Category: Exhibits and Events

From Riding Breeches to Harvard: Stories of the First Female Harvard Chan School Graduate

By , September 27, 2017
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Bernice Ende, lady long rider and great-nice of Linda James Benitt, the first woman to graduate from the Harvard Chan School (then known as the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers) shared photographs of Linda’s parents, as well as anecdotes on her early life.

The Center for the History of Medicine was delighted to host the event, “From Riding Breeches to Harvard” on Wednesday, September 20th at the Countway Library. Bernice Ende, great niece of Linda James Benitt, who was the first woman to graduate from the Harvard T.H. Chan School (then the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers), presented findings, photos, documents, and stories from her research on, and relationship with, her “Aunt Linda.” Ende, a lady long rider for over thirteen years, has credited both her mother and her aunt for inspiring her life-long desire to encourage female leadership through long riding.  Dr. Joe Brain, Cecil K. and Philip Drinker Professor of Environmental Physiology, Department of Environmental Health, and Chair of the Harvard Chan School Archives Advisory Committee, welcomed the intimate crowd and shared his experiences working with the committee and the Harvard Chan School Archivist, Heather Mumford, in uncovering the early history of the school.

Heather Mumford, Archivist for the Harvard Chan School, presented on her 2013 "discovery" of Linda James, the first woman to graduate from the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers.

Heather Mumford, Archivist for the Harvard Chan School, presented on her 2013 “discovery” of Linda James Benitt, the first woman to graduate from the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers (precursor to the Harvard Chan School).

Prior to Ende’s presentation, Joan Ilacqua, Project Archivist for the Archives for Women in Medicine, provided background information on the first women on the Harvard Longwood campus, with a nod to Linda James Benitt’s being the first woman to be credentialed on the same basis as men in 1917 by the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers.

Following Ilacqua’s presentation, Mumford spoke on her discovery of Linda James Benitt in 2013 during the school’s centennial. The results of her early research, primarily conducted through the Minnesota Historical Society, resulted in a two-part blog series, available here. Ultimately these blog posts were what connected Mumford and Ende, and sparked their correspondence over the next three years.

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The James family, circa 1920. Photograph courtesy of Bernice Ende.

During her presentation at the Countway, Ende shared family photographs, letters, clippings, and anecdotes which helped paint a more well-rounded perspective of Linda James Benitt, and followed her throughout her life at Harvard and beyond. Common threads, such as a love of horses, a dedication to fighting for women’s rights and highlighting the accomplishments of women, as well as cultivating opportunities for adventure, were also discovered for the first time during the course of her research, and have led Ende to a much deeper appreciation for her great aunt. Ende has written a book on these topics, which is anticipated to be released in 2018. As a very special treat, Bernice Ende’s older sister brought and displayed family photos and artifacts for the audience to enjoy.

For more information on Ende, visit her website: www.endeofthetrail.com

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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 BostonMedLibr@gmail.com or 617-432-5169.

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Oct. 19, 2017: Going Crazy at Work: The History of Carbon Disulfide

By , August 25, 2017

Department of Postgraduate and Continuing Education, McLean Hospital and the Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, present:

Colloquium on the History of Psychiatry and Medicine

“Going Crazy at Work: The History of Carbon Disulfide”

Paul Blanc, M.D: Professor of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco

 

The second in a series of four lectures given as the 2017 Colloquium on the History of Psychiatry and Medicine. The Colloquium offers an opportunity to clinicians, researchers, and historians interested in a historical perspective on their fields to discuss informally historical studies in progress.

carbon-disulfide-3d-balls

Thursday, October 19, 2017
4:00-5:30 PM

Lahey Room, fifth floor
Countway Library of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
10 Shattuck Street, Boston MA 02115

Free and open to the public.

For further information contact David G. Satin, M.D., Colloquium Director, phone/fax 617-332-0032, e-mail david_satin@hms.harvard.edu

 

 

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Sept. 14, 2017: Freud, Reich, and Radical Politics, 1927-1933

By , August 16, 2017

Department of Postgraduate and Continuing Education, McLean Hospital and the Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, present:

Colloquium on the History of Psychiatry and Medicine

“Freud, Reich, and Radical Politics: 1927-1933”

Philip W. Bennett, Ph.D.: Retired Professor, Fairfield University

 

The first in a series of four lectures given as the 2017 Colloquium on the History of Psychiatry and Medicine. The Colloquium offers an opportunity to clinicians, researchers, and historians interested in a historical perspective on their fields to discuss informally historical studies in progress.

