James Hardy

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Hardy Library

On April 20, 2001, the Department of Surgery dedicated the James D. Hardy Library, located on the first floor of the Hardy Clinical Sciences Building. Dr. William Turner, chairman of the Department of Surgery, paid tribute to Dr. Hardy for his contributions to the scientific literature, his pioneering work in organ transplantation and his leadership in surgery. Attending the dedication ceremony were Dr. Wallace Conerly, Vice Chancellor of the University Medical Center and Dean of the School of Medicine, Dr. Dan Jones, Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, former colleagues of Dr. Hardy, current faculty, residents and students.

Dedication ceremony

The following is a transcript of Dr. Turner's remarks:

"Dr. Hardy, welcome to the dedication of this library which bears your name. I would like to give a special welcome to Dr. Katherine Hardy Little and to Dr. Bettie Hardy who traveled from Dallas. I would also like to welcome Dr. Richard Yelverton, who is representing the James D. Hardy Society. That is the society of the alumni of the residency programs in the Department of Surgery.

Dr. Hardy was chairman of the department of surgery from 1955-1987. During these 32 years, our medical center, our state, our nation, and the world witnessed the evolution of his remarkable career. This medical center was born on July 1, 1955, and Dr. Hardy was present in the delivery room. For more than three decades, Dr. Hardy planted, nurtured and harvested this grove of academe. He made it onto everyone's list of medical innovators in the 20th century.

This library contains the life work of one man. It is a work filled with books and manuscripts and films and celebrated colleagues. What is in this library made mankind better. We want to celebrate that life's work in a place that houses its record - this library. Dr. Hardy, I can think of no more fitting place in which to share your life than this place which houses your books and manuscripts, books from your colleagues and friends, your films and items which recognize your illustrious career.

There is a wonderful story about Dr. Hardy. When Louise Hardy was in Mrs. Mills' first-grade class, she was among a group of children who were asked what their fathers did for a living. The answers were predictable, until Louise's turn came. She answered, "He writes. I've never seen him do anything else." Louise later said, "As a child, I got up very early each morning and Daddy was already working when I got up. Mrs. Mills knew Mama and Daddy. She called and suggested to Mama that they should tell me that Daddy was a doctor."

Yes, he was a doctor - a special kind of doctor, and did he ever write - day and night at home and on the road - a veritable factory of academic productivity. The raw materials of this factory were the patients and the research laboratories of this institution. What Dr. Hardy created was new knowledge, improvements in the lives of people, and new surgeons prepared to do the same things that he did here and throughout the world.

One of my favorite things in this library was placed here by Dr. Hardy. It is a simple paperweight with the seal of the Medical College of the University of Tennessee in Memphis from which Dr. Hardy was recruited to come to Jackson. In the box with the paperweight was Dr. Hardy's recollection of that early time - "three years, three daughters, three books." Little did Louise know that when she described her father's work, she was talking about a career that would produce 23 books, 139 book chapters, 466 manuscripts and countless films. This work has been of inestimable value to mankind.

We have set about to obtain copies of all of Dr. Hardy's books for the library. Virginia Keith is our official librarian, and in addition to having contributed one of Dr. Hardy's books that she owned, she is combing the rare and used book sources throughout the world to complete the collection. She is also cataloging the "incredible run" of Dr. Hardy's papers accepted at the Surgical Forum.

The library houses copies of every movie and video that remained in the department when the library project began nearly 2-1/2 years ago. Most particularly, this library contains the intraoperative film record of the first time that men gazed into the empty mediastinum of a patient who would be brought back to life by a new heart that was not his. This library contains the film record of the first transplanted lung that ever took breath in a human being.

The library contains each of the issues of the "World Journal of Surgery" that Dr. Hardy edited. It contains Dr. Hardy's file of correspondence between the people who developed lung transplantation. There is a photo in this library of Dr. Hardy in the elegant robes of the presidency of the American College of Surgeons, and there is the photo of Dr. Hardy in a scrub suit that has become everyone's favorite. It's known simply as "Dr. Hardy."

Dr. Hardy, this department believes that your legacy should continue to grow larger than life. That legacy should inspire us; it should humble us; and it should remind us. You set the bar impossibly high, where it should be. The marvelous things that have defined your career . the patients, the books, the colleagues, the students, the manuscripts, the indomitable spirit . all of these things, which are so distinctively you, should be experienced by those whom you trained and by those whom they trained and by those whom they will train. We should know where we started. We should be able to look up into those warrior's eyes which saw so many miracles and down onto that giant's shoulders upon which we stand. We are here today to experience the privilege of knowing you, of sharing your life.

Please accept the dedication of this library as our way of saying welcome to a special place in this department that you founded and on this faculty of which you will always be the first professor.

Let me close this dedication by saying a special thank you to Dr. Wallace Conerly, our vice chancellor. Dr. Conerly believed me when I told him that we should build this library. He supported its construction. He kept the project going. Dr. Conerly has a few words."

Dr. Hardy's remarks

During the library dedication, Dr. Hardy told a story about why he chose the current chairman's office in the Department of Surgery over the office that ultimately became the Hardy Library. The chairman's office is interesting in that it has three entrance doors. Dr. Hardy designed the office.

Dr. Hardy was called in 1973 to see the president of Peru, who had been operated upon for a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. During the trip, Dr. Hardy was escorted on a tour of the presidential palace and offices by Lt. Col. Felix Carrillo. Dr. Hardy was fascinated by the president's office that had five doors leading to individual rooms around the perimeter.

Dr. Hardy inquired as to why there were so many doors, and he was told that it was to accommodate incompatible groups. During the Hardy Library dedication, Dr. Hardy admired the room in which the library was situated, and he explained how he came to choose the room that became his office instead of the room that became his library.