Category: Research and Access

Lawrence Lader Papers Open to Research

By , September 9, 2015

Book Cover

The Lawrence Lader papers, 1948-1996 (inclusive), 1969-1991 (bulk), are the product of Lader’s activities as an abortion rights advocate, founder and president of Abortion Rights Mobilization (ARM), co-founder of National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, which later became the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), and author and journalist. The papers contain records related to the administration of ARM and NARAL, ARM’s legal activities regarding RU-486 and the Catholic Church’s tax-exempt status, as well as Lader’s writings on abortion rights and family planning, with related research records.

Lawrence Lader (1919-2006), AB, 1941, Harvard University, was a journalist and abortion rights activist, co-founder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws and founder of Abortion Rights Mobilization (ARM). He wrote extensively on abortion and reproductive rights. Lader was born in New York City in 1919 and served with Armed Forces Radio in the Pacific Theater during World War II, where his dispatches were published in the New Yorker. In Abortion, published in 1966, Lader argued that the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut Supreme Court decision, which extended privacy to sexuality and family planning, could also be applied to abortion. The book was cited multiple times in the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Lader was among a group that co-founded the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws in 1969. After the Supreme Court decision, the group was renamed the National Abortion Rights Action League. Lader left NARAL in 1976 to found Abortion Rights Mobilization (ARM). The group actively sought the legalization in the United States of the abortion drug RU-486 (mifepristone). Also through ARM, Lader sued the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Catholic Church, because of its political lobbying on abortion.

Lader authored The Bold Brahmins: New England’s War Against Slavery (1961), Power on the Left: American Radical Movements since 1946 (1980), Politics, Power and the Church (1987), and A Private Matter, RU-486 and the Abortion Crisis (1995) .

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

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

New Addition to John Rock Papers

By , July 17, 2015
John Rock

John Rock

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that two new accessions (2009-045, 2009-053) to the John Rock papers have been processed and integrated into the collection. The additions include a new series, III. Correspondence 1932-1983, and several smaller additions to existing series, among them Rock Reproductive Study Center records and a subseries of subject files. Included in the Correspondence series are letters between Rock and the pharmaceutical company G. D. Searle about Enovid, the birth control pill.

Also found in the new accessions are papers from the work of Miriam Menkin, Rock’s laboratory assistant and a researcher at the Free Hospital for Women. These papers have been separated from the Rock records and processed for researcher access. The finding aid for the Menkin papers can be found here.

Rock (1890-1984; S.B., Harvard College, 1915; MD, Harvard Medical School, 1918) was a fertility specialist, gynecologist, and medical educator known for his role in the development of the birth control pill. A Center online exhibit, Conceiving the Pill, can be found here.

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

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

Staff Finds: L. Vernon Briggs, the Scrapbooker

While processing the papers of L. Vernon Briggs, Center staff located two records center cartons containing six scrapbooks.

L. (Lloyd) Vernon Briggs (1863-1941) was a medical reformer and psychiatrist active in Boston in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He worked closely during the 1890s with Walter Channing at the latter’s private sanatorium in Brookline, Massachusetts. Briggs was a prominent advocate for reform of the asylum system in Massachusetts, including revision of the procedures for committal and requiring formal training in psychiatry for asylum physicians and attendants. Briggs was called in as a psychiatric consultant on several prominent cases, including a post-mortem evaluation of the case of Leon Czolgosz, who shot President William McKinley in 1901 on the grounds of the Pan-American Exposition.

The six scrapbooks reflect the wide range of Briggs’ interests, including newspaper clippings on cases and relevant events such as arrests or trials, personal correspondence, and news items concerning his family. The scrapbook from which the pages below were scanned, for instance, documents the 1906 case of James A. Garland. Garland was a wealthy resident of New York City and Boston who became involved in a widely publicized legal case in 1900. He and his wife, Mary Louise Tudor, went through a dramatic divorce – and then a much quieter remarriage in 1904. Garland became terminally ill two years after the remarriage. At the end of his life, he was brought by special train from New York City to Massachusetts to secure the attendance of Briggs. Despite the well-publicized medical care of Briggs and other physicians, Garland died in September 1906.

