Category: Center News

Nutshell Studies Loaned to Renwick Gallery for Exhibition

By , October 13, 2017
Frances Glessner Lee and Alan R. Moritz working with furnishings for the Nutshell Studies, 1948. Records of the Department of Legal Medicine, Harvard Medical Library

Frances Glessner Lee and Alan R. Moritz working with furnishings for the Nutshell Studies, 1948. Records of the Department of Legal Medicine, Harvard Medical Library

In 1946, Frances Glessner Lee donated the first ten models of what have become known as the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death to Harvard Medical School’s Department of Legal Medicine. She followed that gift with seven more models in 1948, eventually giving a total of eighteen Nutshells to the Medical School. The Nutshells, intricate dioramas depicting mysterious homicides, suicides, and natural deaths, were built by Lee to serve as teaching tools for the Harvard Associates in Police Science seminars that she hosted each year. In 1967, the Department of Legal Medicine closed, and Harvard loaned the Nutshell Studies to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Baltimore, Maryland, where Department of Legal Medicine alumnus Russell Fisher was the medical examiner. Fisher moved the Harvard Associates in Police Science seminars to Baltimore and kept the teaching mission of the Nutshells alive.

For the first time since being loaned to Baltimore, the eighteen Harvard Nutshells will be on display for the public. They are being hosted by the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery for their exhibition Murder is Her Hobby. In addition to the Harvard Nutshells, the exhibition will also display a nineteenth Glessner Lee Nutshell from the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, courtesy of the Bethlehem Heritage Society. The exhibition will run from October 20, 2017 to January 28, 2018. More information regarding Murder is Her Hobby can be found on the Renwick Gallery website, in the Washington Post, and in HMS news.

More information about the Department for Legal Medicine can be found in Corpus Delicti: The Doctor as the Detective, a physical and digital exhibit curated by Center for the History of Medicine Public Service Librarian Jack Eckert.

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Staff Finds: Augustus White in Vietnam

By , September 19, 2017
Augustus A. White

Augustus A. White

From 1966 to 1968, Augustus A. White served as a Captain in the United States Army Medical Corps and from August 1966 to August 1967, he was deployed as a combat surgeon at the 85th Evacuation Hospital in Qui Nhon, Vietnam. During his deployment, he volunteered during his off-duty time at the St. Francis Leprosarium, earning a Bronze Star for this work, as well as for a volunteer mission to help retrieve an injured soldier from a mountainside. Subject to a special physicians’ draft, White could have chosen service in the the National Guard, Navy Reserve, or Public Health Service, but instead chose active duty service, as he describes in Seeing Patients:

Here I was, fully trained, after so many years. I couldn’t wait to get out on my own and be what I had worked so hard to be. And where in the world could I do that instantaneously at the highest volume in the most needed place other than Vietnam? Besides, I thought, I’m not going over to kill people; I’m going over to save them. And besides that, how about what I owed? I had grown up during World War II … Our soldiers had protected me then. Shouldn’t I be giving something back?

While in Vietnam and caring for badly injured soldiers, White struggled with feelings of helplessness. Again, from Seeing Patients:

Finding a way to deal with all this emotionally was crucial. If you allowed yourself to get dragged into thinking too much, you’d simply be crushed to pieces. I mulled over the idea of sending a letter and photos to Lyndon Johnson. I composed the letter in my head a dozen times, thinking about what words might have the most dramatic effect. I tried to figure out how I might actually get it to him so he would read it. I imagined getting him and other world leaders down into a MASH unit operating room before they’d be allowed to start their wars. Grab them by the collar and force them to watch a terrified young man writhing in pain with his legs mangled or his belly ripped up. But of course that was just escapist fantasy. The reality was that there wasn’t the slightest thing I could do to stop what was going on.

The Augustus A. White papers, 1951-2010 (inclusive), contain records related to White’s service in Vietnam. This includes typed and annotated excerpts from White’s diary kept during his Vietnam service, detailing his day-to-day thoughts and activities, including his work at the leprosarium (see below for diary excerpts and a letters from his commanding officer John Feagin). The collection also contains copies of his articles “Vietnam Memoirs: River of Blood” and “Notes and Impressions at Vietnam Memorial”, drafts of a manuscript about his experiences in Vietnam, and an after action report (see below for excerpts) detailing the air transfer of a badly wounded soldier from Vietnam to Walter Reed Hospital, Washington D.C.

