Category: Center for the History of Medicine

In Memoriam: T. Berry Brazelton, 1918-2018

By , March 19, 2018

T. Berry Brazelton

The Center was saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. T. Berry Brazelton on Tuesday, March 13 at his home on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Brazelton was perhaps best known as the developer of the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS), which uses visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli to assess the physical and neurological responses of newborns, as well as their emotional well-being and individual differences.

Born on May 10, 1918 in Waco, Texas, he received an A.B. from Princeton University in 1940 and an M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1943. In 1972, Brazelton established the Child Development Unit, a pediatric training and research center, at Children’s Hospital Boston. The Child Development Unit offered doctors the opportunity to conduct research on child development and train for clinical work with parents and children. While at the Child Development Unit, Brazelton developed the NBAS in 1973. Brazelton served as Director of the Child Development Unit from 1972 to 1989. At Harvard Medical School, Brazelton became Associate Professor of Pediatrics in 1972, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics in 1986, and Professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus in 1988. In 1992, the T. Berry Brazelton Professor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital was established.

Brazelton with newborn

During the course of his career, Brazelton authored over thirty books, including Infants and Mothers: Individual Differences in Development (1969), What Every Baby Knows (1987), and Touchpoints: Your Child’s Emotional and Behavioral Development (1993). From 1984 to 1995, Brazelton hosted the television program “What Every Baby Knows,” for which he won an Emmy in 1994, and authored monthly columns in Redbook and Family Circle, as well as a weekly newspaper column. In 2012, Brazelton was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Barack Obama.

Obituaries for Dr. Brazelton can be found in the Boston Globe, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

OnView, the Center’s online digital collections site, contains a letter from Mister Rogers to Brazelton.

The Center holds the T. Berry Brazelton papers and the finding aid can be found here. For information regarding access to this collection, please contact the Public Services staff.

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

By , March 14, 2018


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


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


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

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

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

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

#ColorOurCollections 2018

By , February 4, 2018


From February 5th through 9th, 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 include incunabula, anatomical drawings and prints, medical teaching resources, biodiversity, bookplates, and more!

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

Click here to download our entire 2018 coloring book.

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

Continue reading '#ColorOurCollections 2018'»

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

By , January 31, 2018


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


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

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

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

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

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

John E. Hoopes papers are open for Research

By , January 29, 2018

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the John E. Hoopes papers, 1940-2012. Hoopes, (1931-) was a plastic surgeon specializing in reconstructive, rehabilitative, and cosmetic plastic surgery, and was part of the founding staff of the Gender Identity Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland.

John E. Hoopes was born in 1931, and attended Rice University, Houston, Texas, for his undergraduate education from 1949 to 1953. He then received his M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, in 1957. Hoopes then became an Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and was the founding Chairman of the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the first academic institution in the United States to perform sex reassignment surgeries, from 1965 to 1968. From 1968 to 1970, he was the Chairman of the Plastic Surgery Division at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri. He returned to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1970, and served as the Chairman of Plastic Surgery until his retirement in 1990. He founded the John E. Hoopes Foundation for Plastic Surgery, and remains a consultant on topics of plastic surgery.

Hoopes’s research throughout his career focused on different subjects within the larger field of plastic surgery. He published numerous scientific journal articles on the topics of his scientific study, including but not limited to degenerative diseases of the hand and surgical management; surgical rehabilitation after radial maxillectomy and orbital extension; immediate forehead flap in resection for oropharyngeal cancer; organic synthetics for augmentation mammoplasty and their relation to breast cancer; the “insatiable” cosmetic surgery patients; the psychiatric-surgical approach to adolescent disturbance in self-image; issues of cleft palate reconstruction and speech; psychiatric aspects of transsexual surgery management; sex reassignment or reconstruction surgeries; reduction mammoplasty; skin wounds and scars and the relation of enzymes and metabolism to their healing; facial fractures and reconstruction; and drug injection injuries, among others.

John E. Hoopes was involved with numerous professional organizations throughout his career. He was the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow in 1970. From 1982 to 1983, Hoopes was the Chair of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and from 1989-1990, the President of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons. He was also involved with organizations such as the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons.

The papers are a product of Hoopes’s career as a plastic surgeon, researcher, professor, and administrator. The papers contain: professional organizations records; research records; Johns Hopkins University and other professional records, which include both administrative records as well as a small group of Gender Identity Clinic records.