The scrapbooks also contain records reflecting Briggs’ work to change state laws affecting the insane; his trips to Europe to visit with various medical authorities; and his more local interests, such as family history and local Massachusetts history.

Abraham Myerson Papers Open to Research

By , January 23, 2015

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the Abraham Myerson Papers and Family Research Records are open to research.

Abraham Myerson was born in Lithuania on 23 November 1881; the Myerson family moved to the United States in 1892 and Myerson attended Boston public schools after the family spent a brief time in Connecticut. He graduated from high school in Boston in 1898. After his high school graduation, Myerson went to work to earn money for medical school; he attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University for one year but was unable to continue due to lack of funds. He went back to work for a year, came back to Columbia for his second year, and transferred to Tufts Medical School in Boston to complete his degree. While at Tufts, Myerson worked with Morton Prince, one of the first generation of American psychiatric specialists. He graduated with his M.D. in 1908 and held a variety of positions over the course of his career, including appointments in neurology, neuropathology, pathology, and clinical psychiatry in both Boston and St. Louis.

He wrote and published widely, both in professional journals and lay publications, often aiming to bring scientific subjects to a wider audience. He supported the use of electro-shock therapy as a treatment and was involved in the early trials of Benzedrine. Over the course of his career, he published ten books, including The Inheritance of Mental Disease, Speaking of Man, The Foundations of Personality, and The Nervous Housewife. Myerson married Dorothy Marion Loman in 1913; the couple had three children, Paul, David, and Anne. In 1937, Myerson was diagnosed with a progressive form of arteriosclerotic cardiac disease which he documented in As the Heart Slows Down. He died on 3 September 1948 at age 67, survived by his wife and all three children.

The collection reflects Myerson’s career as a practicing neurologist and psychiatrist and includes material concerning his appearances as an expert witness in the Sacco-Vanzetti trial and the Millen-Faber trial; he was retained to perform a psychological evaluation of Nicola Sacco as well as several individuals in the Millen-Faber case. Also included are a small amount of family history materials; it is not clear who was responsible for collecting these records. Some of them — correspondence to his wife and children before his death — was clearly created by Myerson himself. This material includes obituaries of Myerson as well as condolence letters sent to his family; it also includes family reminiscences composed by Myerson’s brother and sister, Rose and Samuel. Records include correspondence, manuscript drafts, newspaper clippings, reprints, bound volumes, a single CD, and photographs.

Jonathan Beckwith Papers Processing is Underway, as part of Access to Activism Project

By , December 11, 2014
Lecture poster for Jonathan Beckwith's talk on "Genetics and Social Policy: the XYY and Sociobiology Controversies," 28 April 1976.

Lecture poster for Jonathan Beckwith’s talk on “Genetics and Social Policy: the XYY and Sociobiology Controversies,” 28 April 1976, H MS c370. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

In 1969, Jonathan Beckwith and fellow researchers, James Shapiro and Lawrence J. Eron, successfully isolated a gene from a bacterial chromosome.  After considering both the potential positive and negative social implications of his genetics research, he began a lifetime of social activism, advocating for civil rights and social responsibility in science and genetics.  The Center is pleased to report that the Jonathan Beckwith papers (1969-2009), a product of Beckwith’s professional activities, social activism, and genetics research, are currently being processed as a part of the Access to Activism project.

Beckwith (born 1935) is the American Cancer Society Research Professor at Harvard Medical School.  His research has focused primarily on bacterial genetics and microbiology, including disulfide bonds, membrane protein structure and function, gene expression, the lac operon, the mechanism of protein secretion, and cell division.  As a social activist, he has served as: a member of the National Institutes of Health’s and U.S. Department of Energy’s Working Group on Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of the Human Genome Project (ELSI); President of the Board of Directors for Science for the People; and a member of Science for the People’s study groups on genetic screening and sociobiology.  He has also received a number of awards and honors, including: the 1993 Genetics Society of America Medal; the 2005 Abbott Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Society for Microbiology; and the 2009 Selman Waksman Award in Microbiology from the National Academy of Sciences.  The papers, created through Beckwith’s professional, research, publishing, and social activism activities, include professional appointments and teaching records, writings and publications, public speaking records, professional association membership and committee records, research records, and collected publications.  They are expected to be open to research in 2015.

