What’s in a Name?

It was 60 years ago today that the National Library of Medicine got its current name. And yes, it took an act of Congress.

On August 3, 1956, the National Library of Medicine Act, an amendment to Title III of the Public Health Service Act, placed the Armed Forces Medical Library under the Public Health Service and renamed it the National Library of Medicine (Public Law 84-941).

US Senators Lister Hill (Ala.) and John F. Kennedy (Mass.) were among the primary sponsors of the legislation. Its champions included world-famous heart surgeon Michael E. DeBakey, MD and leaders of the Medical Library Association.

Needless to say, we’re grateful, because we’re rather fond of our name.

If you’re wondering what else was happening in the US that day, Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” was playing on the jukebox, and “My Fair Lady” was on Broadway.

The first two paragraphs of Public Law 84-941

Click on the image above to read the full text of the legislation establishing the National Library of Medicine.