Postponed: World War I: Reflections at the Centennial on 3/21

By , March 14, 2018


Plan of No. 22 General Hospital drawn by Paul Dudley White (1886-1973), September 6, 1916. From the Paul Dudley White papers, 1870s-1987.     H MS c36. Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.


World War I: Reflections at the Centennial has been postponed due to an impending winter storm. This event will be rescheduled (date TBD). We apologize for any inconvenience.


The Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, in partnership with its co-sponsors the Harvard Medical School Civilian-Military Collaborative and the Ackerman Program on Medicine & Culture, is pleased to announce the upcoming event World War I: Reflections at the Centennial with speakers James A. Schafer, Ph.D, and Jeffrey S. Reznick, Ph.D.

James A. Schafer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Houston, will present “The Mobilization of American Medicine for the First World War,” an examination of the causes and effects of the rapid recruitment of doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel (such as volunteer ambulance drivers) during the War. Drawing from Harvard University and other Boston area examples, Professor Schafer will measure the scope and scale of medical mobilization, explain the motivations for doctors, nurses and medical personnel to mobilize, and explore the immediate effects of mobilization on the careers and lives of American doctors, nurses, and medical personnel.

Jeffrey S. Reznick, Ph.D., Chief of the History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health, will present “A Prisoner of the Great War and his Songs in Captivity,” an exploration of the period when Rudolf Helmut Sauter (1895-1977)—the artist, writer, and nephew of the novelist John Galsworthy—was an internee in Alexandra Palace camp, north London, and Frith Hill, Surrey. Drawing on collections of the NLM, Imperial War Museum, and University of Birmingham, among other archives and libraries, Dr. Reznick will reveal how Sauter’s experiences open a unique window onto the history of the Great War both as Sauter experienced it and as he subsequently sought to forget it like so many other surviving members of the “generation of 1914.”

The event will take place on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 in the Minot Room, Countway Library, from 5:00-6:30. Registration is required.  Please visit our EventBrite page to register.

POSTPONED: Estes History of Medicine Lecture on March 13, 2018

By , January 31, 2018


The Estes History of Medicine Lecture scheduled for Tuesday, March 13,
has been postponed due to an impending winter storm.
This event will be rescheduled (date TBD).
Thank you!


The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to share the following announcement

The Boston Medical Library invites you to its
14th Annual J. Worth Estes, M.D. History of Medicine Lecture

The Patient as ‘Watch Bird’: Historical Perspectives on Patient’s Roles
in Health Care Quality Initiatives
presented by
Nancy Tomes, Ph.D.
SUNY Distinguished Professor of History, Stony Brook University

Tuesday, March 13, 2018
6:00 PM
Cannon Room/Room C
Harvard Medical School
210 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA

RSVP to Jillian Silverberg at 617-432-4807 or
See Eventbrite:

Register now! Parkman Murder Movie Night with Warren Anatomical Museum Curator Dominic Hall

By , January 5, 2018

The Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital invites you to attend its next movie night.

Join us Tuesday, January 16 at 6 pm for “Murder at Harvard.” The evening features a screening of the American Experience documentary on the 1849 disappearance of prominent and wealthy Boston physician George Parkman. The murder and sensational trial that followed continue to fascinate some 160 years later. Dominic Hall, curator of the Warren Anatomical Museum in the Center for the History of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, will provide commentary.

The event is free; light refreshments will be served.
For more information or to register, please email

Partners in Health documentary Bending the Arc opens in Boston

By , October 17, 2017
From left to right: Center for the History of Medicine Reference Archivist Jessica Murphy, Dr. Paul Farmer, and Bending the Arc Arc writer Cori Shepherd Stern, at the Coolidge Corner Theater, October 11, 2017. Photograph courtesy Dan Phipps.

From left to right: Center for the History of Medicine Reference Archivist Jessica Murphy, Dr. Paul Farmer, and Bending the Arc writer and producer Cori Shepherd Stern, at the Coolidge Corner Theater, October 11, 2017. Photograph courtesy Dan Phipps.

Bending the Arc, the story of Partners in Health physicians, founders, and humanitarians Ophelia Dahl, Paul Farmer, and Jim Yong Kim, is garnering critical kudos from The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, Salon, and a host of others, not to mention being an official selection for nine major film festivals. But as any documentary filmmaker will tell you, stories of this kind don’t make it to the screen without substantial support from archivists and researchers. In Bending the Arc’s case, that support came from Center for the History of Medicine Reference Archivist Jessica Murphy, who helped the filmmakers identify records (including video) for the film from the Center’s Partners in Health organizational records, 1990-2006, and Paul Farmer papers, 1990-2009. On October 11, Bending the Arc celebrated its opening night at the Coolidge Corner Theater with a screening and a reception. During the post-screening panel, Kief Davidson (director/producer), Cori Shepherd Stern (writer/producer), and Paul Farmer personally thanked Jess, making her stand up so everyone could applaud for her. The Center congratulates Jess on the well-deserved acknowledgement! More information about the film is available here.

