Category: Collections

William T. Bovie Papers Open to Research

By , December 8, 2017

William T. Bovie

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the William T. Bovie papers, 1890-1953 (inclusive). Bovie earned a Ph.D. in plant physiology from Harvard University in 1914, moved to the Harvard Cancer Commission as a research fellow, and in 1920 became Assistant Professor of Biophysics. While at Harvard, Bovie developed his electrosurgical device, a scalpel that could cut and seal using the effects of high frequency current, which minimized blood loss, infection, and tissue damage. This work was done in collaboration with Harvey Cushing, Surgeon-in-Chief at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. Bovie later taught at Northwestern University and Colby College, and worked in the Roscoe B. Jackson Memorial Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1920.

William T. Bovie Bookplate

The papers are the product of Bovie’s activities as biophysicist, researcher and author, and professor. The papers contain records from Bovie’s research activities, lecture notes from courses in biophysics and social technology given by him at Harvard University and Northwestern University, and speeches on a variety of topics given to public audiences and professional societies. The collection also contains collected films, drafts and notes related to his professional writings, and personal correspondence and biographical records.

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

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

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Leslie Silverman Papers Open to Research

By , December 8, 2017
Leslie Silverman

Leslie Silverman

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Leslie Silverman papers, 1920-1967 (inclusive). Leslie Silverman (1914-1966), was an engineer specializing in air pollution and industrial hygiene. At Harvard School of Public Health he was Professor of Engineering in Environmental Hygiene, and Head of the Department of Industrial Hygiene (1961-1966). While a student at Harvard in the Graduate School of Engineering, Silverman was a Gordon McKay Scholar and Research Fellow. At the Harvard School of Public Health, he was appointed Assistant Professor (1945), Associate Professor (1948), and Professor (1958), and succeeded Philip Drinker as Head of the Department of Industrial Hygiene (1961). He was the Director of the Radiological Hygiene program and the Harvard Air Cleaning Laboratory at Harvard School of Public Health. During World War II, Silverman worked with Drinker and his brother Cecil Drinker on the development of the L-12 aviation oxygen supply mask, as well as on chemical warfare masks. After the end of World War II, he worked on research related to atomic power and served on the Statutory Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, the principle safety advisor to the Atomic Energy Commission. Silverman also worked as a consulting engineer, on issues regarding air pollution control, industrial hygiene, and industrial ventilation.

Leslie Silverman and Philip Drinker

Leslie Silverman and Philip Drinker

The Leslie Silverman papers, 1920-1967, are the product of his activities as a consultant, researcher, and Harvard School of Public Health faculty member. The papers include records from Silverman’s work as a consultant, records related to his patent applications, and his professional writings on topics in air pollution and industrial hygiene. The collection also contains records related his involvement with national committees and his attendance at professional conferences, subject files and publications related to his research interests, as well as personal correspondence and biographical records.

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

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

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Zerka T. Moreno papers are open for research

By , December 6, 2017

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Zerka T. Moreno papers, 1930-2010 (inclusive), 1957-2000 (bulk) to research.

0004864_refBorn in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on 1917 June 13, Zerka T. (Toeman) Moreno attended secondary school in the Netherlands before relocating to London, England, in 1932, where she attended technical school. At that time, she planned to become an artist or fashion designer, with a special interest in designing for the stage. Moreno moved to the United States in 1939, shortly after the beginning of World War II, and in 1941, arranged for her sister to move to Beacon, New York, for treatment at the Beacon Hill Sanatorium with J. L. (Jacob Levy) Moreno (1889-1974). That same year, Zerka T. Moreno became interested in J.L. Moreno’s study of psychodrama and group psychotherapy, and began studying under him, acting as his private secretary to earn her scholarship. When J.L. Moreno opened the Sociometric Institute in New York City, she became his research assistant and moved to work at the Institute (which was later renamed the Moreno Institute, and eventually relocated back to Beacon). Zerka T. Moreno continued to develop as a leader of group psychotherapy workshops and instructor, and worked directly alongside J.L. Moreno throughout the latter decades of his life.

