Category: Collections

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.

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.

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.

Pride Month Collection Highlight: Ethel Collins Dunham and Martha May Eliot

By , June 8, 2018

Ethel Collins Dunham (right) and Martha May Eliot, 1915, Schlesinger Library

Ethel Collins Dunham and Martha May Eliot dedicated their lives and careers to the care of children. The pair met at Bryn Mawr College in 1910 and both women achieved major professional positions and research throughout their careers. They remained a couple until Dunham’s death in 1969.

Ethel Collins Dunham was born in 1883 in Hartford, Connecticut into a privileged family. She graduated from high school in 1901, and then spent several years traveling. She decided to pursue a career in medicine and enrolled in science classes at Hartford High School and graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1914. She began her medical training at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1914 with Martha May Eliot.

Martha May Eliot was born in 1891 in Boston, Massachusetts to a Boston Brahmin family. She enrolled in Radcliffe, but after her first year, went to spend her sophomore year at Bryn Mawr College to pursue a “romantic friendship” with another girl. The relationship did not last, but Eliot met Ethel Dunham, and the two decided to pursue medicine together. Eliot graduated from Radcliffe in 1913, and when Dunham graduated in 1914, they entered Johns Hopkins Medical School together. The two lived together while at school, and attempted to get internships together at Johns Hopkins. Eliot turned down an offered internship at Johns Hopkins because Dunham was not accepted, and took an internship at Peter Brigham Hospital in Boston. Ironically, Dunham was ultimately accepted to Johns Hopkins Hospital. The next year they attempted to coordinate residency, but Eliot took a pediatrics residency at St Louis Children’s Hospital, while Dunham went to New Haven Hospital. The two were unable to reunite until Eliot was invited to be the first chief resident at Yale’s new department of pediatrics.

Both women remained at Yale for many years. Dunham was appointed instructor at Yale School of Medicine in 1920, promoted to assistant professor in 1924 and associate clinical professor in 1927. Eliot also rose through the ranks, serving as instructor, assistant, clinical professor, and then associate clinical professor from 1932 to 1935.

In 1935, Dunham was appointed chief of child development at the Children’s Bureau, where Eliot was appointed assistant chief. Dunham, whose specialty was in newborn babies, and in particular, premature babies, established national standards for the care of newborns. Meanwhile, Eliot was known for her contributions to the studies of rickets, and her public health approach to coordinating studies that established minimum daily vitamin requirements for children to prevent rickets.

Martha May Eliot

From 1949 to 1951, Dunham worked at the World Health Organization, studying premature birth in Geneva. When Eliot was appointed head of the Children’s Bureau in 1951, she and Dunham moved together to Washington, DC. Dunham retired in 1952, and when Eliot resigned in 1957, the women relocated to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Eliot became the head of the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. After retiring in 1960, Eliot continued her work for the World Health Organization and UNICEF, reporting on medical education in Asia and Africa, while also teaching for the American Public Health Association.

Both women had highly decorated careers. In 1948, Eliot was the first woman elected president of the American Public Health Association and was awarded a Lasker Medal. In 1957, Dunham was awarded the John Howland Medal by the American Pediatric Society. She was the first woman to receive the award. Eliot was the second, and was honored in 1967. Eliot was also awarded the Sedgwick Memorial Medal in 1958 by the American Public Health Association (APHA), and in 1964, the APHA commemorated Eliot’s legacy by establishing the Martha May Eliot Award for outstanding service to maternal and child health.

Although Eliot and Dunham had great achievements throughout their careers, they were not strangers to discrimination and homophobia. Eliot, after graduating from Radcliffe College, applied to Harvard Medical School which did not admit women at the time, and both were attacked by Senator James Reed of Missouri in a tirade against the Children’s Bureau in 1921, when he called the bureau out as a place where “the only people capable of caring for babies and mothers of babies are ladies who have never had babies.” Neither woman’s New York Times obituary mentions their relationship, but their records, held at the Center for the History of Medicine and Schlesinger Library shed light onto their public and private lives, as well as their dual contributions to the field of maternal and child health.

For more information on the many contributions of Martha May Eliot and Ethel Collins Dunham, see:

The Archives for Women in Medicine is a program of the Countway Library’s Center for the History of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. The Archives for Women in Medicine actively acquires, processes, preserves, provides access to, and publicizes the papers of women physicians, researchers, and medical administrators. Interested in learning more? Visit countway.harvard.edu/awm or contact Project Archivist Joan Ilacqua.

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.

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.

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