“I take pictures like a writer writes. Each negative is a note in the manuscript. After all, what photography is, is to write with light.”
Libby Wilcox, a prolific photographer at Columbia’s medical center from 1957 to 1991, used her camera to capture the medical center during the late 20th century. As the wife of P&S alum and faculty member Herbert “Bud” Wilcox Jr.’34, Mrs. Wilcox was given unimpeded access to the workings of the medical center. Her camera captured the daily routines and extraordinary events of a great academic medical center during a period of tremendous change for American medicine. She photographed medical legends Virginia Apgar, Dana Atchley, and Robert Loeb; such clinical scenes as pediatric open-heart surgery in 1958; and long-vanished medical center landmarks, including Maxwell Hall and the Fort Washington Avenue greenhouses. Dr. and Mrs. Wilcox donated her archive of more than 100,000 images (most in negative form) to Columbia in 1991.