In 1947, the two founded the journal Sociatry, which later became known as Group Psychotherapy, which published research regarding the social sciences of sociatry, psychodrama, and sociometry. During the 1950s, both Zerka and J.L. Moreno served as adjunct professors at New York University, teaching courses about psychodrama. She was the cofounder of the International Association for Group Psychotherapy and the American Society for Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, and spent much of her career traveling for psychotherapy and psychodrama workshops. After J.L. Moreno’s death in 1974, Zerka T. Moreno continued to work as a psychotherapist. With Merlyn S. Pitzele (1911-1995), she continued to attend to patients and offer teaching sessions in Beacon and New York City as well as countless American and international locations. In 1996, she moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, and in 2013, after breaking a hip, moved into a nursing home in 2013 in Rockville, Maryland. She continued to see patients from her bed at the nursing home until shortly before her death.

The collection reflects Moreno’s efforts to lead group psychotherapy sessions and provide instruction in the field of psychodrama. Records include workshop and training records, collected writings and publications, professional activities records, correspondence, personal papers, as well as records pertaining to the management of the Moreno Institute.

The finding aid for the Zerka T. Moreno papers can be found: http://oasis.lib.harvard.edu/oasis/primo?id=med00327.

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

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Rare Haitian Reports Donated and Digitized For Access

By , November 10, 2017

One of the four reports from the PISP Project, now digitized and available through the Internet Archive.

The Center for the History of Medicine was recently gifted two sets of the four-volume report, “Projet Intègre de Santé et de Population”, which was co-sponsored by the Division d’Hygiène Familiale of the Ministère de Santé Publique et de Population and the Harvard School of Public Health (now the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), and published in Port au Prince, Haiti between 1978 and 1982.

The reports follow three defined rural populations in Haiti (approximately 30,000 people) from 1974-1978, and include family census forms and vital sign data recorded by both resident home visitors and trained community health workers. The reports are often sought after for reference, although very few volumes exist and all have yet to be translated from the original French.

The first set of reports were donated to the Center by Dr. Gretchen Berggren as part of the Gretchen Glode and Warren L. Berggren Papers, 1967-2010 (inclusive). Gretchen and her late husband Warren launched groundbreaking community health programs in several countries in the developing world, most particularly in Haiti at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles. Both have been affiliated with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Warren was an associate professor of tropical public health and population sciences from 1972 to 1981, and Gretchen was affiliated with the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies from 1974 to 1989.

A second set of the reports were later donated to the Center for the History of Medicine by Dr. Henry Perry (Johns Hopkins School of Public Health), in recognition of their connection to the Berggrens and the Harvard Chan community.

These four volumes are indeed rare. Prior to the Center’s receipt of the complete sets, only two of the four volumes were available at other institutions. Additionally, the Haitian printing press involved in their distribution had long ago been destroyed during an earthquake. After receiving the reports, the Center quickly cataloged them and financed their digitization, making them available electronically through the Internet Archive.

The reports can now be accessed through the following sources:

  1. Demographie et fecondite. Port-au-Prince, Haiti : Les éditions Fardin, [1978?]. (Link to digital version)
  2. Recherches sur la medecine traditonnelle : dans l’aire du projet integre de sante et de population du district sanitaire de Petit-Goave. [Haiti] : Departement de la santé publique et de la population, Division d’hygiène familiale, 1979. (Link to digital version)
  3. Enquete sur la nutriton et la sante. Port-au-Prince, Haiti : Les Ateliers Fardin, [1979?]. (Link to digital version)
  4. Administration et organisation d’un programme communautaire de sante? et de population en milieu rural. Port-au-Prince, Haiti : Les Ateliers Fardin, 1982. (Link to digital version)

 

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The Paul Charles Zamecnik papers are open for research

By , October 31, 2017

0004657_drefThe Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Paul Charles Zamecnik papers, 1910-2011 (inclusive), 1931-2009 (bulk). Zamecnik (1912-2009) was a microbiologist and molecular biologist whose research spanned eight decades. Zamecnik is known for his work on protein synthesis and the discovery of transfer RNA, accomplished with colleagues Mahlon Hoagland (1921-2009) and Mary Louise Stephenson (1921-2009). Later in his career, he discovered antisense oligonucleotides and explored their therapeutic potential, and was the first to publish evidence for the existence of microRNA.