The finding aid for the Hoopes papers can be found:

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

2018-2019 Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation Fellowship: Application Period Open

By , January 12, 2018

The Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation Research Fellowship

Deadline May 15, 2018


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, 2018 and June 30, 2019. 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, 2018. 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 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 2017-2018 Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine Research Fellows are Maria Daxenbichler and Jordan Katz. Previously fellows include Kate GrauvogelLouella McCarthyRebecca KluchinCiara BreathnachCarrie Adkins, and Hilary Aquino.

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

By , January 5, 2018

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

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

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

Staff Finds: Hertig, the Pathology Lab, and the Warren Museum

By , January 2, 2018

While processing the Arthur Tremain Hertig papers, Center staff discovered images of Hertig instructing Harvard Medical School students in the Pathology laboratory. Included are two images (first two below) that show Hertig using Warren Anatomical Museum specimens as part of the instruction, as the Pathology Department utilized the collection for teaching purposes. The Warren Anatomical Museum was established at Harvard Medical School in 1847 through a gift from John Collins Warren (1778-1856), and from the time of its founding until the late 1960s, the museum served a significant role as a resource for the teaching of medicine.

Arthur Hertig (1904-1990) was a pathologist, human embryo researcher, and professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School. He joined the Department of Pathology in 1931, was promoted to Professor of Pathology in 1948, and in 1952 was named Shattuck Professor of Pathological Anatomy and Chairman of the Department of Pathology. As chairman, teaching was a priority for Hertig:

His own lectures were clear and laced with a sense of humor … His regard for his students was manifested by his practice of having every one of them attend a tea in small groups in his office, although this consumed a great deal of time. The students awarded him two prizes for excellence in teaching and made him an honorary member of one of the graduating classes.

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

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

Hermann Lisco papers are open for research

By , December 18, 2017

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Hermann Lisco Papers, 1899-2000 (inclusive), 1940-1974 (bulk) to research. Joseph Giese, a Center intern who completed his studies at the Simmons College School of Library and Information Sciences in December, processed this collection and wrote this post with the supervision of Betts Coup.

Herman Lisco (1910-2000), M.D., 1936, University of Berlin, was a German-born pathologist who first worked as an assistant at the University of Berlin at the Charite-Krankenhaus briefly the year he graduated, before departing Germany due to its political climate for the United State – he was married to a Jewish woman. After immigrating, he began working as an assistant and instructor at Johns Hopkins University Medical School and Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, where he remained for four years.  In 1940, he moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to work at Harvard Medical School, and served as an instructor of pathology there for another four years. At that time, he was recruited by the Biology and Health Division of the University of Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan District of the U.S. Army, also known as the Manhattan Project, where he became the first doctor to perform an autopsy on an individual who had died of acute radiation poisoning.  In 1947, he went to work for the Argonne National Laboratory until 1957.  In 1967, he returned to work at Harvard Medical School as a professor, and worked as an Associate Dean (1969), Associate Professor of Anatomy (1970-1977), Deputy Chairman of Medical Sciences (1977-1982). He formally retired in 1981 as an Associate Professor of Anatomy.

Lisco’s research focused on the carcinogenic effects of plutonium and the radiotoxicity of other elements and chemicals on humans and lab animals, as well as radiation’s effects on the formation of tumors and lymphoma.  He wrote often on the “acute radiation syndrome” provoked in organisms by excessive exposure to radiation, and much of his research focused on cancer, and the side effects of radiation therapy on patients being treated for cancer.  He conducted a number of trips to Europe that dealt with studying the incidence of leukemia in women treated with radiotherapy for cervical cancer.  Much of his work was devoted to the study of the pathological effects of atomic radiation, and the importance of radiological protection and importance of medical supervision in radiation work.

The collection reflects Lisco’s professional, research, and publishing activities, but also his personal activities and interests.  Contained within are research records, selected reprints, notes, medical images, speeches, and programs from meetings of organizations of which he was There is also correspondence of a more personal nature, including letters concerning conscientious objector status, letters to specialist physicians and former students who were not particularly connected to research Lisco was undertaking, newspaper updates on the political situation in Germany 1989-1990, information about his inner life, photographs of Lisco himself and a number of people with whom he had interacted over the course of his career, and scrapbooks with grade reports from his life in Germany between the years of 1918 to 1936, dating back to as early as when he was eight years old.

The finding aid can be found at:

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

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