Apply now for a 2019-2020 New England Regional Fellowship!

By , December 7, 2018

The New England Regional Fellowship Consortium (NERFC) is now accepting applications for 2019-2020 research grants.

NERFC is a collaboration of twenty-seven major cultural agencies that will offer at least twenty awards in 2019–2020. Each grant provides a stipend of $5,000 for a total of at least eight weeks of research at three or more participating institutions beginning June 1, 2019, and ending May 31, 2020. The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine and its Center for the History of Medicine is a NERFC member.

NERFC will also make a special award in 2019–2020 on behalf of the The Colonial Society of Massachusetts, which will underwrite a project on the history of New England before the American Revolution.

All applications must be completed using our online form at www.nerfc.org/apply.

The deadline for applications is February 1, 2019.

Contact the Massachusetts Historical Society, by phone at 617-646-0577 or email fellowships@masshist.org, with questions. Download the poster or visit the NERFC website for a full list of participating member institutions.

 

Staff Finds: The Photography of Mark Rosenberg

By , January 17, 2019

Vietnam War Protestors

While processing the papers of Mark Rosenberg, center staff came across records related to Rosenberg’s activities as a photographer. As a undergraduate at Harvard, Rosenberg was a photographer for the Harvard Crimson and later on his work appeared in the Harvard Alumni Bulletin and the Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin. He accompanied anthropologist and Harvard University faculty member Evon Vogt to Mexico as a photographer as part of the Harvard Chiapas Project. From 1978 to 1980, he was a Tutor in Photography at Radcliffe College.

Starting in 1976, Rosenberg worked on a project to document the human side of injury and illness, as contrasted with the coldness and sterility of medical technology. In his book, Patients: the Experience of Illness (1980), he combined photographs and interviews to show the effects of illness on the lives of six people with different diseases. In an interview after the publication of Patients, Rosenberg discussed the intersection of medicine and photography:

Pictures of sick people are conspicuous by their absence and the segregation of the seriously ill into hospitals and nursing homes ensures that most of us will never see ‘the real thing’. An unfortunate consequence of keeping illness under wraps is that we might come to think that sick people are too horrifying to look at. And if we can’t look at them, we certainly can’t talk to them. In the end, we may leave patients unable to talk about their illnesses with family or friends just when they are most in need of support.

A selection of Rosenberg’s photographs from the collection can be seen below.

Rosenberg (B.A., 1967, Harvard College; M.D., 1972, Harvard Medical School) was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Task Force for Global Health (1999-2016) and worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (1980-1999), helping to establish the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and serving as the first Director (1994-1999).

The processing of the Rosenberg papers is nearing completion and the finding aid will be available soon. For information regarding access to this collection, please contact the Public Services staff.

James Jackson’s Memoir of James Jackson, Jr.

By , January 16, 2019
First page of James Jackson's 1835 biography of his son, James Jackson, Jr.

First page of James Jackson’s 1835 biography of his son, James Jackson, Jr.

Center staff are currently working on a new finding aid for the James Jackson papers; Jackson was born October 3, 1777 in Newburyport, Massachusetts, to Jonathan Jackson (1743-1810) and Hannah Tracy Jackson. Before beginning his medical career, he worked as a clerk for his father who continued to work in the state government after he had been a representative of Massachusetts at the Continental Congress. Jackson taught school at Leicester Academy for a year in 1797. He received all of his degrees from Harvard University: his A.B in 1796 and M.D. in 1809. After establishing his own general practice, and while working at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Jackson was named the first professor of clinical medicine at Harvard Medical School. He was Hersey Professor of the Theory and Practice of Physic (1812-1836) and dean of the Medical School (1820-1821).

After earning his A.B. from Harvard in 1796, James Jackson first studied medicine in Salem under physician Edward Augustus Holyoke (1728-1829). Before completing his M.D., he moved to London and took a job as a surgeon’s dresser at St. Thomas’s Hospital; during his time in
London, Jackson paid particular attention to the emerging practice of vaccination. Jackson returned to Boston in 1800 and opened his own medical practice, which he continued until 1866. He developed expertise in vaccination and became one of the earliest people in America
to investigate the practice experimentally. In 1802, before finishing medical school, he was appointed physician to the Boston Dispensary. In 1803, he became a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and in 1810 he helped to reorganize the Massachusetts Medical Society and to relocate Harvard Medical School from Cambridge to Boston. In 1810, Jackson began the process of founding Massachusetts General Hospital and Somerville Asylum with John Collins Warren. Jackson was the first physician of Massachusetts General Hospital and practiced there from 1817-1837.

