Staff Finds: Dickinson-Belskie

By , February 19, 2019
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Robert Latou Dickinson

While processing the Robert Latou Dickinson papers, Center staff came across photographs of Robert Latou Dicksinon and artist Abram Belskie in their studio at the New York Academy of Medicine.

After retirement from medical practice, Dickinson collaborated with Belskie at the New York Academy of Medicine to create molds and models of human reproductive anatomy for display and as teaching aids, some of which were exhibited at World’s Fair in 1939. These models were later featured in the teaching book Birth Atlas. The sculptures Norma and Normman were a product of their collaboration as well. In 1945, Dickinson transferred his reproductive anatomy model collection to the Cleveland Health Museum. In 2007 the Health Museum was absorbed into the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and at that time transferred the Dickinson-Belskie collection to the Warren Anatomical Museum.

Below are photographs of Dickinson and Belskie in studio with their teaching models, from the Dickinson papers. The photographs were originally produced for Look Magazine; the Library of Congress now holds the copyright for the images. (LOOK Magazine Photograph Collection, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)

The Dickinson-Belskie Collection in the Warren Anatomical Museum (object numbers 20500-20778) is available for research. Advance notice is required.

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

For information regarding access to these collections, please contact the Public Services staff.

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.

Staff Finds: Sanda Countway Correspondence

By , December 11, 2018
View of north corner and entrance bridge of Countway Library under construction

View of north corner and entrance bridge of Countway Library under construction

While processing the records from the Office of the Dean from the tenure of George Packer Berry, Center staff came across correspondence between Dean Berry, Sanda Countway, and General Robert Cutler, National Security Advisor to President Dwight Eisenhower and brother of Harvard Medical School professor and surgeon Elliott Carr Cutler. The discussions detail the background and aftermath of the 1958 gift Sanda Countway provided to Harvard Medical School for the construction of a new library in memory of her brother, Francis A. Countway, the former president of Lever Brothers, Inc. Additional gifts from Harold S. Vanderbilt, the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation, the Avalon Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund, the Susan P. Baker Trust, the James J. and M. Sears Minot Family Foundation and the Godfrey M. Hymans Trust completed the $6.5 million needed for the project. The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine opened in 1965.

Highlights of the correspondence can be found below.

The finding aid for the Office of the Dean of Harvard Medical School can be found here.

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

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.

George Packer Berry Dean Records Open to Research

By , May 22, 2018
George Packer Berry

George Packer Berry

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the records of the Office of the Dean of Harvard Medical School, during the tenure of George Packer Berry from 1949 to 1965.

George Packer Berry (1898-1986) A.B., Princeton University, M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, came to Harvard Medical School from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY, where he served as Head of the Department of Bacteriology and Associate Dean. As Dean of Harvard Medical School, Berry oversaw the development of the Harvard Medical Center in 1956, which brought Harvard Medical School and its affiliated teaching hospitals together under one corporate organization, and also served as the Center’s first President. The Program for Harvard Medicine was created in 1960 to raise funds for Harvard Medical School. In addition, Berry oversaw the development and construction of the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. He was President of the Association of American Medical Colleges (1951-1952) and earned the Association’s Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education in 1961. Berry was a trustee of both American University of Beirut and Princeton University.

George Packer Berry and Otto Krayer

George Packer Berry and Otto Krayer

The records of the Office of the Dean are the product of the activities of the Dean of Harvard Medical School, during the years 1949-1965 under the tenure of Dean Berry. Included are records from the administrative activities of the Office of the Dean, including administrative staff meetings, the planning and construction of Countway Library, and correspondence, reports, meeting records, and promotional materials for the Program for Harvard Medicine. Also included are records related to the Dean’s interactions with Harvard-affiliated hospitals and records from his tenure as a trustee of American University of Beirut, his tenure as Vice President and President of the Association of American Medical Colleges, as well as his roles as Director of the Commonwealth Fund and Director of the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation. The collection includes records resulting from the activities of standing and ad hoc committees at Harvard Medical School and records of the interactions of the Office of the Dean with Harvard University offices, departments, and organizations.

The finding aid for the Office of the Dean of Harvard Medical School can be found here.