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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Announcing the 2017-2018 Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation Fellows

By , September 11, 2017
Maria Dazenbichler

Maria Daxenbichler

Maria Daxenbichler is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University at Buffalo. She holds a Magistra Artium degree in American Studies from Leipzig University, Germany, and a M.A. in American Studies from the Transnational Studies department at the University at Buffalo. Her dissertation investigates how medical researchers in the U.S. changed the field of gynecology between the 1880s and 1920s. Through developing new and allegedly safe abortion techniques, they strengthened their authority over women’s health, reproduction, and medical treatments. They then shared their new knowledge with medical and nursing students in teaching hospitals, thus helping to further professionalize the medical field and establish the authority of formally trained practitioners. She also received a research fellowship from the University of Illinois at Chicago for this project.

Ms. Daxenbichler plans to utilize the Records of New England Hospital for Women and Children, Records of Boston Lying-In Hospital, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital Records, George Richard Minot Papers, Edward Peirson Richardson Papers, and the Papers of James Read Chadwick.


Jordan Katz

Jordan Katz

Jordan Katz is an advanced doctoral student in the Department of History at Columbia University. She specializes in early modern Jewish history, with interests in Jewish cultural history, history of science, and Jewish communal autonomy. Her dissertation examines the role of Jewish midwives and medical women within communal and intellectual frameworks in the early modern Ashkenazic world. She is also interested in culinary history and historical reconstruction.

Ms. Katz has received fellowships from the Center for Jewish History and the Leo Baeck Fellowship Programme – Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. Her work has been published in Jewish Quarterly Review.

At the Center, Ms. Katz will consult several 16th and 17th century midwifery treatises including Samuel Janson’s 1680 Korte en Bondige verhandeling, van de voort-teeling en t’ kinderbaren met den aenklave van dien.

We look forward to hosting both fellows at the Center this year!


The Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation Fellowship is offered in partnership with the Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation (formerly the Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine). Information regarding the Fellowship program is available at and

A program of the Center for the History of Medicine at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, the Archives for Women in Medicine actively acquires, preserves, promotes, and provides access to the professional and personal records of outstanding women leaders in medicine and the medical sciences.


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.

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Oct. 17, 2017: 42nd Annual Joseph Garland Lecture “Measuring Value in Healthcare”

By , August 25, 2017

The Boston Medical Library presents:

Measuring Value in Healthcare

42nd Annual Garland Lecture

Peter J. Neumann, Sc.D.: Director of the Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health, Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies, Tufts Medical Center & Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine


Join us for Dr. Peter J. Neumann’s talk on the promises and pitfalls of using formal cost-effectiveness analysis to help the United States achieve better value for its health spending. Dr. Neumann, founder and director of the Cost-Effectiveness Registry, focuses his investigations on the use of comparative effectiveness research and cost-effectiveness analysis in health care decision making.


shutterstock_129463487Tuesday, October 17, 2017

5:30 PM

Amphitheater, Armenise Building
Harvard Medical School
210 Longwood Avenue, Boston MA 02115

To register, please contact the Boston Medical Library at or 617-432-5169.

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Sept. 20, 2017: From Riding Breeches to Harvard

By , August 2, 2017

The Center for the History of Medicine Presents:

From Riding Breeches to Harvard

Presentation in honor of Linda James Benitt given by Lady Long Rider, Bernice Ende, Great-Niece of Linda James.



Join us for an evening discussion on the life and career of Linda Francis James Benitt, the first female graduate of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The presentation will begin by briefly exploring the context of women at Harvard at the turn of century, as well as Linda James’ life in Boston as a young student. Next, Bernice Ende, Linda’s great-niece, will share her personal insights on Linda’s life, as well how she inspired her toward ultimately becoming a “lady long rider”.

Linda Frances James (pictured above in 1915) was the first woman to graduate from the Harvard-M.I.T. School for Health Officers (predecessor of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), receiving her C.P.H. in 1917. As a young public health professional in Boston, Linda worked as a Medical Social Worker at Massachusetts General Hospital, and as the Director of the After-Care Division at the Harvard Infantile Paralysis Commission. Her professional life shifted in 1922 when she married William A. Benitt, a young attorney from Goodhue, Minnesota. The couple decided to leave their careers and become farmers on Apple Acres—a 200-acre farm in South Washington County, Minnesota. In addition to life on the farm, James remained an active advocate for education, public health, and community. A two-part blog series on Linda is available here.

Bernice Ende was raised on a Minnesota dairy farm where riding was always an integral part of her life. After pursuing a career teaching classical ballet on the west coast, Ende moved to Trego, Montana, a remote part of North West Montana where she continued teaching ballet. Her retirement in 2003 brought not a lack of activity, but rather a change in focus. Drawn back to riding, Bernice felt the pull of the open road and adventure inherent in serious riding. Her first ride in 2005 has continued into the present. Now thirteen years later, having acquired nearly 30,000 equestrian miles, she inspires and encourages female leadership with her travels. For more information on Ende, visit her website:


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Light refreshments will be served.

Minot Room, 5th Floor
Countway Library
Harvard Medical School
10 Shattuck Street, Boston MA 02115

Free and open to the public.