Jackson had an extensive publishing career and Center staff were pleased to find that many of his titles had been digitized and were freely available in the Medical Heritage Library, including Jackson’s 1835 memoir of his son, A memoir of James Jackson, Jr., M.D. : with extracts from his letters to his father, and medical cases collected by him. James Jackson, Jr. had been studying medicine in Paris and returned to Boston to enter medical practice with his fater. Unfortunately, Jackson fell ill almost immediately upon his return to the United States and died before he could open his practice.

The memoir includes extracts from Jackson, Jr.’s letters home from Europe as well as lengthy “footnotes” added by Jackson and case notes from Jackson, Jr.’s study. The “footnotes” are almost conversational in nature, opening with something like an open letter to Pierre Charles Alexandre Louis, his son’s teacher in France, about why Jackson, Jr. had not taken some health advice Louis had given him.

Warren Anatomical Museum Exhibition Gallery Closed December 22, 2018 through January 2, 2019.

By , December 22, 2018

Eagle skeleton prepared by Oliver Wendell Holmes. Warren Anatomical Museum in the Countway Library of Medicine

The Warren Anatomical Museum Exhibition Gallery on the 5th floor of the Countway Library of Medicine will be closed Monday 12/24/2018 through Tuesday 01/01/2019 for the Harvard University holiday break. The entire Countway, including the Warren Museum, will reopen on Wednesday, 01/02/2019. More about the Museum’s and Library’s hours can be found on the Countway website.

 

New Addition to the Norman Geschwind Papers

By , December 10, 2018

Norman Geschwind

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce a new accession (2016-049) to the Norman Geschwind papers has been processed and integrated into the collection. The additions include a new series, V. Personal Records, and several smaller additions to existing series, including writings and research regarding apraxia and aphasia. Included in the Personal Records series are obituaries, condolence letters, and clippings related to Norman Geschwind’s death, as well as photographs, school and military records, biographical publications and memorial records.

Norman Geschwind (1926-1984) AB, 1947, Harvard College, MD, 1951, Harvard Medical School, was the James Jackson Putnam Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and the director of Neurology at Boston City Hospital (1969-1975) and Beth Israel Hospital (1975-1984). Geschwind’s research focused on the relationship between brain anatomy and behavior, including the areas of language and left-handedness, and the functional differences between brain hemispheres

The finding aid for the Geschwind papers can be found here.

For information regarding access to this collection, please contact the Public Services staff.

Staff Finds: Albert Warren Stearns and Sacco and Vanzetti

By , December 10, 2018

Receipt for Sacco Examination

While processing the papers of Albert Warren Stearns, Center staff came across records related to Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. The Italian-born anarchists were convicted and then executed for the 1920 robbery and murder of two men in South Braintree, MA. Stearns was a psychiatrist and neurologist and he assisted in the examination of Nicola Sacco at Bridgewater State Hospital in 1923. The records include a bill, left, for the examination of Sacco sent to Norfolk County and correspondence, below, featuring a discussion with a Tufts colleague about the use of a drug as a way to compel Sacco and Vanzetti to tell the truth.

Albert Warren Stearns, 1885-1959, had a psychiatry private practice and regularly consulted for judicial and law enforcement entities. He earned his M.D. from Tufts College School of Medicine in 1910 and from 1927 to 1945 was the Dean of the Tufts College School of Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry. During the First and Second World Wars, he served in the medical corps of the United States Navy, evaluating and classifying the mental health of recruits for naval service.  After returning to Tufts from military service in 1945, Stearns became a Professor and Chairman of the Department of Sociology. He also served as Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (1929-1933).

The finding aid for the Stearns papers can be found here.

For information regarding access to this collection, please contact the Public Services staff.

Re-Centering the Narrative: A Brief History of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic

By , December 4, 2018

 

On June 5, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on cases of Pneumocystis pneumonia that afflicted “5 young men, all active homosexuals,” in Los Angeles.This report marked the beginning of public knowledge about the AIDS epidemic. What the report didn’t include was two other cases of the mysterious pneumonia – the first afflicting a gay African-American man, the other, a heterosexual Haitian man. This early omission of race was reflected throughout reporting during the HIV/AIDS crisis; historically the narrative focus has been on how the HIV/AIDS epidemic affected gay white men, while the experiences of American black and brown people with HIV/AIDS have been under documented, ignored, or written out of history.

