Manfred S. Guttmacher Papers Open to Research

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the Manfred S. Guttmacher papers, 1928-1964 (inclusive), are open to research.

Manfred Guttmacher was born May 19, 1898, along with his twin brother Alan Guttmacher (1898-1974) in Baltimore, Maryland, to Adolph and Laura (Oppenheimer) Guttmacher. Manfred graduated from Student Park School in Baltimore in 1915. Both Alan and Manfred received their advanced degrees from Johns Hopkins University; Manfred received his B.A. in 1919 and his M.D. in 1923. Manfred held internships at the Johns Hopkins Hospital (1924-1925) and Boston Psychopathic Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts (1927-1928).

Guttmacher specialized in criminal psychiatry, including patient care, and engaged in extensive writing and lecturing on crime and mental illness. His career included work on the definitions of insanity and the psychological requirements for responsibility for crime. He was also interested in the development of a revised penal code to replace state codes which were often inconsistent. He was involved in the development of the American Law Institute’s Model Penal Code during the 1950s. This project, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, sought to establish a comprehensive penal code that could be applied across the United States. Guttmacher was an advocate of the court-appointed expert and the establishment of psychiatric clinics associated with the courts.

Guttmacher was a prolific author, publishing numerous articles and books on criminal psychiatry and psychiatry and the law. Titles include The Mind of the murderer (1960), Sex offenses (1952) and Psychiatry and the law (1952), the last two co-written with Henry Weihofen (1904-1993) who also worked on the Model Penal Code project. Guttmacher was also the author of numerous articles in medical and lay journals. The papers reflect Guttmacher’s personal and professional activities and include correspondence, writings and publications, lectures and speeches, and professional activities records.

 

Boston Medical Library Bookplates

The Boston Medical Library, founded in 1805, includes over 400,000 volumes, many with bookplates or ex libris: small graphic elements used by owners — individuals and societies — to claim volumes.

BML librarians also collected bookplates independent from books, creating a small collection which was recently processed by Center staff. The bookplates are from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries and include plates from organizations as well as from individuals. This gallery is only a small selection of plates that reflects the range of styles present in the collection.

Darwin DeForrest Douglas and the Government Contract

In 1862, surgeon general William Hammond convened a medical board to discuss the question of providing prosthetic limbs to Union soldiers who had undergone amputation after being wounded. The number of these men was increasing quickly and, if nothing else, Hammond wanted to get those who could be rehabilitated for military life back to the front. Men who would be demobilized back to civilian life also required support since a missing arm or leg could incapacitate a man who had been an active farmer or mechanic.

By the beginning of the Civil War, there were several well-known limb manufacturers in the United States, mostly along the Eastern seaboard. Benjamin Franklin Palmer had one of the first full-scale manufacturing plants and more than one of his workmen, including William Selpho, Douglas Bly, E.D. Hudson, Benjamin Jewett, and Darwin DeForrest Douglass, had gone on to create businesses of their own. The designs, including Palmer’s own, were mostly variations on a model that had been created in the early years of the nineteenth century in Britain for veterans of the Napoleonic wars. Arguments between makers were heated, however, as each tried to defend his own design as unique and, of course, better than the competition.

Hammond’s board asked several major limb manufacturers, including B.F. Palmer but not Douglass, to submit limbs for inspection. The board then planned to select the best and work out some plan whereby limbs and soldiers could be brought together. The main difficulties, it soon became clear, would be money and time: who was going to pay for the limb? and how much time should the soldier have to spend in getting it? Most limb manufacturers, including Palmer and Douglass, advised that limbs needed personal fitting — it wasn’t simply a matter of shipping off two dozen medium-size legs to a hospital and letting the staff hand them out.

The medical board never decided upon a single supplier and the Union government never signed a contract with a particular manufacturer for supplies of limbs. Instead, suppliers were given charge of particular geographic areas and soldiers in need of limbs were supposed to apply to their closest hospital. In practice, of course, this might mean a man would have to travel 200 miles roundtrip in order to get a limb — and the government stipend for prostheses did not cover travel or housing while waiting to be fitted or the multiple trips that might be necessary in order to adjust a new prosthesis properly.