Thursday, September 14, 2017
4:00-5:30 PM

Lahey Room, fifth floor
Countway Library of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
10 Shattuck Street, Boston MA 02115

Free and open to the public.

For further information contact David G. Satin, M.D., Colloquium Director, phone/fax 617-332-0032, e-mail david_satin@hms.harvard.edu

 

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May 23: 13th J. Worth Estes Lecture

By , March 28, 2017

The Boston Medical Library presents the 13th J. Worth Estes, M.D. History of Medicine Lecture:

Spare Parts
Hope, Drama and Dispute:

Heart Transplantation and Total Artificial Heart
Implant Cases in the 1960s

Shelley McKellar, PhD: Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

5:30pm

Cannon Room/Building C
Harvard Medical School
240 Longwood Avenue, Boston MA 02115

To RSVP, email BostonMedLibr@gmail.com or call Kerry O’Connor at 617-432-5169.

 

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With the upcoming 50th anniversary of the first heart transplant operation, performed by South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard in December 1967, Prof. Shelley McKellar examines cardiac transplantation alongside the development of artificial hearts as replacement therapies for heart failure patients during the 1960s. Not long after Barnard, American surgeons Adrian Kantrowitz and Norman Shumway performed heart transplant operations in New York and California respectively. Within weeks, more cardiac surgeons jumped on the transplant ‘bandwagon.’

In 1968, more than 100 heart transplant operations were done worldwide, with Denton Cooley, Norman Shumway and Michael DeBakey performing the greatest number of cases. But patient mortality rates were appallingly high due to organ rejection and infection. Still, dying heart failure patients camped outside the offices of heart transplant surgeons, hoping for a life-saving procedure.

In 1969, Cooley implanted an artificial heart in a Houston man as a desperate measure to provide this. The device kept the patient alive for 64 hours until he received a donor heart, but this only sustained him for another 32 hours before he succumbed to pneumonia and kidney failure. The artificial heart implant case fueled the debate concerning the best cardiac replacement therapy—human or mechanical parts—to offer heart failure patients; neither produced satisfactory outcomes and many in the medical community questioned the continued pursuit of these treatments. (The 1969 implant case also severed the professional relationship of DeBakey and Cooley due to allegations of device theft and lack of authorization to perform the implant procedure.)

McKellar explores how the challenges and uncertainties experienced in heart transplant surgery augmented the standing and perceived value of artificial heart implantation as a complementary, not competing, cardiac replacement treatment in a period of ‘spare parts’ optimism in American medicine and society.

 


 

mckellar-headshot-low-resProf. McKellar completed a PhD in the History of Medicine at the University of Toronto, under the supervision of Prof. Michael Bliss. She then worked at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. on a documentary history project before taking a tenure-track position in the Department of History at Western University, London, Canada in 2003. In 2012, she became the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University. In teaching medical students, she aims to foster an appreciation of the historical and cultural contingencies of medical practice; that is, to recognize that time and place matter regarding what we think we know and how we practice medicine.

Prof. McKellar’s research focuses on the history of surgery, predominantly cardiac surgery, medical technology, and the material culture of medicine. Her newest book, entitled Artificial Hearts: The Allure and Ambivalence of a Controversial Medical Technology is forthcoming – fall 2017 – with Johns Hopkins University Press. This book traces the history of an imperfect technology, situating the more-well-known events of the Michael DeBakey and Denton Cooley professional fall-out after the first artificial heart implant case in 1969 as well as the 1982-83 Jarvik-7 heart implant case of Barney Clark within a larger historical trajectory that also includes the development of atomic artificial hearts and ventricular assist devices (or ‘partial’ artificial hearts.) It can be seen as a case study that speaks to questions of ‘success,’ values, expectations, limitations, and uncertainty in a high-technology medical world that grapples with end-stage disease therapies.

