M. Lowell Edwards (1898-1982) was an engineer, inventor and entrepreneur who spent most of his career in Oregon. With Albert Starr, MD, he co-invented the Starr-Edwards artificial heart valve. Their invention saved thousands of lives, and became a defining moment in the history of  University of Oregon Medical School (now Oregon Health & Science University).
OHSU Historical Collections & Archives, part of OHSU Library, holds archival and rare materials documenting Edwards’ innovative work. These unique resources include photographs, manuscripts, publications, and artifacts. OHSU Library also holds oral history interviews and research publications relating to the development of the Starr-Edwards heart valve.

The text of this exhibit is adapted from the biography of M. Lowell Edwards written by Richard J. Mullins, M.D. for an exhibit at OHSU Library in Fall 2011. Last updated 2011.

The M. Lowell Edwards Public History Project began with an exhibit at OHSU Library in Fall 2011. Staff of OHSU Historical Collections & Archives collaborated with Richard J. Mullins, MD to place Edwards’ contribution to cardiovascular technology in the context of his long career. The exhibition displayed materials from the library’s collections, as well as items loaned by the family of M. Lowell Edwards. As a result of the exhibit, the library received additional donations of archival material and funding for oral history interviews. In 2012, the Edwards Lifesciences Fund supported the development of a Website presentation that provides longevity for the exhibit; educates the public about M. Lowell Edwards; and facilitates public, online access to archival materials. The fund also supported publicity associated with the project, and preservation of the Jeri L. Dobbs Collection of artificial heart valves.

The M. Lowell Edwards Public History Project was made possible by a grant from the Edwards Lifesciences Fund. We are grateful to Teresa Edwards Allen and the extended family of M. Lowell Edwards for their generosity in sharing documents from the estate of M. Lowell Edwards. We also thank Richard J. Mullins, M.D. for his many contributions to this project. Laura Cray provided digital collections assistance.

Images and documents included in this project are subject to U.S. copyright law. OHSU Library encourages the use of these materials for individual research and educational purposes. Any reproduction or publication of these materials requires the permission of the OHSU Library and the copyright holder. For further information on rights and reproductions, please contact Historical Collections & Archives, OHSU Library.