Indeed, the stipend itself could be part of the problem. Since there was no official contract to control how much manufacturers could charge for a limb, just an unofficial “agreement,” several manufacturers, including Palmer and Selpho, were accused of price-gouging. Selpho, in fact, was firmly rebuked by Surgeon General Hammond more than once for taking money from soldiers over what was allowed by the government stipend.

Douglass, on the other hand, managed to benefit from the unofficial nature of the government arrangement without directly imposing on the soldier. Since there was no official government supplier, he argued that men coming to him to be fitted were simply exercising their freedom of choice in an open marketplace and the government should reimburse him as promised. However, it may also have been because he sold so few limbs in comparison to suppliers like Palmer, Selpho, and Jewett, that whatever price-fixing Douglass indulged in was not worth tracking down.

~For more, see Guy R. Hasegawa’s Mending Broken Soldiers: The Union and Confederate Programs to Supply Artifical Limbs (2012) and the D. DeForrest Douglass papers.

Roderick Heffron Papers Open to Research

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the Roderick Heffron Papers, 1881-1977 (inclusive), 1923-1949 (bulk), are open to research.

Roderick Heffron (1901-1982) was a medical researcher and physician specializing in pneumonia. He was in born in Chicago, Illinois in 1901 and received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1928. Between 1931 and 1935, Heffron was field director of the Massachusetts Pneumonia Study and Service and, in 1936, he and Frederick T. Lord (1875-1941) co-authored Lobar Pneumonia and Serum Therapy based on the research of the Service. Heffron took a position at the Commonwealth Fund in 1937 and served on the Pneumonia Committee of the United States Public Health Service in 1939. He retired from the Commonwealth Fund in 1966. Heffron married Catherine Haman and died in Falmouth, Massachusetts, in 1983 at the age of 82.
The collection consists of records reflecting Heffron’s work in researching and writing on pneumonia, particularly his work on and the critical reception of the books published from the data gatherd during the Massachusetts Pneumonia Study on pneumonia and serum treatment. Included here are clippings of book reviews, correspondence with co-authors and other pneumonological specialists particularly George N. Papanicolaou (1883-1962), a Greek specialist in cytopathology, and collected reprints of research materials. The collection includes a small number of books collected by Heffron, many with annotations, marginalia, and insertions including newspaper and magazine clippings

Henry Pickering Bowditch Papers Open to Research

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the Henry Pickering Bowditch papers, 1833-1961 (inclusive), 1860-1900 (bulk), are re-processed and open to research.

Henry Pickering Bowditch was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 4, 1840 to Lucy Orne Nichols (1816-1883) and Jonathan Ingersoll Bowditch (1806-1889). He entered Harvard College in 1857 and graduated in 1861 with a bachelor’s degree; he began studies at the Lawrence Scientific School in Cambridge the same year, but left to volunteer for the Union Army. Bowditch served as a cavalry officer until 1865 when he resigned his command and returned to the Lawrence Scientific School and Harvard Medical School. He received his M.D. in 1868 and travelled to Europe to study medicine. Bowditch studied in France and Germany between 1868 and 1871, eventually specializing in the study of physiology under the tutelage of Carl Ludwig (1816-1895) in Leipzig, Germany.

In 1871, Bowditch returned to the United States with his wife, Selma Knauth (1853-1918), and accepted an assistant professorship in physiology at Harvard Medical School. Bowditch established his first physiological laboratory in the old medical school building on North Grove Street in 1872. Bowditch accepted a promotion to full professor in 1876. In 1903, he was given the newly established George Higginson professorship in physiology. Bowditch taught at Harvard for 35 years, resigning in 1906.