Center Archivist to attend Archives Leadership Institute

By , February 16, 2017

img_20170215_084242The Center for the History of Medicine is thrilled to announce that Jessica Sedgwick, the Center’s Collections Services Archivist, has been accepted into the 2017 cohort of the Archives Leadership Institute (ALI). ALI, which is funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), is a dynamic program that provides advanced leadership training and mentorship for 25 innovative archival leaders annually, equipping them with the knowledge and tools to transform the profession in practice, theory, and attitude.  Applicants to this competitive program are chosen for their exceptional leadership skills and potential, ability to influence change within the archival field, strong commitment to the archival profession, demonstrated professional organizational involvement and service, collaborative and innovative spirit, and representation and/or support of diversity within the profession. As part of the program, participants design a practicum to be implemented at their home institution. ALI will be held at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, June 25 – July 1, 2017.

As Collections Services Archivist, Jessica leads an innovative program for establishing physical and intellectual control over the Center’s internationally renowned holdings, from accession through final processing and description.  Jessica has a broad range of experience in the archival field, having worked previously in reference and instruction, outreach, digitization and metadata, born-digital collections management, acquisitions and collection development, and fundraising and grant planning. Prior positions include Metadata Project Manager for the Boston Library Consortium, Associate Archivist for Reference and Digital Collections at the Moakley Archive and Institute, Archivist for Women in Medicine at the Center for the History of Medicine, and Manuscripts Processor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Southern Historical Collection. Jessica earned her MLS at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 and is an active member of New England Archivists, most recently serving on the executive board and volunteering with the Mentoring Program. Jessica has taught as an adjunct faculty member at the Simmons College School of Library of Information and Library Science since 2011.

We know Jessica is looking forward to developing new skills, knowledge, and connections that will enable her to further advance the Center’s mission; we wish her the best of luck in Berea!

Center archivist inspires “featured scientist” in STEM publication for children

By , November 15, 2016

Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Archivist (and Library Scientist) Heather Mumford

The Center for the History of Medicine is delighted to announce that its Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Archivist, Heather Mumford, is one of the 26 inspiring women in STEM occupations who participated in the creation of Jean Fan’s most recent CuSTEMized’s book, My Scientific Name. CuSTEMized is a not-for-profit initiative that provides personalized STEM-related motivational storybooks, posters, and other media products to encourage kids, in particular girls, in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). For “My Scientific Name,” Jean identified a STEM career for every letter in the alphabet, hence “L is for Library Scientist”!

Jean and Heather spent time discussing what a “library scientist” does, and came up with a second-grader-approved poem that succinctly sums up that work. To read the poem, visit Mumford’s featured page on the website:

You can try out (and then download) a personalized book for free. Enjoy!

Center Receives CLIR Grant to Open Maternal, Infant, and Child Research

By , December 5, 2014

Teal Shell LogoWith TextThe Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that it has been awarded $367,602 in grant funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) for its proposal Bridging the Research Data Divide: Rethinking long-term value and access for historical and contemporary maternal, infant, and child research. Grant funding will enable the Center to collaborate with the University of Alberta Libraries (UAL) to create rich metadata for discovery, access, citation, and long-term preservation of maternal, infant, child, and youth health (MCH) research data. The Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives program is funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by CLIR.

The project aims to help close a significant gap in current instructional and operational approaches to the long-term preservation of research data. Such approaches generally stop at the deposit of research data into a repository for short term retention. This type of approach does not take into consideration: 1) the long-term historical value of research data; 2) interdisciplinary research; 3) how to describe research data for discoverability; 4) the need to identify and describe contextualizing manuscript collections that support the interpretation and reuse of data; 5) the need to describe data and records in advance of transferring the data to institutional repositories and special collections environments; and 6) how to make researchers aware of the existence of research data useful to their arenas of inquiry, even when collections contain protected information, such as HIPAA identifiers.UALogo

To build improved practices, the Center will process and expose Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School faculty research data and related records for the Boston site of the Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development (1930-1987, Jane Gardner, Harold C. Stuart, and Isabelle Valadian, principal investigators) that led to the growth charts used by pediatricians today; early intervention studies deriving from the multisite Infant Health and Development Program led by Marie McCormick between 1985 and 2014; and the Social Transition and Risk for Disordered Eating in Fiji study conducted by Anne E. Becker (2004-2010), which identified the impact of social media exposure on health and body image.

UAL will focus on 36 studies drawn from pediatric clinical trials (two active: Ketorolac and Metoclopramide, 2012-2014; Probiotic/Lacidofil, 2013-2017) and maternal and infant cohort studies conducted by UA-affiliated or supported Maternal Infant Child and Youth Research Network (MICYRN) researchers. MICYRN, a federal nonprofit society, links 19 academic health centers in Canada and over 20 affiliated practice-based research networks.

