Article for the Apgar Association Newsletter

By Eric Apgar

On Saturday, October 14th 1995, I had the great privilege of representing the Apgar family on behalf of my great-aunt, Dr. Virginia Apgar, who was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is located in Seneca Falls, NY, home of the women's rights movement. Words are not an acceptable substitute for walking through the Hall of Fame and having the eyes (and stories) of 125 amazing women stare at you. Everyone should visit the Hall of Fame and the Women's Rights National Historic Park to experience the history and inspiration that these women provide.

With the eighteen women inducted this year, the Hall of Fame now has 125 members ranging from Susan B. Anthony to Rosa Parks. Some of the women inducted this year include Senior Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder from Colorado, Ella Fitzgerald, great jazz singer, Ann Bancroft, polar explorer, Nanerl Koehane, president of Duke University, and Sandra Day O'Connor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

A brief biography of each woman was shared. Then, each honoree or acceptor came forward to receive a medallion and make a few remarks.

Here is the speech I gave:

It's a great honor to be here representing my family. Virginia was my grandfather's sister and I was 10 years old when she died. My grandmother gave me a story that Virginia wrote.

Tuesday November 9th, 1965.

"I left the office at 5:30 and walked south on 2nd avenue to get my car on E 40th. I was disturbed by the flickering traffic lights. All the neon lights were also flickering and I wondered why o why neon lights could not be serviced so that they would not flicker. After walking another block, something sudden happened, silently. A quick check showed that ALL lights had gone out... those in the Empire State building, the Chrysler building, everywhere.

The moon was shining brightly, almost full, and all the more bright, because of the New York City darkness. Proceeding inch by inch westward on 42nd St., my new Falcon was bumped just once from behind.

Just east of the hotel Commodore, a young man tapped on my window and asked if I were a doctor. I said, yes, and he asked if I would take care of a woman who was twitching all over. I double parked near the entrance and he watched my car while I went to see the patient. I talked with her a bit... her pulse was good,, and then she told me that she had been in a concentration camp for several years and she always reacted with twitching under stress. She hated darkness, and crowds, both of which were certainly present right then. There was nothing to do but reassure her and let her sit out the emergency."

The next thing I'd like to share with you is Virginia's Pocket Watch. This was given to her, by her staff, and the Inscription inside reads TO THE QEEN (sic) BEE, FROM THE HIVE

This watch has a second hand on it and I like to think that Virginia used this watch to help administer the APGAR score to some of the 17,000 babies she helped deliver.

Finally, no tribute to Virginia would be complete without one of her favorite jokes... , "How do you tell the sex of a chromosome? You pull down it's genes!"

(end of speech)

This amazing honor for the Apgar family could not have happened without the hard work of many individuals including:

Dr. Joe Butterfield, the prime mover and shaker for the Apgar Stamp,

Dr. Selma Harrison Calmes, eloquent fan that has published several articles about Virginia,

Dr. Mary Ellen Avery, Jill Baylor, Nina Ditmar and Nan Johnson, all of whom nominated Virginia to be in the Women's Hall of Fame.

Finally, I wish to thank Mary & Debbie Apgar who drove all the way from NJ to attend the ceremonies and share the famous Apgar 3 ring binder with all that were interested.

Back to the Dr. Virginia Apgar page.