McKellar has also written a biography of Toronto surgeon Gordon Murray, who operated on the heart in the era of closed-intracardiac operations (before open-heart surgery), built the first Canadian artificial kidney machine, and pursued research on a controversial cancer serum and a spinal cord surgical procedure to restore function in paraplegics. McKellar also co-authored a book, entitled Medicine and Technology in Canada, 1900-1950, which was commissioned by the Canada Science and Technology Museum to assist in their mandate to collect and research medical technology.

As much as possible, McKellar incorporates medical objects into her teaching and research. As curator of the Medical Artifact Collection at Western, she conducts object research, mounts displays, and runs ‘hands-on’ student workshops to spotlight the often ‘hidden’ history of medical instruments and devices.

 

 

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Announcing a new exhibit on the history of women at Harvard Medical School

By , March 7, 2017

A Brief History of Women at Harvard Medical School

“A Brief History of Women at Harvard Medical School” is now on display on Countway Library’s 2nd floor next to the Joint Committee on the Status of Women library collection.

The exhibit, curated by Joan Ilacqua, Project Archivist for the Archives for Women in Medicine, explores the history of women in medicine at Harvard Medical School. It begins with the story of Harriot Kezia Hunt, Harvard’s first woman applicant, and follows the struggles and triumphs of Harvard Medical School’s first women instructors, researchers, professors, and students, as well as the creation of the Joint Committee on the Status of Women and the Archives for Women in Medicine.

An extended digital version of the exhibit is available via OnView.


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.

 

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New Exhibit at the Countway Library Commemorates Harvard Medical School’s Relief Efforts during World War I

By , February 15, 2017

Soldiers Wounded at the Battle of the Somme Arriving at No. 22 General Hospital, 1916 [0004184]

Soldiers Wounded at the Battle of the Somme Arriving at No. 22 General Hospital, 1916 [0004184]

Although the United States did not enter World War I until April 1917, American medical personnel were active in war relief efforts from nearly the beginning of the conflict. Harvard Medical School—its faculty and its graduates—played a key role in this relief work by providing staff for French and English hospitals and military units, and these early endeavors provided invaluable experience once America came into the war and the need to organize and staff base and mobile hospitals for the U.S. Army became critical to the war effort.

Noble Work for a Worthy End, a new exhibit at the Countway’s Center for the History of Medicine, charts Harvard’s participation in this medical relief work and experiences in military medicine and surgery through the wealth of first-hand documentation preserved by the men and women who volunteered their time and labor, sometimes at great sacrifice, to helping the sick and wounded of the First World War. Highlights of the display include records of the Harvard University Service organized by Harvey Cushing at the American Ambulance Hospital in Paris.  This unit’s brief sojourn in the spring of 1915 is documented through photographs and postcards, publications, and a copy of Elliott Carr Cutler’s daily journal of his experiences.

The Medical School’s most enduring contribution to the war effort was the Harvard Surgical Unit, which first arrived in Europe in July 1915.  Inspired by Sir William Osler, the unit provided physicians, surgeons, dentists, and nurses to staff the British Expeditionary Force’s No. 22 General Hospital at Camiers, France. The exhibit includes photograph albums, letters, drawings, newsclippings, Paul Dudley White’s diary account of a case of shell shock, medical field cards and case notes, and unusual ephemera, including an armband worn by members of the Unit and an enamel pin presented by the Harvard Corporation to the unit’s nurses, along with a testimonial of gratitude from King George V.

Final Inspection of Harvard Unit at Fort Totten, N.Y., May 11, 1917 [0003947]

Final Inspection of the Harvard Unit at Fort Totten, N.Y., May 11, 1917 [0003947]

Once the United States entered the European conflict, Harvard faculty and students became involved with staffing base hospitals for the Army. The exhibit also chronicles the work and experiences at Base Hospital No. 5, a unit formed from Harvard and Peter Bent Brigham Hospital personnel.  Base Hospital No. 5, one of the first units to reach France, remained on loan to the British Expeditionary Force for the duration of the war, at which point it had treated some 45,000 soldiers, and, notably, sustained casualties from an air raid bombing on September 4, 1917. Photographs, a letter from Harvey Cushing describing the air raid, and records of Walter B. Cannon’s research on surgical shock are all included.