In all, the Center and UAL will describe 39 studies comprised of 390 electronic files and 135 cubic feet of analog records. Kathryn Hammond Baker, Deputy Director of  the Center, Sharon Farnel, Metadata & Cataloguing Librarian, UAL, and Kendall Roark, Data Curation Consultant, UAL, will serve as the project’s principal investigators. Emily R. Novak Gustainis, the Center’s Head of Collections Services, will serve as managing archivist.

This is the Center’s third Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant award, and one of only nineteen projects funded by CLIR as part of the program’s final round of awards. Previous initiatives include Foundations of Public Health Policy (2008) and Private Practices, Public Health: Privacy-Aware Processing to Maximize Access to Health Collections (2012).

Casper Morley Epsteen Papers Now Open

By , August 11, 2014

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the Casper Morley Epsteen papers, 1928-1983 (inclusive), 1950-1979 (bulk) is now formally open for research.  An online guide to this collection is available here.

Teaching slide of Casper Morley Epsteen

Teaching slide of Casper Morley Epsteen

Casper Morley Epsteen (1902-1995), B.S., 1923, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago; M.D., 1925, University of Illinois College of Medicine; D.D.S., 1930, Loyola University Chicago College of Dentistry, was a senior attending surgeon at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, a Professor of Maxillofacial Surgery at Cook County Graduate School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, and a clinical professor of Maxillofacial and Plastic Surgery at Chicago Medical School. As a maxillofacial surgeon, Epsteen helped found the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons in 1947, an organization he served throughout his life.

Epsteen’s papers consist of three cubic feet of records associated with his professional career as a maxillofacial surgeon, professor, and active member of the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons (founded 1947) and the American Board of Maxillofacial Surgery (founded 1946). They include: administrative records generated as a result of his service to the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeon; personal correspondence; writings; assorted publications; and visual materials, which comprise the majority of the collection. The photographs, negatives, diagrams, x-rays, and teaching slides primarily depict maxillofacial fractures and different types of cysts, cancer, foreign bodies, and tumors.

The collection was processed by Gabrielle Barr, a University of Michigan student interning with the Center for the History of Medicine.

Center Staff Helps Celebrate Opening of the Medact Records

By , July 24, 2014

From left to right: Alison Cullingford, Heather Mumford, Ross MacFarlane, Emily Gustainis, Jenny Haynes, Elena Carter, and Helen Wakely.

Center for the History of Medicine staff Emily R. Novak Gustainis and Heather Mumford recently participated in the Wellcome Library’s June 27 UK conference, Beds not bombs: Exploring the archives of anti-nuclear medical campaigning and protest. Organized by Wellcome’s Project Archivist, Elena Carter, to celebrate the opening of the Medact collection, the event explored the social and political environments in which Medact and its predecessor organizations, the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) and the Medical Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (MCANW) emerged and grew, as well as the state of the medical activist movement today.  Medact is an international affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), whose records – along with those of IPPNW co-founder Bernard Lown – offer substantial insight into medical activism on both sides of the Atlantic.


Conference attendees visit the Medact archive through the Wellcome Library’s online catalogue.

Presenters included Professor Peter Van Den Dungen (Visiting Fellow, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford) on the history of the medical peace movement, Alison Cullingford (Special Collections Librarian, University of Bradford), on collecting and archiving peace campaigns at the University of Bradford, Professor Alison MacFarlane, a radical statistics pioneer, David McCoy (Chair, Medact), on Medact today, and Carter, who gave an introduction to the Medact collection.

Gustainis’s presentation, Against the Unimaginable and Unpredictable: Contextualizing the Records of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, explored the history of IPPNW. The talk included an interview with Lown conducted by Mumford and Gustainis that can be found on the Center’s Omeka site, OnView, here. The records of IPPNW are now being processed as part of the Center’s Access to Activism: Records of Physicians of Social Conscience initiative, which is being funded by the Harvard University Library’s “Open Your Hidden Collections” program.


Emily Gustainis presents at the Wellcome Library on the IPPNW and Dr. Bernard Lown for Beds not bombs, June 27, 2014.

Prior to the conference, Gustainis and Mumford met with Wellcome staff to learn more about their collection development, digitization, and data curation efforts. Dr. Jennifer Haynes, Head of Special Collections, and Richard Aspin, Head of Research/Senior Archivist, offered insight on collection development, processing, and digitizing their Medical Officer Health Reports (1848-1972); Helen Wakely, Archivist, discussed the Wellcome’s newly revised access policies; Ross MacFarlane, Research Officer, highlighted a handful of thoughtful and creative outreach initiatives he has spearheaded throughout London; and Natalie Waters, Archivist, Chris Hilton, Senior Archivist, and Dave Thompson, Digital Curator, spoke with us about born-digital records. The day concluded with a tour of the Library’s digitization suites.

For more information on the history of Medact, MAPW, or MCANW, or to learn more about contacting the Wellcome/University of Bradford Special Collections to consult the archives, please click here.

Additional coverage of the conference can be found here:


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