In fact, the first case of HIV/AIDS discovered in the United States was Robert Rayford, a 16 year old black teenager from St. Louis, Missouri who died in 1969. The story of his sickness and  death, reported on in 1987, was eclipsed by the now disproven “Patient Zero” narrative that French-Canadian flight attendant, Gaëtan Dugas was the first person to bring HIV into the United States.

The time of mass HIV/AIDS deaths in the United States is largely behind us. A combination drug treatment, known as the AIDS cocktail, was discovered, leading to dramatic improvement in managing in HIV infection. After the introduction of the cocktail, the number of new AIDS-related deaths began to drop, starting in 1997. Today, HIV is a chronic condition for those with access to highly active antiretroviral therapy.

Quinn, Robert John, “Robert John Quinn’s Memorial Books, Volume A,” Documented | Digital Collections of The History Project

Despite the discovery of the cocktail more than 20 years ago, HIV/AIDS continues to disproportionately affect African American and Latino men. According to the CDC, in 2016, African Americans accounted for 44% of HIV diagnoses, while Latinx people accounted for 26% of HIV diagnoses. Among Latino men, 85% of diagnosed HIV infections were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact, while more than half of African Americans (58%) who received an HIV diagnoses identified as gay or bisexual. The higher levels of HIV infection in black and brown communities of color is attributable to systemic bias, discrimination, structural racism, and lack of access to education and care. To face this ongoing crisis, we must acknowledge history and stories that have been hidden, and discuss how these histories can inform our current responses.

One of those stories is of Wilfred Colon Augusto, a Countway Library employee who died on September 17, 1991. Wilfred was a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego, employed at Harvard Medical School, and by telephone company Nynex. He was active in the Latino Health Network. Wilfred’s obituary details:

Diagnosed with AIDS in 1985, Wilfred continued to live his life to its fullest. His great sense of humor and admiration for living allowed Wilfred to deal with the many challenges and the changing circumstances precipitated by AIDS. He enjoyed traveling, especially to his native Puerto Rico, and spending summers in Provincetown as well as dining out.

Today we remember Wilfred Colon Augusto, a member of the Harvard Medical School community, and a person whose story and experience should not be lost to history.


 

The Center for the History of Medicine in the Countway Library holds several collections related to the history of HIV/AIDS in Massachusetts and around the world, including the papers of:

  • Max Essex, Mary Woodard Lasker Professor of Health Sciences in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Steven L. Gortmaker, Professor of the Practice of Health Sociology in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Stephen Lagakos, Professor of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Richard G. Marlink, Bruce A. Beal, Robert L. Beal, and Alexander S. Beal Professor of the Practice of Public Health in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • 13 series of the Records of the Harvard AIDS Institute

The Center also holds oral history interviews and transcripts with hemophiliac men who were patients at the Boston Hemophilia Center, available on OnView.

Dr. Fe del Mundo

By , November 27, 2018

Fe del Mundo’s 107th Birthday Google Doodle

 

Dr. Fe del Mundo is celebrated in today’s Google Doodle. She was the founder of the first pediatric hospital in the Philippines, and she was conferred the rank and title of National Scientist of the Philippines as well as the Order of Lakandula, one of the highest honors given by the Philippines. She is also often called Harvard Medical School’s, or even Harvard University’s, first woman student.

While Dr. Del Mundo was remarkable in many ways, the evidence that she was a medical student at Harvard Medical School is largely anecdotal and not well sourced. As far as my research using Harvard Medical School catalogs and records shows, she earned her Medical Degree from the University of the Philippines Manila in 1933, and in 1936, came to Boston to further her studies in pediatrics. The fact that Harvard Medical School did not admit women students and Dr. Del Mundo already earned her medical degree suggests that she was not admitted as a student, even in error, and I cannot find proof that she graduated from Harvard Medical School.

Instead, it seems more likely that she completed graduate work at Harvard Medical School through an appointment at Boston Children’s Hospital. Women physicians were admitted to courses in the Harvard Medical School Graduate School of Medicine (later called the Courses for Graduates) beginning in the late 19th century. The 1936 announcement of the Courses for Graduates clearly states that women could be admitted to graduate courses: “Women are not admitted to the regular undergraduate classes of the Harvard Medical School. The admission of women to the various courses offered under the department of the School is at the discretion of the instructor in charge of the course. The catalogue usually states in connection with each course whether or not it is open to women.”

