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Robert M. Veatch Papers

 Collection
Identifier: BRL-018
The collection contains the papers of Robert M. Veatch. It includes material created while employed at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics (KIE) at Georgetown University (1979-2019) and at the Hastings Center (1970-1979). It also documents his work as an advisor and lecturer at a wide variety of universities, hospitals, healthcare organizations, and governmental bodies. The records document the development and administration of the KIE, particularly during his directorship from 1989-1996. On the whole, it documents his career in bioethics as a scholar, educator, advisor, and administrator from around 1970 through 2019.

Records include professional correspondence, lecture and teaching files, annotated subject files, manuscripts and reprints, and files related to various bioethical meetings, conferences, and advisory committees. Topically, the collection pertains to various aspects of bioethics, particularly death and dying, informed consent, and organ transplantation.

Dates

  • circa late 19th century-2021
  • Majority of material found within 1970 - 2019

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Unpublished Georgetown University administrative records may be consulted only with the permission of the University office which created it. This includes, but is not limited to, Georgetown University administrative files found in boxes 16-18 and Kennedy Institute of Ethics files found in boxes 23-28.

Additionally, documents found in Series 10: Manuscript Reviews are restricted from 75 years from their date of creation for privacy reasons.

All other processed materials are generally open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Extent

72.8 Cubic Feet (in 70 boxes )

Overview

The collection contains the papers of Robert M. Veatch. It includes material created while employed at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics (KIE) at Georgetown University (1979-2019) and at the Hastings Center (1970-1979). It also documents his work as an advisor and lecturer at a wide variety of universities, hospitals, healthcare organizations, and governmental bodies. The records document the development and administration of the KIE, particularly during his directorship from 1989-1996. On the whole, it documents his career in bioethics as a scholar, educator, advisor, and administrator from around 1970 through 2019.

Biographical Note

Robert M. Veatch, PhD, Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Professor Emeritus of Medical Ethics, and a Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Georgetown University died Monday, November 9, 2020 at age 81 after a short illness.

Bob Veatch was a founding figure in the field of bioethics. He spent the majority of his long career at Georgetown University’s Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Institute of Ethics (KIE) spending 40+ years there and serving as a former Director of the Institute from 1989-1996. He began the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal (1991) and served as Senior Editor until 2011. He also cofounded and edited the Ethics and Intellectual Disability Newsletter. Before coming to Georgetown, he began his career at the Hastings Center in 1970. Bob held an MA and PhD in Religion and Society from Harvard University, with a focus on medical ethics that he proposed. His professors included Arthur Dyck, Ralph Potter, Renee Fox, Talcott Parsons, and John Rawls (Dyck and Potter were his dissertation mentors). He also held a BD (magna cum laude) from Harvard Divinity School. In a 2014 interview, he said that study with Rawls, “surely oriented [him] to the academic study of questions of justice.” In addition, Dr. Veatch, son of a pharmacist, held a MS in Pharmacology from the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco and a BS in Pharmacy (summa cum laude) from Purdue University. His primary research interests in bioethics included transplantation ethics, ethical issues in death and dying, and issues of consent both in therapy and in human subjects research and he made major contributions in all of those areas.

Bob served the field of bioethics in many ways, as a teacher, a prolific author, a member of advisory committees and editorial boards, and as an ethics consultant to important legal cases, including the landmark legal case of Karen Ann Quinlan, the woman whose parents won the right to forgo life-support (1975-76). He also testified (in support of the mother) in the case of Baby K, an anencephalic infant whose mother argued for a right of access to continued ventilatory support (1994). From 1981 to 1982, he served as a consultant to the President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical Research.

In the area of organ transplantation, Bob shared his expertise in developing and refining policies that support fair and ethical acquisition and allocation of human organs. Since 1988, he served as a member of the Governing Board of the Washington Regional Transplant Community, the organization responsible for organ and tissue procurement in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. He also served as a member of the Ethics Committee and the Vascular Composite Allograft Committee of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the national body regulating all transplant in the US. He reviewed research ethics as a member of numerous Data Safety and Monitoring Boards and Institutional Ethics Committees.