Bowditch studied physiology throughout his teaching and research career, focusing on studies of the nerves and the cardiac muscles. He was interested in long-term growth studies and presented data from one of the first, on Boston schoolchildren, at a Boston Society of Medical Sciences meeting in 1872. Bowditch continued to work on comparative growth studies through the 1890s. He was an active pro-vivisectionist, campaigning in favor of animal experimentation in the 1890s when efforts were being made to restrict the use of laboratory animals. He was one of the founding members of the American Physiological Society in 1887 and served as the Society’s second president after S. Weir Mitchell. Bowditch was also on the first editorial board for the American Journal of Physiology when it was founded in 1898.

The collection consists mainly of correspondence but also includes family research records, personal papers including military records, and a small amount of writing and manuscript material.

Darwin DeForrest Douglas Papers Open to Research

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the D. DeForrest (Darwin DeForrest) Douglass papers, 1820-1901 (inclusive), 1850-1900 (bulk), are open to research.

Darwin DeForrest Douglas (1828-1902) was an entrepreneur and artificial limb designer and maker during the last half of the nineteenth century. He began as a workman for Benjamin Franklin Palmer (b. 1828) and left Palmer’s company to start his own. Palmer was one of the first makers of prosthetic limbs in the United States, working with a design that had been created in England after the Napoleonic Wars.

Douglass was never a major maker of artificial limbs and did not establish his own company. He continued to work on his leg design, refit old legs, and provide new ones until the 1890s.

The papers include correspondence and financial records that reflect Douglass’s personal and professional lives. Correspondence and bills relating to his wife, Susan, and daughter, Jennie Grace, are included here as well as correspondence relating to Douglass’s professional work as a prosthetist. Financial records include household, personal, and professional items such as sheet music (presumably for Jennie Grace Douglass who was a student at the New England Conservatory of Music), wood, paint, clothing, food (tea, sugar, flour, vegetables, meat, milk, etc.), as well as promissory notes, bills for rentals, gas, coal, and ice bills, and property tax records.

Francine M. Benes Papers Open for Research

The Center for the History of Medicine is The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Francine M. Benes papers, 1979-2014 (inclusive), 1985-2005 (bulk) to research.

Born in Queens, New York, on May 8, 1946, Francine Benes received her bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University in New York in 1967. In 1972, she completed a PhD in Cell Biology at Yale School of Medicine. Between 1972 and 1975, she received post-doctoral training at the City of Hope National Medical Center in California where she used single cell neurochemistry to study GABA neurons. In 1975, Dr. Benes began medical school at Yale and after receiving her M.D. in 1978, she completed a psychiatric residency at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Benes’ research focuses on exploring the post-mortem brains of patients who had a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, with special focus on determining the role of GABA cells in the pathophysiology of psychotic disorders. Her later research employs microarray-based gene expression profiling (GEP) to explore the genetic causation for GABA cell dysfunction and to determine how molecular mechanisms differ in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The collection reflects Benes’ neuroscientific research focusing on the physical and biochemical changes in brain tissue in bipolar depression and dementia. Records include correspondence, drafts and manuscripts for articles and book chapters, grant proposals, budgets, and reports as well as records reflecting Benes’ professional activities at conferences and professional organizations including as a committee member, panel commentator, or speaker.

Finding aid now available for the Richard P. Strong papers

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Richard Pearson Strong Papers, 1911-2004 (inclusive), 1911-1945 (bulk) to research

Strong was born in Virginia in 1872. He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School in 1893 and his M.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1897; he also had his first residency at Johns Hopkins. He spent two years in the American Army Medical Service during the Spanish-American war. After the war, Strong helped organize and then headed the Biological Laboratory in the Philippines directed by Paul C. Freer. In 1906, Strong was involved in the infection of twenty-three prisoners at Bilibid Prison with the bubonic plague virus. Thirteen of the men died; the rest recovered. After some investigation, the infections were blamed on a laboratory mix-up and Strong unofficially exonerated. Strong was named professor of tropical medicine at the University of the Philippines in 1907. He left the Philippines appointment in 1913 upon his appointment to a professorship in tropical medicine at Harvard Medical School; he was named chair of the newly formed Department of Tropical Medicine in the same month and president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in the same year.