There is very little archival documentation about the graduate courses from this period, and no list of enrolled students, but Dr. Fe del Mundo is listed as an Assistant Physician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and a Research Fellow in Pediatrics in 1940. Further suggesting that she was a graduate student and not a medical student, in her autobiographical statement in Women Physicians of the World (1977), Dr. Del Mundo explains “I spent three years of my postgraduate studies at the Children’s Hospital in Boston and at Harvard Medical School, one year at the University of Chicago, six months at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and short terms in various pediatric institutions, all to round out my training.”

Furthermore, other women studied at Harvard University before 1936, such as the women who studied at the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers (later the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) including its first woman graduate Linda Frances James (who completed her certificate in 1917). Two additional women, Ann Hogue Stewart and Hester Balch Curtis, were both awarded the Master of Public Health in 1936.

Given the restrictions placed on student records, and the fact that Harvard Medical School did not celebrate or acknowledge the academic work of women prior to officially accepting women students in 1945, it is difficult to determine if Dr. Del Mundo was Harvard Medical School’s first woman student. Given her degree and course of study, it is unlikely.

If Dr. Fe del Mundo is not the first woman graduate of Harvard Medical School, does that mean her story isn’t important or isn’t a part of Harvard Medical School’s history? No. I cannot yet determine if she was the first Filipina or Asian woman admitted to the Courses for Graduates, but I imagine that she is among the first. Currently, the Center for the History of Medicine, in partnership with the Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership, is funding research on Harvard Medical School’s other “firsts,” searching our archives for evidence of students who represent ethnic and cultural backgrounds that have been historically marginalized. I’m not sure who we’ll find in the archives, but at the conclusion of this project, I hope to surface other stories like Dr. Del Mundo’s. I can only imagine the pushback that a woman doctor from the Philippines may have encountered when she came to Boston in the 1930s. Despite not being Harvard Medical School’s first woman student, Dr. Fe del Mundo is still an important and inspirational figure in the history of Harvard Medical School and the history of medicine in the Philippines.


Please send any questions to Joan Ilacqua, Archivist for Diversity and Inclusion.

Announcement: Archives for Diversity and Inclusion Program

By , November 6, 2018

Members of the Class of 1881 of the Harvard Dental School

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the Archives for Diversity and Inclusion. Building on the successes of the Archives for Women in Medicine program, the Archives for Diversity and Inclusion will expand in scope to include acquiring the research, teaching, and professional records of underrepresented faculty of Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and Harvard affiliated hospitals.

Joan Ilacqua is Archivist for Diversity and Inclusion at the Center for the History of Medicine. Ms. Ilacqua will partner with members of the HMS/HSDM community to diversify the historical record to include populations underrepresented in medicine (URM), including those who self identify as: Black or African-American; Hispanic or Latino; American Indian or Alaska Native; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Asian; LGBTQ; or as a person with a disability. As a part of the revamped program, she will also continue to acquire the records of leading women in medicine. In the next year, she will implement a strategic acquisitions program by identifying records, archives, publications, and other materials created by groups underrepresented in medicine (URM) professionals affiliated with Harvard with long-term research and evidential value. She also plans robust outreach activities, including engaging an advisory committee and community partnerships, and capturing and sharing the experiences of URM faculty through exhibits, events, and oral histories. Ms. Ilacqua has already conducted oral history interviews with a number of faculty and alumni as part of the Equal Access Oral History Project

Formerly, Ms. Ilacqua was the Project Archivist for the Archives for Women in Medicine where she worked to ensure that the history of women leaders in medicine and the medical sciences were recognized in the Center for the History of Medicine’s collections. She serves on Harvard Medical School’s LGBT Advisory Committee, Equity and Social Justice Committee, and Joint Committee on the Status of Women. She won the 2018 Dean’s Community Service Award for her volunteer work with The History Project: Documenting LGBTQ Boston, a volunteer-driven community LGBTQ archives. A graduate of UMass Boston’s Public History master’s program, Ms. Ilacqua is currently enrolled in Harvard extension school’s Nonprofit Management certificate program.

The Center thanks the Office for Diversity Inclusion & Community Partnership, the Joint Committee on the Status of Women, the LGBT Advisory Committee, and the Office for Faculty Affairs for their support of the Archives for Women in Medicine program and the creation of the Archives for Diversity and Inclusion.

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