Noble Work for a Worthy End: Harvard Medical School in the First World War is on display on the first floor of the Countway Library of Medicine and open to the public, Monday through Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm. A companion online exhibit is also available here .

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Center hosts Massachusetts high school students for Phineas Gage symposium

By , December 6, 2016
Microsoft Word - Phineas Gage Flyer.docx

Colloquium on Phineas Gage flyer, Courtesy of Nancy Donlon

The Center for the History of Medicine hosted forty students and seven teachers from six area high schools on November 28th for a half-day “Colloquium on Phineas Gage: A Scientific Inquiry.” The AP Psychology and AP Biology students came from schools across eastern Massachusetts and included Medford High SchoolBurlington High SchoolJohn D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and ScienceArlington High SchoolBraintree High School, and Dedham High School. The program was developed and organized by Medford High School AP Psychology teacher Nancy Donlon and was generously supported by the Medford Educational Foundation. Director Scott Podolsky, MD and Warren Museum curator Dominic Hall participated from the Center.

The students were exposed to a panel of Harvard Medical School and independent scholars who presented diverse material on the historical character of Gage and on modern medicine’s

Phineas Gage colloquium t-shirt. Courtesy of Kaitlin Donlon.

Phineas Gage colloquium t-shirt. Courtesy of Kaitlin Donlon.

understanding of the human brain. Harvard Medical School associate professor and Massachusetts General Hospital neurosurgeon Frederick Barker, MD placed the Gage narrative within the 19th-century debates surrounding neuroscience and the rejection and adoption of cerebral localization. Independent scholar Matthew L. Lena discussed the problematic fictions that have been tied to Phineas Gage’s patient history and how one integral case study can inform, support or hinder modern medical practice. The panel concluded with associate director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School assistant professor Steven Schlozman, MD‘s presentation on the modern understanding of how adolescent and teenage minds hold information and processes emotion through the construction of narratives.

The colloquium ended with the students breaking into groups and exploring the content presented from the three panelists and their renewed sense of the Gage narrative.

 

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HMS LXX: 70 Years of Women at Harvard Medical School

By , November 15, 2016

 

Excerpts from an oral history interview with Raquel E. Cohen, member of HMS’ first coeducational class compiled for HMS LXX

On October 21, 2016, Harvard Medical School celebrated over 70 years of women at Harvard Medical School. The event highlighted several milestones, including the 70th anniversary of Harvard Medical School’s first coeducational class, the appointment of the 250th woman as a full professor, the 20th anniversary of the Eleanor and Miles Shore 50th Anniversary Fellowship Program for Scholars in Medicine, which supports junior faculty, the funding of the Elizabeth D. Hay Professorship in Cell Biology, the 10th anniversary of the Archives for Women in Medicine, and over 40 years of the Joint Committee on the Status of Women.

The event featured a series of curated conversations with women in medicine, from medical students to international leaders in health, addressing issues of women’s leadership, challenges faced by women in medicine, and work done by women at the forefront of women’s health. The event was punctuated by a keynote conversation with Shirley Tilghman, President Emerita of Princeton University and member of The Harvard Corporation.

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

First class of women accepted to Harvard Medical School, 1945. (HMS, Classes and Reunions, 00100.057). Cohen is pictured in the top row, second to right.

The “Women’s View at HMS: Then and Now” panel featured a video excerpting highlights from Raquel Cohen’s 2006 oral history interview. Cohen, an internationally recognized expert in the field of intervention and assistance to survivors of disasters, earned her Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1942, and was a student in Harvard Medical School’s first coeducational class, graduating in 1949.

Although Dr. Cohen could not attend HMS LXX in person, highlights of her oral history, curated by Project Archivist for the Archives for Women in Medicine Joan Ilacqua, detail just a few moments of her fascinating life story. Dr. Cohen’s full oral history is available via Onview, and additional oral histories with women leaders in medicine and the medical sciences are available at: tiny.cc/womeninmedicine.

To learn more about the Archives for Women in Medicine, visit: countway.harvard.edu/awm.

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