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire (1933) and the Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (1936), Zamecnik interned at the Collis P. Huntington Memorial Hospital and then at Cleveland, Ohio’s University Hospitals. Zamecnik was a fellow at the Carlsberg Laboratories, Copenhagen, Denmark, but returned to the work at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, New York, New York, after the 1940 Nazi invasion of Denmark. He held a teaching position at Harvard Medical School during the war, and was then given his own laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital focusing on the mechanisms of protein synthesis. In 1956, Zamecnik became the Collis P. Huntington Professor of Oncologic Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and continued his research at Massachusetts General Hospital until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1979. At that time, he moved his research laboratory to the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research, where he remained until 1997 when that foundation was absorbed by the University of Massachusetts. Zamecnik returned to Massachusetts General Hospital’s Cancer Center as a Senior Scientist, where he continued to work until weeks prior to his death in 2009. In 1990, he cofounded Hybridon, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, whose work focused on the development of antisense drugs; this company merged with Idera Pharmaceuticals in 2004. In 2009, Zamecnik cofounded Zata Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Worcester, Massachusetts, with David Tabatadze; this company continues to explore the therapeutic possibilities of antisense oligonucleotides.

 

Data from Zamecnik's research that led to the discovery of transfer RNA

Data from Zamecnik’s research that led to the discovery of transfer RNA

The papers are the product of Zamecnik’s activities as a microbiologist and molecular biologist, researcher, author, professor, and administrator. The papers contain: Zamecnik’s research records, including those relating to transfer RNA and antisense oligonucleotides; professional correspondence, writings and publications records; records from talks, symposia, presentations, and conferences Zamecnik attended; Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital records; and photographs and slides relating to his research, teachings and presentations, and travel.

The finding aid for the Zamecnik papers can be found: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HMS.Count:med00256 .

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

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Sanitary surveys conducted by students, 1920-1948, now open for research

By , October 12, 2017
The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Harvard Medical School Department of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene Sanitary Surveys, 1920-1948 (inclusive).
The collection consists of sanitary surveys of various towns, cities, and counties throughout the United States from 1920-1948. Surveys were conducted by students to fulfill requirements of the third year class in Preventative Medicine and Hygiene at Harvard Medical School. Upon choosing a town or city, students collected a wide range of public health data and offered their criticisms and recommendations for improving public health in that town. As such, each report serves as a robust historical snapshot of life in the community at the time the survey was conducted. The goal of the assignment was to expose students to public health work in the field and to broaden their horizons beyond their chosen specialties.
Surveys usually include sections on: general information on the town; water shed, pollution, collection, storage, and purification; sewage disposal, purification, treatment, efficiency, and relation to health; garbage and refuse collection and disposal; milk production, pasteurization, and certification, including a student evaluation of sanitary conditions at one dairy using local score cards; vital statistics such as birth and death rates, infant mortality, rates for infection diseases, and including forms for births, deaths, marriages, and disease notifications; sanitary nuisances such as odors, pests, cleanliness, dumps, piggeries, and noise; industrial hygiene based upon a visit to a factory or workshop in the area; housing, including sanitary condition of a tenement and ventilation analysis of a large building; infectious diseases such as venereal diseases and tuberculosis, including information on quarantine regulations; school health and dental programs; additional information relevant to public health such as markets, slaughter houses and meat inspection, barber shops, nursing services, education information, charitable organizations of importance to public health, and any other activities of the local Board of Health. In addition to the written report, each survey has a variety of additions including but not limited to photographs, printed and hand-drawn graphs, pamphlets, quarantine signs, blank charts and forms, blueprints, and maps.

The finding aid for the Sanitary Surveys can be found here.

