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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Media Mom: 1938

Media Mom: 1938

September 13, 1938. "What next? Unborn baby's heartbeat broadcast from Washington hospital. As part of an educational program, the heartbeats of an unborn baby were broadcast today from Georgetown University Hospital. This was made possible by the use of a specially designed microphone placed on the chest of the expectant mother, Addie Gonyea, shown with (left to right) Dr. J.G. Burd, Dr. John Cavanagh, announcer Bill Coyle of the N.B.C. and Dr. Henry B. Gwynn." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

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I think she's having twins

Her knees look pregnant.

Petit mal

WMAL was named after its first owner, M.A. Lease, an optician in Washington.

Grand mal

Perfect call letters. WMAL - sick radio? Only thing more perfect would be WMED.

Normal or Abnormal?

Washington Post, Sep 13, 1938

Heartbeats of an unborn baby to be broadcast for the first time will highlight today's program. Dr. John R. Cavanagh, in charge of the dispensary at Georgetown Hospital, will supervise the demonstration which will be broadcast at 10:30 a.m. over Station WMAL. The broadcast is sponsored by the school in cooperation with the Medical Society of the District.

The sounds will be heard through the Marbel Loud Speaking Amplifier for Heart Sounds through a special microphone placed on the patient's chest. Dr. Cavanagh will explain the different types of heart and interpret the sounds, stating whether the heart is normal or abnormal, for the benefit of students and audience.

This could be the wrong patient.

From the looks of the photos on the wall, and the expression as well as the complexion of the patient,the Doc may be in the wrong room.

I think chicken pox may be the diagnosis.

No Kidding

And all this time I thought that Chevrolet was the Heartbeat of America.

Restful Decor

That's a charming set of framed photos on the wall. Just the thing for a patient to lie there and contemplate.

Hey Baby Heartbeat

Are you still around? We would like to see a picture of you, either as a child or now. I bet this news story is in all the family scrapbooks and you've heard about it from every older relative. Let us know how it was to be famous BEFORE you were born. According to my calculations, you would be only 70. Write if you get work.

New Singing Sensations

"The MediCats" can now be heard on WMAL.

Colonel Sherman T. Potter, M.D.

The guy on the far right looks exactly like young Harry Morgan. Perhaps this picture was taken when Col. Potter was in medical school.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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