Category: Collections

Preliminary Opening of the Vernacular Archive of Normal Volunteers, 1940-2018

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the first portion of the Vernacular Archive of Normal Volunteers (VANV), 1940-2018 is now open to research.

VANV is a collection of oral histories, associated archival documents, and project records created and collected by Laura Jeanine Morris Stark to explore the lives of the first “normal control” research subjects at the Clinical Center of the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland who were recruited through NIH’s Normal Volunteer Patient Program. The Normal Volunteer Patient Program (renamed the Clinical Research Volunteer Program in 1995) began in 1953 as a program of the NIH and later operated through the NIH Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office. VANV interview subjects participated in the program from 1954-2002.

The collection includes oral history interviews (audio recordings and transcripts) conducted by Stark between 2010 and 2017 with individuals who were involved with the Normal Volunteer Patient Program (volunteers, scientists, and staff), along with archival documents from interviewees’ personal collections. It also includes digital duplicates of materials related to the Normal Volunteer Patient Program compiled by Stark from the special collections of organizations that were the sources of “normal volunteers” for the NIH Clinical Center. The materials from source organizations include photographs, correspondence, and clippings. The collection also includes records generated by, or pertaining to, the Normal Volunteer Patient Program collected by Stark through a first-time FOIA request and release from NIH as well as project administration records including templates for legal forms, interview instruments, ethics-review approvals, and grant proposals.

View VANV data files on the Harvard Dataverse.

A selection of VANV data files are currently open for research; access to some data files is restricted until the publication of Laura Stark’s book, The Normals: A People’s History, University of Chicago Press. Access to the restricted data files may be granted at the discretion of the author.  Anyone with interest in viewing restricted files are warmly invited to contact Laura Stark at laura.stark@vanderbilt.edu

2019-2020 Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation Fellowship

By , February 21, 2019

The Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation Research Fellowship

Deadline May 15, 2019

Details

First class of women accepted to Harvard Medical School, 1945. (HMS, Classes and Reunions, 00100.057)

The Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation is pleased to provide one $5,000 grant to support travel, lodging, and incidental expenses for a flexible research period between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. Foundation Fellowships are offered for research related to the history of women to be conducted at the Center for the History of Medicine at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Preference will be given to:

  • projects that engage specifically with the history of women physicians, other health workers, or medical scientists; proposals on the history of women’s health issues will also be considered
  • those who are using collections from the Center’s Archives for Women in Medicine; however, research on the topic of women in medicine using other material from the Countway Library will be considered
  • applicants who live beyond commuting distance of the Countway; however, all are encouraged to apply, including graduate students

In return, the Foundation requests a one page report on the Fellow’s research experience, a copy of the final product (with the ability to post excerpts from the paper/project), and a photo and bio of the Fellow for web and newsletter announcements. The Fellow will also be asked to present a lecture at the Countway Library.

Application Requirements

Applicants should submit a proposal (no more than five pages) outlining the subject and objectives of the research project, length of residence, historical materials to be used, and a project budget (including travel, lodging, and research expenses), along with a curriculum vitae and two letters of recommendations by May 15, 2019. The fellowship proposal should demonstrate that the Countway Library has resources central to the research topic.

Applications should be sent to: The Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine Fellowship, Archives for Women in Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, 10 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA 02115. Electronic submissions of applications and supporting materials and any questions may be directed to chm@hms.harvard.edu or (617) 432-2170.

Partnering Organizations

The Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation, formerly the Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine, was founded with the strong belief that understanding our history plays a powerful role in shaping our future. The resolute stand women took to establish their place in these fields propels our vision forward. We serve as stewards to the stories from the past, and take pride in sharing them with the women of today. Our mission is to preserve and promote the history of women in medicine and the medical sciences, and we look forward to connecting you to our collective legacy that will empower our future.

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. Learn more about collections open to research on our Archives for Women in Medicine Collections page.

Established in 1960 as a result of an alliance between the Boston Medical Library and the Harvard Medical Library, the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine is the largest academic medical library in the United States. The Countway Library maintains a collection of approximately 700,000 volumes. The Center for the History of Medicine’s collection of archives and manuscripts, numbering between 15-20 million items, is the largest collection of its kind in the United States. The manuscripts collection includes the personal and professional records of physicians from the medieval and Renaissance periods through the twentieth century, including the professional papers of many renowned Harvard faculty members as well as physicians and scientists from New England and around the country.