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

Staff Finds: Yakovlev, Freeman, and Lobotomy

Paul Yakovlev

While processing the Paul Ivan Yakovlev papers, Center staff came across correspondence, below, between Yakovlev and Walter Freeman regarding lobotomy. The first three images contain discussions between the two about lobotomy, and the last three contain a request from from Freeman for a letter of support, due to an issue with his recommendation of lobotomy for child at Palo Alto-Stanford Hospital, and Yakovlev’s letter of support. Freeman performed the first prefrontal lobotomy in the United States in 1936 (a modified version of one developed by neurologist Egas Moniz) and later performed the first transorbital lobotomy in the United States in 1946. The first image below contains this statement from Freeman, about a month after the first prefrontal lobotomy:

Our latest excitement down here is the Moniz operation of prefrontal lobotomy in the treatment of certain cases of mental disorder like agitated depressions. The results are quite promising. Indeed, one case of agitated depression is better now than she has ever been in her life. I believe that it has great possibilities in the treatment of the disabling anxiety neuroses and early dementia precox.

Unfortunately the psychiatrists in Washington are not sympathetic to the procedure and we shall have to wait for a considerable period before assembling enough material really to be able to talk about it in terms of large numbers of patients treated.

Paul Ivan Yakovlev was a neurologist, researcher, and Clinical Professor of Neuropathology at Harvard Medical School, as well as Curator of the Warren Anatomical Museum (1955-1961). His research was focused on the physiology of early acquired or congenital cerebral defects. Yakovlev’s Collection of Normal and Pathologic Anatomy and Development of the Human Brain was started in 1930 at Monson State Hospital and numbered nearly 1,000 normal and abnormal brain specimens at the time of his death.

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

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

Paul Ivan Yakovlev Papers Open for Research

By , April 25, 2018

Paul Ivan Yakovlev

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Paul Ivan Yakovlev papers, 1912-1983. The papers are the product of Yakovlev’s activities as a researcher, author, and professor and Curator of the Warren Anatomical Museum at Harvard Medical School. The papers include Yakovlev’s professional correspondence, writings, photographs and biographical records, and collected reprints.

Paul Ivan Yakovlev was a neurologist, researcher, and Clinical Professor of Neuropathology at Harvard Medical School. His research was focused on the physiology of early acquired or congenital cerebral defects. Born in Russia in 1894, Yakovlev escaped the fighting of the Russian Revolution, ending up in France in 1920. There he worked with Pierre Marie at the Salpêtrière Hospital (1920-1921) and with Joseph Babinski at the Hôpital de la Pitié in Paris (1921-1924), and he earned his M.D. from the University of Paris in 1925. Yakovlev came to the United States in 1925, working with Stanley Cobb at Boston City Hospital and then the Monson State Hospital and the Walter E. Fernald State School. Yakovlev moved to Yale University School of Medicine (1947-1951), serving as Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology and Director of Research and Training at Connecticut State Hospital. He returned to Harvard Medical School in 1951, serving as Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology (1951-1955), Curator of the Warren Anatomical Museum (1955-1961), Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology (1955-1957), and Clinical Professor of Neuropathology (1957-1961, Emeritus 1961). Yakovlev’s Collection of Normal and Pathologic Anatomy and Development of the Human Brain was started in 1930 at Monson State Hospital and numbered nearly 1,000 normal and abnormal brain specimens at the time of his death.

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

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

Paul Ivan Yakovlev, Alfred Pope, Bert Vallee

Albert Warren Stearns Papers Open for Research

By , April 25, 2018

Albert Warren Stearns

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Albert Warren Stearns papers, 1912-1959. The papers are the product of Stearns’ activities as a private practice psychiatrist, author, Dean of Tufts College Medical School, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Correction, and officer in the medical corps of the United States Navy. The papers include Stearns’ correspondence and patient records from his work in psychiatric private practice, records from Stearns’ tenure as Dean at Tufts, and records from Stearns’ service as Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Correction. Also in the collection are evaluations and classifications of the mental health of recruits for naval service, from Stearns’ service in the United States Navy, as well as and his professional writings and research records.

Albert Warren Stearns, 1885-1959, earned his M.D. from Tufts College Medical School in 1910. He worked at Danvers State Hospital and Boston State Hospital before opening a private practice in 1913, and during the First and Second World Wars, he served in the medical corps of the United States Navy. From 1927 to 1945, Stearns was the Dean of Tufts College Medical School and Professor of Psychiatry. 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). Stearns died unexpectedly on September 24, 1959. The Stearns Research Building at the Tufts Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine was dedicated in 1963.

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

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

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