Registration is required. Register online now through Eventbrite or email us at

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Francine M. Benes Papers Open for Research

The Center for the History of Medicine is The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Francine M. Benes papers, 1979-2014 (inclusive), 1985-2005 (bulk) to research.

Born in Queens, New York, on May 8, 1946, Francine Benes received her bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University in New York in 1967. In 1972, she completed a PhD in Cell Biology at Yale School of Medicine. Between 1972 and 1975, she received post-doctoral training at the City of Hope National Medical Center in California where she used single cell neurochemistry to study GABA neurons. In 1975, Dr. Benes began medical school at Yale and after receiving her M.D. in 1978, she completed a psychiatric residency at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Benes’ research focuses on exploring the post-mortem brains of patients who had a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, with special focus on determining the role of GABA cells in the pathophysiology of psychotic disorders. Her later research employs microarray-based gene expression profiling (GEP) to explore the genetic causation for GABA cell dysfunction and to determine how molecular mechanisms differ in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The collection reflects Benes’ neuroscientific research focusing on the physical and biochemical changes in brain tissue in bipolar depression and dementia. Records include correspondence, drafts and manuscripts for articles and book chapters, grant proposals, budgets, and reports as well as records reflecting Benes’ professional activities at conferences and professional organizations including as a committee member, panel commentator, or speaker.

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Staff Finds: Arthur Hertig and Carnegie #7699

By , July 18, 2017

While processing the papers of Arthur Hertig, Center staff came across drafts and notes from an article by Hertig and John Rock entitled “Two Human Ova of the Previllous Stage, Having an Ovulation Age of about Eleven and Twelve Days Respectively” (Contributions to Embryology 29 (1941): 127-56). The paper describes Carnegie embryos #7699 and #7700, with #7699 being at that point the youngest human ovum discovered by researchers. Hertig was working with Rock and the Carnegie Institution of Washington to conduct studies of early human embryos, research which enabled later advances in the birth control pill and in vitro fertilization.


Arthur Hertig

The embryos were taken from women who were scheduled to undergo hysterectomies, who were married, under 45, and who had at least two children. Rock’s assistant Miriam Menkin recruited the eligible women, and guided them through the process of recording their body temperature in order to determine their time of ovulation. Loretta McLaughlin, in her book The Pill, John Rock, and the Church, describes the next step in the process:

At this point Rock and Hertig’s version of the instructions given the women differs somewhat from Miriam’s. But it was she, not they, who was dealing directly with the “candidates.” Rock and Hertig hold that the women were advised in the final month to continue their normal pattern of sexual intercourse – but this time without using any precautions to prevent conception. The women were asked to keep a record of the dates of any intercourse, and that was all. Miriam says there was a little more than that to it. Miriam would point out to the candidates “these other women sitting on the bench in the fertility clinic. They are women who would like to have a baby, who can’t. We want to find out more about how to help them by finding out more about the early stages of a baby. “ She would reassure the women that “even if you have intercourse you won’t have a baby because you have to have the operation anyway.” She would hint at least that it would be useful to the research if they had intercourse during the final fertile period. “After all,” she rationalized, “the practical fact of it was that there wasn’t much point in going to all the trouble of preparing the women for the study, if none were going to at least give their eggs a chance to be exposed to their husband’s sperm. There was a crude pregnancy test at the time but it couldn’t work until a woman was six to eight weeks pregnant. Neither we nor they could know whether they were pregnant at the time of the surgery.”

Below are scans from the above-mentioned article drafts. Included are drafts of text and tables demonstrating how Hertig and Rock were able to date the ovum.

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

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Processing of the Zerka T. Moreno Papers

By , July 12, 2017

Zerka T. Moreno (Zerka Toeman) (1917-2016) was a psychotherapist specializing in psychodrama and an adjunct professor at New York University, New York City, New York in the 1950s. Working with her husband, J. L. Moreno (Jacob Levy) (1889-1974), Zerka Moreno is known for her involvement in developing theories and methods for psychodramatic therapy. Working at the Sociometic Institute and the Pyschodramatic Institute in New York City as well as leading the Moreno Institute in Beacon, New York, Zerka Moreno provided psychodrama therapy to patients, led workshops in the treatment across the United States and internationally, mentored graduate students pursuing psychotherapy as part of their psychology or psychiatry degrees, and was the author of dozens of articles and books on the topic of psychodrama. The Center is pleased to announce that Zerka T. Moreno’s papers, dated 1937-2010, are currently being processed.