The 2018-2019 Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine Research Fellow is Carla Bittel. Previous fellows include Maria Daxenbichler, Jordan Katz, Kate GrauvogelLouella McCarthyRebecca KluchinCiara BreathnachCarrie Adkins, and Hilary Aquino.

Apply Now for a 2019-2020 Boston Medical Library Fellowship!

By , February 19, 2019

Since 2003, the Boston Medical Library (BML) in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine has sponsored annual fellowships supporting research in the history of medicine using Center for the History of Medicine collections. BML Fellowships in the History of Medicine at the Countway provide stipends of up to $5,000 to support travel, lodging, and incidental expenses for a flexible period between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. Besides conducting research, the fellow will submit a report on the results of his/her residency and may be asked to present a seminar or lecture at the Countway Library.

Engraving of an apothecary in Das Buch der Cirurgia (Strassburg, 4 July 1497). Boston Medical Library Rare Books Collection (Ballard 233).

The collections of the Center for the History of Medicine enable researchers to contextualize, understand, and contribute to the history of human health care, scientific medical development, and public health; they eflect nearly every medical and public health discipline, including anatomy, anesthesiology, cardiology, dentistry, internal medicine, medical jurisprudence, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, pharmacy and pharmacology, psychiatry and psychology, and surgery, as well as variety of popular medicine topics and public health subjects such as industrial hygiene, nutrition, and tropical medicine. The Center serves as the institutional archives for the Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and the Harvard School of Public Health, and is home to the Warren Anatomical Museum, which includes anatomical artifacts, pathological specimens, instruments, and other objects. Through the Center, researchers have the opportunity to use the rich historical resources of both the Harvard Medical Library and Boston Medical Library. For more information, visit https://www.countway.harvard.edu/center-history-medicine/collections.

Fellowship proposals (no more than 5 pages) should describe the research project and demonstrate that the Countway Library has resources central to the research topic.

Applications should include:

  • CV
  • Length of visit
  • Proposed budget and budget breakdown (travel, lodging, incidentals)
  • Two letters of recommendation are also required

Application deadline is Friday, March 29th.

Electronic submissions of materials may be sent to: chm@hms.harvard.edu

Boston Medical Library Fellowships
Center for the History of Medicine
Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine
10 Shattuck Street
Boston, MA 02115.

Please see our website for more information and details about previous research recipients. Awards will be announced in early May.

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.

Boston Medical Library Bookplates Collection Open to Research

By , February 18, 2019
"Mrs Elizabeth Wensley to the Second Church of Christ in Boston 1733"

“Mrs Elizabeth Wensley to the Second Church of Christ in Boston 1733”

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the Boston Medical Library Bookplate Collection, circa 1790-1950, is open to researchers.

The first Boston Medical Library (BML) was founded by John Collins Warren and James Jackson in 1805. The Boston Medical Library was recreated in 1875 by James Chadwick with Oliver Wendell Holmes as its President. In 1960, the Boston Medical Library and the President and Fellows of Harvard College (Harvard University) entered into an agreement to combine the collections, services and administration of the Boston Medical Library and the Harvard Medical Library in The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The collection was created by librarians and members of the Boston Medical Library over the course of the twentieth century. Many of the individual bookplates, however, date from before 1900. The bulk of the collection is bookplates; there is some associated correspondence. Most of the bookplates are those of physicians or associated medical professionals. The collection is primarily in English with some materials in German, French, Latin, and Greek.

Charles Wild Papers Open to Research

By , February 11, 2019

Staff at the Center for the History of Medicine are pleased to announce that the Charles Wild papers, 1800-1890 (inclusive), 1830-1870 (bulk) are now open to researchers.

Charles Wild was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in January 1795 to Abraham Wild (1762-1820) and Susannah (Pitman) Wild (1764-1808). Charles Wild received all of his degrees from Harvard University: his bachelor’s degree in 1814, his master’s in 1817, and his M.D. in 1818.

Charles practiced as a homeopathic physician and was one of the founding members of the Massachusetts Homeopathic Medical Society in 1856. He was also a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society.

