Skip to main content

L. Stanley James papers

Identifier: MS 0782

Scope and Contents

The L. Stanley James Papers consist of correspondence, writings, research material, biographical information, sound recordings, and photographs concerning James, as well as his colleague, physician and anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar. The material for James chiefly reflects his research activities from 1957-1983, particularly his interest in the resuscitation of newborns. Many of his articles and reports in this collection dating from 1957-1973 were co-authored by Apgar. Most of his correspondence (1973, 1982-1983, 1991, n.d.) concerns his participation in scientific conferences. The Apgar materials in the collection date from 1939-1989. These items include several letters by or to Apgar from 1966 concerning the Apgar Score as well as copies of articles and reports by her (1939-1975) that reflect her research concerning childbirth, the health of newborns, and birth defects. James participated in memorial services honoring Apgar after her death in 1974, and his papers include letters to him from individuals who knew her, articles and biographical information about her, and cassette tapes of two of the services. Other materials concern the Virginia Apgar Award in Perinatal Pediatrics that was established in 1975. These papers contain photographs of both James and Apgar. Those of James (circa 1925-circa 1977) include both formal and informal portraits of him, as well as photographs that show him with relatives, friends, classmates, and professional colleagues. Some of these photographs are part of two albums in the collection. The Apgar photographs (circa 1920-1974) also consist of formal and informal portraits and photographs of her with others. Some of the latter photographs show her at reunions of the Aqualumni, a group of anesthesiologists trained by Dr. Ralph M. Waters at the University of Wisconsin.

Material from this collection is available in an online digital format.


  • Creation: ca. 1920-1994, n.d.

Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use


Biographical Note

L. Stanley James, a physician and researcher in the physiology of the newborn and the fetus in the womb, was born in Te Awamutu, New Zealand in 1925. He was educated at the University of Otago in New Zealand, receiving a medical degree in 1948. After completing his internship and residency at Auckland (NZ) Hospital, he spent a year in general practice before finishing a residency in pediatrics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. He then became chief resident in pediatrics at the New York University-Bellevue Medical Center in New York, N.Y. His interest in neonatology was sparked by Virginia Apgar, a 1929 graduate of Mount Holyoke College who spoke at Bellevue about her work in neonate resuscitation and obstetrical anesthesia. After spending a year as a research fellow in neonatology at the State University of New York, he joined Apgar at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City, where he was a research assistant in neonatal physiology in anesthesiology from 1955-1959. Through this research, he identified key factors that adversely influence the health of newborns. His findings led to improvements in the care of newborns through resuscitation and the management of asphyxiation. After Virginia Apgar developed the Apgar Score, used to assess infant condition following delivery, James conducted research with her that established the scientific basis for the score. Their research also showed how the score could be used to evaluate different methods of newborn resuscitation. James served as an assistant professor (1959-1967) and professor (1967-1993) of pediatrics and obstetrics-gynecology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. From 1961-1965, he was also assistant attending pediatrician at the Babies Hospital of the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. From 1972-circa 1992, he was director of perinatal medicine at the Babies Hospital. James received the E. Mead Johnson Award and the Virginia Apgar Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Ronald McDonald Children's Center Charities award for his contributions for the care of the fetus and newborn infants. He lived in New York City and West Redding, Connecticut and died on August 4, 1994 at the age of sixty-nine while vacationing at Center Harbor, New Hampshire.


1.25 Linear Feet (3 full Hollinger boxes)

Language of Materials



James, L. Stanley, 1925-1994; physician and researcher in the physiology of fetuses and newborn infants. Papers dating from circa 1920-1994 consist of correspondence, writings, research material, biographical information, sound recordings, and photographs relating to James as well as his colleague, physician and anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar. Most materials concern James' research interests and Apgar's life and work, including the Apgar Score that she developed to assess the health of newborns.

Additional Formats

Selected images from this collection are available in this online exhibition Profiles in Science. National Library of Medicine. The Virginia Apgar Papers.

Processing Information

Processed by Sara Jamison, 2003, and Patricia Albright, 2006

L. Stanley James Papers, ca.1920-1994, n.d.
Finding Aid
Finding aid prepared by Sara Jamison and Patricia Albright.
© 2006
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections Repository

50 College Street
8 Dwight Hall
South Hadley MA 01075-6425 USA