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Ralph Blocksma Collection



Biographical Note

Administrative Information

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Ralph Blocksma Collection, 1933-2003 | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

By Ed Gerritsen, June 2010

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Collection Overview

Title: Ralph Blocksma Collection, 1933-2003

ID: COLL/507

Primary Creator: Blocksma, Ralph

Extent: 1.75 Cubic Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: Folder level description

Date Acquired: 00/00/2009


Plastic and reconstructive surgeon (specialized in repairs for cleft lips and palates, decubitus ulcers, and burns), and served as a medical missionary. The collection includes biographical materials; diaries; writings; diplomas; awards; publications; speeches; lectures; correspondence; newspaper clippings; "Letters from Pakistan"; photographs (photographic images of surgical procedures are restricted); and materials from his leadership in the Christian Medical Society, Medical Assistance Program (MAP), Board of Affordable Medicines in Africa (AMFA); Oral Cleft Clinic; plus other medical and plastic surgery associations and societies.

Biographical Note

(1914 - 2001)

Ralph Blocksma was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1914. He was a student at Calvin College and graduated with his BA in 1936. He later went on to become a doctor and served on many medical societies and boards and became a medical missionary. Ralph spent a great deal of time and money to develop plastic surgery in third-world countries. He was married to Ruth Naomi Enss in 1940.  Ralph served as a captain in the US Army from 1942-1945. He was a plastic surgeon in the Army and worked in evacuation hospitals in England, France, and Germany. In 1949 he had a career in international medicine. Ralph Blocksma lived in Grand Rapids but died in Jacksonville, Florida. He was eighty-seven years old when he died in 2001.

Administrative Information

Repository: Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Alternate Extent Statement: 4 Boxes

Acquisition Source: Ruth Blocksma, 2009

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical information],
[Series 2: Publications],
[Series 3: Miscellaneous],
[Series 4: Photographs],

Series 3: Miscellaneous
Box 3
Folder 1: Historical summary of Grand Rapids residency program in plastic surgery --- [1981?]
Folder 2
Item 1: Correspondence re: British Virgin Islands Workshop in Plastic Surgery --- 1992-1996
Item 2: Photograph of Blocksma --- [undated]
Folder 3
Item 1: Correspondence with Denis Burkitt and related materials --- 1977-1994
Item 2: Photographs Burkitt and Blocksma --- [undated]
Folder 4: Correspondence --- 1940-1995
Folder 5: Correspondence with Florentine Van Tiem re: St. Lucia Projects --- 1978
Folder 6: Letters from patients --- 1993 and [undated]
Folder 7: Article written by a patient --- [undated]
Folder 8: Patient stories
Folder 9: "Orbital Floor Reconstruction Following Blunt Facial Trauma: A Twenty-Year Experience" --- 1988
Folder 10: Materials re: Affordable Medicines for Africa: Practical Witness to Christ's Love --- 1970-2003
Folder 11
Item 1: "Survey Report: Sudan Interior Mission Medical Installations Nigeria, West Africa," with photographs --- 1974
Item 2: Photo of Liberian President William R. Tolbert (massacred shortly after photo taken) --- 1974
Folder 12: Taiwan Trauma Symposium, with photographs of Blocksma and M. Samuel Noordhof --- 1984 and 1996
Folder 13: Photograph of the Board of Directors of the Van Andel Institute --- 1996
Folder 14
Item 1: "Ralph Blocksma Endowed Lectureship Donor Listing" --- 1991
Item 2: Photograph of C. Everett Koop --- [undated]
Folder 15: Publications re: visit to the San Blas Islands --- 1958-1960
Folder 16: Tribute to Ferris N. Smith --- 1990
Folder 17: Ralph Blocksma Award Recipients by MAP International --- 1978-1990
Folder 18: Photographs of Blocksma --- [undated]
Folder 19: Sculptures done by RB? --- [undated]
Folder 20: "The Collected Poetry, Prose, Essays, Epistles and Pure Piffle: From the Lifetime Practice of a Plastic Surgeon" --- [undated]
Folder 21: Newspaper clippings --- 1959-1992

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical information],
[Series 2: Publications],
[Series 3: Miscellaneous],
[Series 4: Photographs],

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