later" as he notes at one point; he also added a few other parenthetical notes and explanations
Box 1, Folder 8

Further ship surgeon reminiscences. undated

Physical Description: 3 p. (3 sheets)

Scope and Content Note

short entries about Rome, Naples, Pompeii, and Malta from memory, partly aided by snapshots taken on the trip; a clipping from the "Los Angeles Times" (undated) about the modern cleaning/restoration of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling


Dr. Askey heads the first sheet: "I can't find my experiences in Rome, Naples, Malta, Algeria, Madeira, or Bermuda so here goes again, altho obviously not so good as the actual entries in my diary during the trip."
Box 1, Folder 9

Illustrations of the "Annapolis". 1925, 1941

Scope and Content Note

postcard-sized photo of the Annapolis in the old harbor of Marseilles, and newspaper clipping of the ship in a Spanish harbor, probably Barcelona; views of the ship published in the "Philadelphia Record", 3/14/41
Box 1, Folder 10

Family genealogy. 1978-1987

Scope and Content Note

Family trees of two branches of the family, compiled by Paul Duffield of Shawnee, Oklahoma, Askey's cousin; correspondence; photograph of Eleanor Farquar (Mrs. J.M. Askey), mother and sister (ca. 1915)
Box 1, Folder 11

Armstrong Askey. 1977-1990

Scope and Content Note

correspondence; newspaper clippings from "Amador Leger"


Armstrong Askey, a relative, moved to the California Gold Country in 1850
Box 1, Folder 12

Correspondence with Margaret Eleanor Askey (Mrs. Alvin Naar). 1977

Scope and Content Note

Margaret (Teddie) was a relative who sent Askey some of her writing for critique
Box 1, Folder 13

Doctors for Britain project. 1941

Scope and Content Note



Dr. Askey volunteered to examine applicants for fitness for service with the Royal Army Medical Corps and the British Emergency Medical Service
Box 1, Folder 14

Aspects of language.

Scope and Content Note

correspondence from Dr. Askey; clippings from newspapers and journals, photocopies; typed notes


Dr. Askey was interested in words, their derivation, use and misuse, grammar, and other aspects of the English language
Box 1, Folder 15

Norman Cousins. 1976-1981

Scope and Content Note

newspaper and journal clippings about Norman Cousins' book "Anatomy of an Illness", and his relationships to UCLA as a hospital patient and as senior lecturer in the School of Medicine
Box 1, Folder 16


Scope and Content Note

clippings; letter

Series 2. Professional.

Box 1, Folder 17


Scope and Content Note

1) from Fifty Year Club of American Medicine: "...To John Martin Askey, M.D., who has been in the practice of medicine fifty years or more..." (undated); 2) from American Medical Association: "This is to certify that John Martin Askey, M.D., has met all the criteria for membership..." (1991)
Box 1, Folder 18

Askey publications on pernicious anemia. 1939-1942

Scope and Content Note

typescript of what was probably a 10-min. presentation at a scientific meeting; abstract of a different presentation, on Jan 1941; correspondence which mentions presentations to the American Heart Association, the American College of Physicians, and the staff of Presbyterian Hospital, Los Angeles; requests for reprints of three papers published on prevention and treatment of pernicious anemia
Box 2, Folder 19

Askey publication on shoulder and hand complication of coronary occlusion. 1941

Scope and Content Note

acceptance letter for presentation at 1940 American Heart Association meeting; comments and reprint requests for the article published in "American Heart Journal", 22:1-12, 1941
Box 2, Folder 20

Mercury poisoning in California quicksilver miners. 1965-1967

Scope and Content Note

correspondence among a number of individuals, mostly Dr. Askey, Rutherford T. Johnstone, M.D., and Mrs. Helen R. Goss on two topics: information on health effects of cinnabar mining and mercury extraction, and attempts to have historical markers placed at the mine locations to acknowledge the importance of some of the cinnabar mines in California history


typescripts, reprints and other materials mentioned in the letters are gathered in the next folder
Box 2, Folder 21

Research materials on mercury poisoning and mining. 1956-1965

Scope and Content Note

reprints and two typescripts


see previous folder for related correspondence
Box 2, Folder 22

Medicine in Pennsylvania.

Scope and Content Note

photocopies and clippings of articles, focusing on Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center
Box 2, Folder 23

Pacific Interurban Clinical Club. 1942, circa 1978

Scope and Content Note

club constitution and by-laws; correspondence; "False measurements and slipshod treatment of hypertension", by John M. Askey, published privately for the Pacific Interurban Clinical Club
Box 2, Folder 24

Miscellany pertaining to Dr. Askey's practice and publications.

Box 2, Folder 25

Miscellany pertaining to medicine.

Scope and Content Note

reprints, clippings
Box 2, Folder 26

"John Martin Askey, M.D. Medical Papers, 1928-1969". 1928-1974

Scope and Content Note

a bound volume containing: 1. Dr. Askey's publications, including short notes, letters to the editor, editorial comments; 2. some typescripts of Askey articles, essays, or talks, probably unpublished; 3. some articles by other authors, usually citing or commenting on Askey's work; 4. letters to Askey concerning his publications - acceptance by editors, comments from readers, some reprint requests


most of the publications are bound into the volume [which bears the bookmark of the Los Angeles County Medical Association Library]; much of the other material was taped or stapled to bound pages, or simply inserted loosely