The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Research Medical Library

Making Cancer History Voices Collection

Ornell H. Balzer Oral History Interview 1, September 4, 2003

Descriptive Summary

Collection: Making Cancer History Voices Oral History Collection:
Interviewee: Balzer, Ornell H.
Interviewer: Brunet, Lesley W.
Title: Ornell H. Balzer Oral History Interview 1
Dates: September 4, 2003
Abstract This interview with Ornell Balzer begins with the evolution of her career at M.D. Anderson. She recounts how she moved to Houston after graduating from nursing school and her return to M.D. Anderson. Ms. Balzer then details her memories of time spent working at Baker Estate and her interactions with colleagues and patients.
Collection ID: Balzer_Ornell_20030904
Original Format: Audiocassette
Format: 1 streaming video file and 1 interview transcript
Interview Length: 1 hour
Language: Materials are in English
Repository: Historical Resources Center, Research Medical Library,The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Biographical Note

Ornell Balzer was one of the first four nurses to work at M.D. Anderson. She was born in Shaws Bend, near Columbus in central Texas and graduated from the Brackenridge School of Nursing at University of Texas in Austin in 1949. Her career at M.D. Anderson began in 1949. She spent three years at M.D. Anderson before leaving to work in a doctor’s office. In 1960 Ms. Balzer returned to M.D. Anderson as the head nurse during the start of the cancer center and later worked in radiotherapy. She was well-known to many employees at M.D. Anderson and can be seen in photos in the MdGovern Visitors Gallery and in the historical text, “The First Twenty Years of The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute.” Ornell Balzer passed away on October 9, 2005 at the age of 93.


Restrictions on Access

This interview contains no restrictions

Restrictions on Use

All requests for copying of materials must be submitted to the Historical Resources Center in writing for approval. All reproductions will be handled by HRC staff

Authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce must be obtained in writing by the Historical Resources Center

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Balzer, Ornell H.
Fletcher, Gilbert H. (Gilbert Hungerford), 1911-
Yoder, Paul.
Barkley, Howard T.
Fletcher, Mary Walker
Shullenberger, C. C., 1914-
Howe, Clifton
White, Edgar
Subjects (Organizations)
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center -- history
Hospital Departments
Hospitals, Special
Neoplasms -- radiotherapy -- history
Nursing Staff, Hospital -- organization and administration
Radiology Department, Hospital
Radiotherapy -- history
X-Ray Therapy
Houston (TX)
Oral History

Administrative Information


Interview between Ornell H. Balzer and Lesley W. Brunet on September 4, 2003 in Friendswood, Texas.

Preferred Citation

Ornell H. Balzer Oral History Interview 1, September 4, 2003, Research Medical Library, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Processing Information

Oral history was edited by Jewelry Yep, HRC Intern, February 2011



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