About this Collection

Virginia Apgar (1909-1974) was an American physician who is best known for the Apgar Score, a simple, rapid method for assessing newborn viability. Developed in the early 1950s and quickly adopted by obstetric teams, the method reduced infant mortality and laid the foundations of neonatology. Apgar scoring has been a standard obstetric practice for over fifty years. While best known for this achievement, Apgar was also a leader in the emerging field of anesthesiology during the 1940s and in the new field of teratology (the study of birth defects) after 1960.

The Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections is the repository for the Virginia Apgar Papers, which range from 1880 to 1975. The collection contains diaries, correspondence, course/training records, writings, Apgar Score material, financial records, biographical information, and photographs.

As part of its Profiles in Science project, the National Library of Medicine has made available online, in collaboration with the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, a digitized selection of the Virginia Apgar Papers. This website provides access to the portions of the Virginia Apgar Papers that are now publicly available. Individuals interested in conducting research using the full collection of Virginia Apgar Papers should contact the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections.

This Profile is designed to introduce you to the various phases of Apgar's career and professional life. Narrative sections available from the navigation bar under "The Story" focus on Apgar's life and major contributions to clinical medicine and public health.

Researchers can search the digitized items using the Search box or browse all Documents and Visuals in the collection by selecting "Collection Items" from the navigation bar.