CHISHOLM —— A newly released Mayo Clinic documentary dedicated to Chisholm’s legendary Dr. Archibald W. Graham, also known as Doc “Moonlight” Graham, will be shown at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, at Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm.

The film was released earlier this month in Rochester, Minn., coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the “Field of Dreams” movie.

In the movie, actor Burt Lancaster portrayed Graham, a professional baseball player turned physician. The movie sparked a world-wide curiosity about the man behind the character.

The film’s Producer/Director Mark Flaherty, media support services at Mayo Clinic, conducted research in Chisholm, including having interviewed locals who knew Graham. He also interviewed Mayo Clinic physicians who are Chisholm natives.

“It was a real pleasure working on this story,” said Flaherty. “I met many wonderful people in Chisholm. Dr. Graham was really admired.”

Physicians interviewed for the project include William Rupp, CEO of Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and retirees Dr. James Pluth and Dr. Robert Avant.

Flaherty said the film has been well-received in Rochester, adding that he’s looking forward to bringing it to Chisholm, where it will be on the schedule of events for the Doc “Moonlight” Graham Days Festival.

The festival serves a dual role as a community gathering and an annual reunion for Chisholm alumni.

In 2013, Mayo Clinic premiered a film entitled, “A Cheerful Heart: The Dave Madden Story.” Madden was a polio patient who lived in an iron lung for 16 years at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Rochester. His uncle, A.W. Graham, was

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a regular visitor.

Graham’s ties to Mayo Clinic went way beyond visiting his nephew. He made many visits to observe surgery and attend continuing education courses. A record of Graham’s attendance is documented in the Mayo Historical United, where attendance rosters show his signature: A.W. Graham, M.D., Chisholm, Minn.

Graham also co-authored articles published in the American Journal of Diseases of Children with physicians from Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic also has copies of newspaper articles and photographs about this milestone work.

Graham had friends and colleagues at Mayo Clinic, including Dr. Hamner Irwin, who was an assistant to Dr. Emil Beckman. In correspondence, Graham refers to meeting Irwin while at Mayo Clinic in the spring of 1915, when he sought diagnosis and treatment for a long-standing ailment related to respiratory problems that started during his years as a baseball player.

Graham’s years in Chisholm are regarded as extremely important in terms of preventing illness and advances in medicine, according to researchers. During his years a school physician, he was faced with the flu epidemic of 1918, measles, diphtheria, typhoid, tuberculosis and polio.

He advocated for dental hygiene, hand washing and cleanliness, sewer and street repairs, and proper disposal of garbage and manure. He was also a supporter of school activities and athletic teams.

Graham married Alecia Madden in Rochester on Sept. 29, 1915. She was a Rochester native who taught sixth grade in the Chisholm Schools.

At age 85, he passed away. He and his wife are buried in Rochester.

The showing at MDC will be free for the public. Following the film, there will be an opportunity to met Producer/Director Mark Flaherty and discuss the documentary.


If you’re going …

What: Mayo Clinic Documentary on Doc “Moonlight” Graham

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6

Where: Minnesota Discovery Center, Chisholm

Admission: Free. Cash bar and hors d’oeuvres

Donations: Will benefit the Doc “Moonlight” Graham Days Festival


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