Strong was an expert in tropical medicine and worked in the United States, the Philippines, South America, and Africa. The papers include correspondence files and related material concerning the Harvard Department of Tropical Medicine from its earliest years until Strong’s retirement, as well as records related to Strong’s: teaching activities at Harvard and at the Army Medical School; scientific expeditions; World War I work as head of the Red Cross commission to combat the typhus epidemic in Serbia; involvement in social clubs, international congresses, and professional societies such as the American Academy and Foundation of Tropical Medicine; advisory work for the National Research Council Committee on Medical Problems of Animal Parasitology; and service on the Massachusetts Public Health Council. The papers also contain: records pertaining to Strong’s research and writing; some family correspondence; some personal financial papers; correspondence, memoranda, and photographs relating to Strong’s teaching for the Army during World War II; a book and series of DVDs about the Harvard African Expedition in 1934; and a diary and letters belonging to Strong’s wife, Grace Nichols.

American Academy of Dental Science Records Now Open

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the American Academy of Dental Science Records, 1868-1997 (inclusive) to research.

The American Academy of Dental Sciences was founded in 1867 in Boston, Massachusetts, one of the last national professional organizations for dentists founded in the nineteenth century in the United States. The founding of the Academy came towards the end of a national shift towards professional organization among dentists. The move towards organization aimed to position dentistry as a united profession, smoothing over divisions from earlier in the century which had led to public and private feuds and, many dentists felt, a general distrust among members of the public. The Academy was an independently organized society, not associated with either the American Dental Convention or the American Dental Association, the two other national groups for dentists extant at the time.

At the Academy’s founding meeting on October 19, 1867, E.T. Wilson was named the Academy’s first president with D.M. Parker as vice-president and E.N. Harris as secretary. Elections were held annually thereafter unless a member needed to step down from a position. This was not infrequent as dentists were a mobile profession and the change from ‘member’ to ‘corresponding member’ is frequent in meeting minutes. ‘Corresponding members,’ however, were expected to keep in contact with the organization and contribute to the business of the group.

The Academy held regular meetings from its foundation until the 1980s. Meetings generally included a topical discussion or special presentations and a dinner as well as a regular business meeting. The record books kept by the Academy’s secretaries form a remarkably full record of Academy activities.

Academy members were encouraged to bring before the meeting anything that might educate other members or help the development of dental science as a whole. In the early years of the Academy, patients were often brought in as visual aids when members explained particular techniques or materials they had used. Members also brought in equipment which they had designed or made improvements on, commented on current topics of interest such as the development of mechanical drills or methods of anesthesia, and discussed procedures they had used for dealing with particular kinds of dental work, including accidental injuries, cancers, tumors, syphilitic infections, and congenital deformities of the mouth. Patients were sometimes followed for years as the Academy would request updates on particularly interesting or unique work.

Larger topics were also discussed, often developing into ongoing discussions that lasted for years, such as the debate over the development of dental education in the United States as a whole. Many members of the Academy felt that dentists were under-educated in their field — and, as a result, under-valued — in comparison to other medical professionals, particularly physicians. The open question for many years in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was what should be done about this. Members of the Academy generally held fast to the notion that dentistry was a science distinct from medicine and needed to be studied and trained for as such. Much like obstetricians during the same period, dentists felt that medical students who had taken a single class in basic dentistry or even just studied the anatomy of the skull were taking up dentistry as a career without sufficient preparation and thus devaluing the profession as a whole. Options discussed at the Academy included the foundation of independent dental colleges; requiring medical students to take a basic course of dental science as part of their regular training; or requiring dental students to take a medical course before specializing.

The Academy began to hold annual meetings in 1868 which gradually became large events where members were encouraged to bring wives or colleagues who were not yet members of the Academy. By the 1870s, the Academy was inviting speakers of note to address the meeting, such as Harvard president Charles W. Eliot who spoke in 1879 on the subject of dental education. Other speakers included notable dentists at the time… In 1876, the Academy published A history of dental and oral science in America to be published in time for the American centennial celebrations held in Philadelphia.

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