The Access to Activism project is funded by a Hidden Collections grant from the Harvard University Libraries.  In addition to the Jonathan Beckwith papers, the project will also open the collections of other physicians of social conscience: the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War records, 1957-1989 (inclusive), 1980-1987 (bulk); and the Sanford Gifford papers, 1956-1986 (inclusive).  For more information on the project, please contact Emily R. Novak Gustainis, Head, Collections Services.

Harvard Medical School Launches Submission and Archiving of Electronic Student Theses

By , October 28, 2014
ETD

Students logging into ETDs @ Harvard are met with a school specific submission tool. Each submission is estimated to take no more than ten minutes to complete.

The Center for the History of Medicine is excited to be a part of Harvard University’s launch of a new electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD) submission system: ETDs @ Harvard. Bringing together stakeholders from across the Longwood Schools, the Countway Library, and the Harvard Libraries Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC), the project has been over a year in planning and will allow students to submit and archive their scholarly work electronically. The project also aims to bring a new level of visibility and access to student work, through the submission of theses into the DASH repository.

From the OSC’s Open Access Week announcement on October 16th: “The Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication is pleased to use the occasion of Open Access Week to celebrate the adoption of Harvard’s new electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD) submission system: ETDs @ Harvard. The Harvard Medical School (HMS) was the first Harvard school to launch the system, in January 2014. It deposited 20 doctoral dissertations in DASH, Harvard’s open-access repository, and listed them in HOLLIS+, Harvard Library’s new catalog. Since the collection of HMS dissertations went live in DASH in July, these works have been downloaded over 400 times.

As Stephen Volante, HMS Honors Program Coordinator notes, “When I took over [this role] in January 2013, successful students earned an academic distinction and bound copies of their theses went to Countway. There was no evidence of interest in theses beyond each student’s small professional network. [Our program’s] ETDs @ Harvard implementation in 2014 resulted in a collection of 20 theses in DASH that has, in less than three months, generated over 800 previews and 400 downloads. We can now demonstrate to students that by earning Honors, they are not just collecting more recognition. They are making active, substantial contributions to their fields that other physicians and researchers will seek out, study, and value.” A second HMS program, Master of Medical Sciences in Global Health Delivery, is currently submitting student work through the tool.

This fall, six more schools will roll out their own instances of ETDs @ Harvard: the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School of Design, Graduate School of Education, Harvard Business School, Harvard Divinity School, and Harvard School of Public Health. Three more will follow suit shortly thereafter.

Getting to this point required the collaboration of these schools with one another, and with other stakeholders across campus, such as the Office of General Counsel, Office for Scholarly Communication, Office of Technology Development, Student Billing, Registrars, program administrators, librarians, archivists, and students. Thanks to cooperation from every quarter, Harvard now has a University-wide open-source ETD submission system with the efficiency of central support and the flexibility of school-level customization.

Submitting a dissertation now takes a student just 10 minutes. In the process, students supply some metadata about their work, some contact information for themselves, and a copy of the final text. At the same time, they have the opportunity to submit an ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) and sign Harvard’s license agreement, granting the University a non-exclusive license to preserve, reproduce, and display the work.

Most importantly, these dissertations become open access, enlarging the authors’ audience and increasing their impact.

Garth McCavana, Dean of Student Affairs for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) notes “GSAS students have been submitting their dissertations electronically since 2011 through a tool developed by ProQuest. We were initially cautious of moving our students to a new system, but the Office of Scholarly Communication has made the transition seamless.” He continued that “the new ETDs @ Harvard tool is extremely user-friendly and explains students’ options in a very clear manner. We think that ETDs @ Harvard will allow our students to weigh all the benefits of open access and allow them to promote their research widely.”

