Skip to main content

Walter J. McNerney Papers

Identifier: 12/1/16

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Walter J. McNerney papers span the years between 1934 and 1998 and fill 235 boxes. The collection thoroughly documents McNerney’s professional career, especially his work as president of the Blue Cross Association, his role in the merger of Blue Cross with the Blue Shield Association, his tenure as president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, his advocacy for better healthcare benefits for the elderly, and his central and influential place in the creation of the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs. But the collection also reflects McNerney’s early administrative and teaching responsibilities at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, his efforts to establish the University of Michigan’s program in hospital administration, and his teaching and health policy program responsibilities with Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Physical formats of material include correspondence, reports, records of consultancies, course and teaching materials, speech texts, publications, government documents, newspaper and magazine articles in which McNerney is mentioned, photographs, certificates, and awards. These formats reflect both the breadth and the depth of McNerney’s tremendous influence on the provision – and its expansion – of healthcare and hospital care to the American public. The McNerney collection forms a key resource for understanding the mid-twentieth century transformation of healthcare policy through the actions of medical care providers, health insurance corporations and associations, of the federal government, and of committed individuals.


  • 1934 - 1997


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored off-site and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


235 Boxes

Language of Materials



The papers of Walter J. McNerney include correspondence, articles, speeches, photographs, reports, publications, and other documents, dealing with all aspects of the delivery of health care.


For the most part, files were retained according to Mr. McNerney’s organization of the material. Some adjustments have been made, chiefly to bring like materials together in a single chronological or alphabetical sequence, without regard to size or format.

Custodial History

The collection was donated to the Health Research and Educational Trust on behalf of the Center for Hospital and Healthcare Administration History in December 2006, by the family of Walter J. McNerney.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was transferred from the American Hospital Association to Northwestern University in 2021-02 (accession 2020-18).

Guide to the Walter J. McNerney Papers
Original finding aid prepared by Laura Lorenzana and Bruce Kenamore, M.D., of Kenamore and Klinkow, archivists
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US