The Extraordinary World of MARBL: Lyndon B. Johnson Items in the Hurst Papers

52weeks_logo4.jpgThe Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library is a place of discovery. All are welcome to visit and explore our unique holdings, whether as a researcher or an observer. The breadth and depth of our collections are vast, and it is nearly impossible to investigate every nook and cranny. We invite you this year, through our blog, to tour some of those places you didn’t know existed, and get acquainted with collections you might not have previously explored. Check back in with us weekly over the course of 2013 as we offer you a delightful look into some of the favorite, but perhaps lesser-known, corners of our collections. These pieces are visually interesting, come attached with fascinating stories, and are often 3D objects you might not have realized are part of what makes up The Extraordinary World of MARBL.


Lyndon B. Johnson's Pen and Zippo Lighter

Lyndon B. Johnson’s Pen and Zippo Lighter


Emory University Archives holds the papers of J. Willis Hurst, a leading cardiologist in his time and longtime faculty member at Emory University’s School of Medicine.

Hurst began teaching at Emory in 1950. Four years later he was recalled into military service to become Chief of Cardiology at the United States Naval Hospital in Bethesda, MD. It was at that time that the Senate majority leader, Lyndon Baines Johnson, suffered a heart attack and was treated at the Naval Hospital. Hurst was assigned as his cardiologist, a role he played until Johnson’s death in 1973.

The same year of LBJ’s heart attack, Hurst returned to Atlanta and Emory. In 1957, Hurst was named Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Emory, a position he remained in until 1986.

Part of the Hurst papers in MARBL contain presidential memorabilia, including a pen used by then President Johnson to sign Senate Bill 596 in 1965. S. 596 amended the Public Health Service Act to include special funding in combating heart disease. Hurst’s role as President Johnson’s cardiologist no doubt played a role in Johnson’s signing of this bill.

Among other items in the memorabilia series of this collection include a Vice Presidential Zippo Lighter, as well as a pair of cufflinks and a tie clip with the Seal of the President of the United States.

by John Bence, University Archivist, MARBL

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