Bob authored multiple books, including Case Studies in Medical Ethics (1977), A Theory of Medical Ethics (1981), The Foundations of Justice (1986), and The Patient as Partner: A Theory of Human Experimentation Ethics (1987), Death, Dying and the Biological Revolution (1989), Cross Cultural Perspectives in Medical Ethics (1989), Transplantation Ethics (2000),and Patient, Heal Thyself (2009).He co-authored, edited or co-authored volumes – sometimes working on several manuscripts at one time — such as, Case Studies in Nursing Ethics (1987) (with Sara T. Fry), Ethics, Trust and the Professions (1991) (co-edited with Edmund D. Pellegrino and John P. Langan, S.J.), Ethical Issues in Death and Dying (1997) (authored with Tom L. Beauchamp), Source Book in Medical Ethics: A Documentary History (1998) (edited with Albert Jonsen and LeRoy Walters), Advance Directives and Surrogate Decision Making in Health Care (1998), edited with Hans-Martin Sass and Rihito Kimura, Defining Death, co-authored with Lainie F. Ross (2016) and most recently, the fourth edition of The Basics of Bioethics, co-written with Laura Guidry-Grimes (2019). He also contributed many book chapters, several reports on a range of topics and wrote multiple articles that were published in leading journals in medicine and bioethics. Bob received the National Book Award from the National Medical Writers Association for Case Studies in Medical Ethics, the Distinguished Achievement Award of the United Methodist Association (2002), the Research Career Achievement Award from Georgetown University (2005), the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities (2008), The Henry Knowles Beecher Award, The Hastings Center (2013) and the Distinguished Service Award of St. George’s University School of Medicine (2014). In 2008, he delivered the prestigious Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh, speaking on “Hippocratic, Religious, and Secular Medical Ethics: The Points of Conflict,” published by Georgetown University Press (2012). A complete list of publications will be posted at the KIE’s Bioethics Research Library. He had visiting faculty positions at institutions including, Brown University, Dartmouth College, Manhattanville New School for Social Research, Vassar, Union College, and St. George’s University School of Medicine. He received an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Creighton University (1999) and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Union University (2004).

What distinguished Bob was his humanity, humility and generosity of spirit and of his time. He was at the top of his field and had made profound contributions to many areas, but he remained always willing to make his expertise accessible to very diverse audiences ranging from high school students, to parents of visiting undergraduates, and the community, as well as his undergraduate and graduate students. He offered wise counsel in conversations with his peers and scholars in the field, and visiting researchers from around the globe who came to the Kennedy Institute.

He loved genealogy and had confirmed a Veatch connection to the Stuart (Stewart among the Scots) dynasty. He was a long-time fan of bluegrass and Bob and his wife Ann were founding members of the Lucketts Bluegrass Foundation in Lucketts, Virginia, location of the world’s longest running bluegrass concert series. He used to laugh and say that he thought likely he was the only undergraduate at Harvard reading Plato while listening to bluegrass. Bob was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nigeria from 1962-1964.

Bob is survived by his wife, Ann Bender Veatch; his son and daughter-in-law, Paul and Kate Moriarty; his son, Carl; his brother and sister-in-law, Bill and Reggi Veatch; his niece Carrie Veatch; his stepchildren: Lynn, Michael, and Nick Pastore; and numerous step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren.

Arrangement

The collection is organized into nine series:

Series 1: Institutional Files, 1969-2019

Series 2: Subject Files, 1953-2016

Series 3: Manuscripts, 1971-2019

Series 4: Reprints, 1964-2017

Series 5: Courses and Lectures, 1970-2016

Series 6: Correspondence, 1980-1996

Series 7: Biographical Materials and Memorabilia, 1940s-2021

Series 8: Case Studies, 1971-1993

Series 9: Manuscript Reviews, 1974-circa 2014

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Estate of Robert M. Veatch, 2021.

Processing Information

The collection was processed in 2021-2022. It has been rehoused in archival-quality boxes. Original folders in good condition were retained, while other materials were rehoused in archival-quality folders as needed. Digital files from compact discs and DVDs have been copied to the BRL Shared drive when possible.

In general, folder titles that were used by Veatch have been maintained. Two folder titles that contained outdated and potentially offensive language were changed by the archivist based on guidance provided by the National Center on Disability and Journalism. For more information please contact the Bioethics Research Library Archives.
Storage Location: This collection is held in offsite storage.
Title
Guide to the Robert M. Veatch Papers
Status
completed
Date
2022
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Bioethics Research Library Archives Repository

Contact:
102 Healy Hall
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Washington DC 20057