Charles married Mary Joanna Rhodes (1799-1883) in 1819; the couple had at least six children: Susan, Laura, Mary, Charles, Edward, and Walter. Charles Wild died in May 1864 in North Providence, Rhode Island.

The Charles Wild papers consist of records created and collected by Charles Wild during the course of his work as a homeopathic physician in the towns of Brookline and Boston, Massachusetts, during the first half of the nineteenth century. At least one of Wild’s sons, Edward, practiced with his father and some of his records are included; the younger Charles may also be represented here. Records include financial records relating either to Wild’s medical practice or to household and personal expenses, including animal feed, groceries, lumber, stationery, paint, and clothing.  Also included are small notebooks, some clearly home-made, used by Charles Wild and his son Edward during their daily practice as homeopathic physicians in Brookline and Boston, Massachusetts. The bulk of the notebooks contain notes on patient visits and prescriptions; a smaller number document personal expenses such as meals and lodging.

Rose E. Frisch Papers Open to Research

By , February 4, 2019

~This post was co-written by Faith Plazarin, processing intern, and Hanna Clutterbuck-Cook, processing assistant.

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the Rose E. Frisch papers, 1921-2014 (inclusive), are open to research.

Rose E. Frisch (1918-2015) was born in the Bronx in New York. She graduated with her B.A. in 1939 from Smith College, which was partly financed by the Leopold Schepp Foundation, an organization founded by the entrepreneur and philanthropist Leopold Schepp for students in need of financial assistance. Frisch graduated with her M.A. from Columbia in 1940 in Zoology, and finally her Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin in 1943.

Rose worked on the Manhattan Project beginning in 1943. She was a computer doing calculations under Kitty Oppenheimer. After the bomb dropped, she left Los Alamos and returned to Boston to work in academia, where Frisch shifted her research focus from animals and reproduction to women’s reproduction. Her area of specialization was the relationship between fat content and female fertility as well as the links between fat content and breast cancer.  Her subjects were usually athletes, including ballerinas, runners, and swimmers, or those with lower fat content, such as women in underdeveloped areas of the world or women who suffered from anorexia nervosa. Frisch was one of the few women in her field of reproductive medicine. She laid the groundwork for the discovery of leptin, a protein hormone involved in the processes she researched. While leptin was not discovered until 1997, in the 1960s Dr. Gordon C. Kennedy of Cambridge University conducted initial experiments relating to a lipostat in rats.  Leptin was later to be discovered and connected to the lipostat’s function. Frisch was involved in confirming the results of Dr. Kennedy’s experiments and were linked to leptin and its connections to fertility over 30 years later. Frisch spent almost her entire academic career at Harvard University, where she taught as an Associate professor of Population Sciences and a worked as a researcher of the Center for Population Studies until she was granted emerita status in 1992.

She was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the John Simon Memorial Guggenheim Foundation. Most of Frisch’s body of published works consists of articles in larger books, journals, or other serial works. However, she was also the lead editor on the scientific volume Adipose Tissue and Reproduction in 1990. Frisch published outside of academia as well. She published a children’s book called Plants that Feed the World in 1966, and a book about her life’s work for a non-academic audience, called Female Fertility and the Body Fat Connection, was published in 2002.  These publications are referenced throughout the collection.

The papers in this collection consist primarily of professional records created and collected by Rose Epstein Frisch during the course of her work as a professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health in the Department of Population and Development Studies in Boston, Massachusetts.  The professional papers consist largely of research and reference materials, reprints, publications, and writings. Also included here, are some of her personal records involving her life outside of Harvard, primarily personal correspondence and photographs.

For more information about Rose Frisch, see this article from Schepp Connections Vol. 1 No. 17 2015 (p. 6).

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

#ColorOurCollections 2019

By , January 31, 2019

 

From February 4th through 8th, cultural institutions from around the world are sharing coloring pages on social media with the hashtag #ColorOurCollections.

This year, our coloring book includes new and favorite images, anatomical drawings and prints, medical teaching resources, biodiversity, bookplates, and more!

We’re sharing our coloring pages here and on Twitter and Instagram (@HarvardHistMed).

Click here to download our entire 2019 coloring book.

Be sure to share your work using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections and we’ll retweet our favorites!

Continue reading '#ColorOurCollections 2019'»

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.

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