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

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Staff Finds: Augustus White on Race in America

By , October 12, 2017
0004810_ref

Augustus A. White

In 1969, Augustus A. White was studying for his Ph.D. at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. At this time, Sweden was a vocal opponent of the American war in Vietnam (White served in Vietnam, 1966-1967). According to his memoir, Seeing Patients, while in Sweden White began to read about the black experience and hosted Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, at his apartment, when Seale was there to do public appearances. It was during this time that White wrote a letter to President-Elect Richard Nixon, describing his views on the state of race relations in America:

Let us pause to reflect with empathy on the millions of de-humanized fathers, mothers, and brothers — poor oppressed and without hope (that so very essential element for human motivation). Now there is of course considerable “tokenism” – a black face on a TV-commerical, a few conspicuous jobs and positions. But the reality of the situation is that the black man in the ghetto is still almost completely without potential or opportunity for upward mobility. He knows it too well, he lives the facts of oppression all his waking hours. He does not have work. He cannot get work. He sees no hope of getting work. He has just about reached the bottom. Many have reached the bottom. When a man reaches the bottom then no matter what he does, he can go no way but up. (That is why the small scrawny undernourished under-equipped Viet Cong fight with such vigor and resolve.) During the black man’s oppressed existence he is chronically, and acutely aware of the luxury and comforts of his “fellow Americans”. Does this not constitute a rather explosive potential?

Later, White describes the role medicine can play in helping to ease the troubles:

Medical care should be provided through good clinics especially for child guidance and health. Sincere concern and conscientious medical care programs are a marvelous entreé for establishing communications with an alienated people. This could be financed and operated by the government in conjunction with post-graduate medical training centers many of which are already in the ghetto.

Full text of the letter can be seen below.

The Center for the History of Medicine holds the Augustus A. White papers, 1951-2010 (inclusive), which are open to research. The finding aid for the White papers can be found here.

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

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Staff Finds: Fish Odor Control in Gloucester

By , October 3, 2017
Leslie Silverman

Leslie Silverman

While processing the Leslie Silverman papers, Center staff came across records related to an effort to control fish odor in processing plants in Gloucester, MA. Silverman was retained as a consultant by the Gloucester Community Pier Association to inspect fish processing facilities and provide recommendations for odor abatement. The issue arose initially by way of complaints from local residents and grew to encompass health concerns regarding effluent. While using chemical analysis to determine the contaminants being released by the processing, Silverman also attempted to correlate the time and location of complaints with the wind direction and the operating times of the processing plants. Initial recommendations were made in 1952, but non-compliance issues necessitated Silverman’s involvement over the next several years. The records contain Silverman’s notes and reports on his analysis, correspondence with government, plant managers, and private citizens, and lists of complaints received by local authorities. Also included is his research on similar problems in other locations. Selected records from Silverman’s work in Gloucester can be seen below.

Leslie Silverman (1914-1966) was Professor of Engineering in Environmental Hygiene and Head of the Department of Industrial Hygiene at Harvard School of Public Health. He also worked as a consulting engineer on issues regarding air pollution control, industrial hygiene, and industrial ventilation. The Center holds the Leslie Silverman papers, 1920-1967, which are the product of his activities as a consultant, researcher, and Harvard School of Public Health faculty member.

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

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Augustus White Papers Open To Research

By , October 3, 2017
Augustus A. White

Augustus A. White

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Augustus A. White papers, 1951-2010 (inclusive). White is the Ellen and Melvin Gordon Distinguished Professor of Medical Education and Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School and a former Orthopaedic Surgeon-in-Chief at Beth Israel Hospital. White was the first African American medical student at Stanford University, surgical resident at Yale University, professor of medicine at Yale, and department head at a Harvard-affiliated hospital (Beth Israel Hospital). From 1966 to 1968, he served as Captain in the United States Army Medical Corps, serving as a combat surgeon at the 85th Evacuation Hospital in Qui Nhon, Vietnam from 1966 to 1967. Since retiring from surgery in 2001, White has researched and written about issues of diversity and cultural sensitivity in medicine.

The papers are the product of White’s activities as an orthopedic surgeon, Harvard Medical School faculty member, and author and researcher. The papers contain records from White’s work at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, the University of Maryland at Baltimore, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and Brown University. Also included is White’s professional correspondence, his medical writings, reminisces of his service in Vietnam, and records of his speeches and lectures. The collection also contains records from his outside legal consultations and clippings, photographs and other personal and biographical records.

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

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

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