Zerka Toeman Moreno was born on June 13, 1917, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She attended secondary school in the Netherlands before moving to London, England, in 1932 where she attended technical school. She planned to become an artist or fashion designer, with specific interest in designing scenery and costumes for stage productions. Moreno relocated to the United States in 1939, shortly after the beginning of World War II. Her sister suffered from mental illness, and in 1941, Moreno arranged for her to move to Beacon, New York, for treatment with J.L. Moreno at the Beacon Hill Sanatorium. That same year, following her sister’s treatment Zerka Moreno became J.L. Moreno’s student, working as his private secretary in Beacon to earn the scholarship he offered her. When he opened the Sociometric Institute in New York City, she became his research assistant and relocated to New York City; this later became the Moreno Institute. 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, group psychotherapy, and sociometry. During the 1950s, both Zerka and J.L. Moreno served as adjunct professors at New York University, teaching courses about psychodrama and sociometry. 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, studying psychodrama and exploring new questions regarding surplus reality. With Merlyn S. Pitzele (1911-1995), she continued to attend patients, offer teaching sessions in Beacon and New York City, and led workshops and seminars in countless American and international locations, including Japan, Korea, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Sweden, and Finland, among others. In 1996, she relocated to Charlottesville, Virginia, closing the Moreno Institute in Beacon, and moved into a nursing home in 2013 in Rockville, Maryland after breaking a hip. She continued to see patients and correspond with students from her bed until shortly before her death.

Zerka T. Moreno was a proponent and student of the area of psychological treatment known as psychodrama. Psychodrama therapy is a form of therapy in which individuals participate in role playing, reenacting real-life experiences either as themselves or as others who have been affected by their behavior. The Morenos believed psychodrama allowed for new expressions of oneself and the integration of the inner and outer realities of a person, which could lead to psychological healing. Zerka Moreno was interested in surplus reality, which is the concept of putting oneself into another person’s reality. Role reversal is a surplus reality technique, which translates into psychodrama and its methods for considering multiple realities.

Zerka T. and J.L. Moreno were married in 1949. They had one son together, Jonathan Moreno (1952-), who was raised with psychodrama throughout his life and later became a bioethicist, philosopher, and historian, working as  the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor and Professor of Medical Ethics and the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Zerka Moreno was also the stepmother to J.L. Moreno’s daughter from a previous marriage, Regina Moreno (1939-).

The papers are the product of Moreno’s personal and professional activities during her career as a psychotherapist leading psychodramatic workshops and mentoring psychotherapy students throughout the work; her activities with organizations such as the International Association of Group Psychotherapy and the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama; as well as her work at the Sociometric, Psychodramatic, and Moreno Institutes and treating patients. Further materials include writings and collected papers used by Moreno in her research, as well as biographical records relating to both Zerka T. and Jacob L. Moreno. The records are expected to be open to research in 2017. For more information on the processing of these papers, contact Elizabeth Coup, Processing Assistant.


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Marie C. McCormick Papers Open to Research

By , June 29, 2017
Marie C. McCormick.

Marie C. McCormick.

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the papers of Marie C. McCormick, 1956-2016 (inclusive), 1968-2009 (bulk), are now open to research. McCormick is the Sumner and Esther Feldberg Professor of Maternal and Child Health in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School; and Senior Associate for Academic Affairs in the Department of Neonatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Her research has primarily focused on epidemiology and health services, particularly in relation to infant mortality and the outcomes of high-risk and very low birth weight neonates.

She served on all four phases of the Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP), the largest longitudinal multisite randomized trials of early childhood educational intervention for low birth weight and high-risk infants, and was the Principal Investigator of Phase IV of the program. She was also a senior investigator on both the federal Healthy Start Program and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Perinatal Regionalization Program. She served as Chair of the Institute of Medicine’s (now National Academy of Medicine) Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana, and its Immunization Safety Review Committee, for which she testified twice before the U.S. House of Representatives on the lack of evidence linking vaccinations with autism (2001 and 2004). In 1996, she also testified before the U.S. Senate on the National Healthy Start Initiative. She has published 12 books and monographs, as well as over 280 scientific papers, reviews, editorials, reports, and abstracts.

The papers include research, teaching, administrative, and publishing records, generated by McCormick over the course of her career, such as:

  • Infant Health and Development Program (Phases I-IV) administrative records;
  • Evaluation of Regionalized Networks for High Risk Pregnancy Care study administrative records;
  • Long Term Outcomes of Very Low Birthweight Infants study administrative records;
  • Occasional research data from the previous three studies;
  • Teaching records for courses related to maternal and child health, taught by McCormick at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health;
  • Grant records for graduate training grants related to maternal and child health; and
  • Writings and publications related to maternal and child health, epidemiology, regionalization of care, and other topics in public health.

The collection was processed as part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project, funded by a Hidden Collections grant administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources. For more information on the project, please contact the project’s principal investigator, Emily R. Novak Gustainis, Deputy Director of the Center for the History of Medicine.

For more information on McCormick’s collection, please view the online finding aid:

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