OSC Director Peter Suber welcomed the roll-out of ETDs @ Harvard. “Open access removes the cloak of invisibility from this very useful form of research literature. Opening up this work serves readers working on related topics, and serves authors seeking the widest possible audience. Making open access the default, subject to some exceptions and embargoes, is a modern realization of Harvard’s pre-digital policy to make dissertations available to the public, and not to grant degrees for contributions to knowledge that are kept secret.”

The OSC is delighted with the success of ETDs @ Harvard, and looks forward to its further spread across Harvard, helping to realize the vision of One Harvard.”

Abraham Myerson Papers Now Open to Research

0003267_refThe Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the Abraham Myerson Papers and Family Research Records are open to research.

Abraham Myerson was born in Lithuania on 23 November 1881; the Myerson family moved to the United States in 1892 and Myerson attended Boston public schools after the family spent a brief time in Connecticut. He graduated from high school in Boston in 1898.

After his high school graduation, Myerson went to work to earn money for medical school; he attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University for one year but was unable to continue due to lack of funds. He went back to work for a year, came back to Columbia for his second year, and transferred to Tufts Medical School in Boston to complete his degree. While at Tufts, Myerson worked with Morton Prince, one of the first generation of American psychiatric specialists. He graduated with his M.D. in 1908 and held a variety of positions over the course of his career, including appointments in neurology, neuropathology, pathology, and clinical psychiatry in both Boston and St. Louis.

He wrote and published widely, both in professional journals and lay publications, often aiming to bring neurologic and psychiatric subjects to a wider audience. He supported the use of electro-shock therapy as a treatment and was involved in the early trials of Benzedrine. Over the course of his career, he published ten books, including The Inheritance of Mental Disease, Speaking of Man, The Foundations of Personality, and The Nervous Housewife. Myerson married Dorothy Marion Loman in 1913; the couple had three children, Paul, David, and Anne. In 1937, Myerson was diagnosed with a progressive form of arteriosclerotic cardiac disease which he documented in As the Heart Slows Down. He died on 3 September 1948 at age 67, survived by his wife and children.

The collection reflects Myerson’s career as a practicing neurologist and psychiatrist and includes material concerning Myerson’s appearances as an expert witness in the Sacco-Vanzetti trial and the Millen-Faber trial; he was retained to perform a psychological evaluation of Nicola Sacco as well as several individuals in the Millen-Faben case. Also included are a small amount of family history materials; it is not clear who was responsible for collecting these records. Some of them — correspondence to his wife and children before his death — was clearly created by Myerson himself. This material includes obituaries of Myerson as well as condolence letters sent to his family; it also includes family reminiscences composed by Myerson’s brother and sister, Rose and Samuel. Records include correspondence, manuscript drafts, newspaper clippings, reprints, bound volumes, a single CD, and photographs.

Preserving Our Collections: the Richard P. Strong Papers

By , August 20, 2014
1924_Strong_on_amazon

Richard P. Strong with a microscope on the Amazon River, ca. 1924. Image courtesy of the Center for the History of Medicine, Countway Library.

Occasionally, the Center for the History of Medicine at Countway Library has an opportunity to address the preservation needs of older collections being stored in problematic housing. In the case of the Richard Pearson Strong Papers, 1911-2004 (inclusive), 1911-1945 (bulk), archivists recently took the opportunity to transfer 69 ft. of records from older, overstuffed, acidic manuscript boxes into spacious,  acid-free, archival quality records center cartons. These important preservation steps ensure continued access to the collection over time, and also gave archivists a unique opportunity to provide additional context within folder labels to benefit future researchers.

Richard Strong (1872-1948)  became the first professor of tropical medicine at Harvard in 1913, and between 1913 and 1934 made several expeditions to  South and Central America and Africa to investigate diseases and obtain material for his laboratory and teaching work. After retiring from Harvard in 1938, he volunteered to teach in the Army Medical School during the Second World War. During this period Strong was the foremost authority in the U.S. in the field of tropical medicine. Throughout his career he participated in many international commissions investigating disease control.

The Richard Pearson Strong Papers are a popular research tool at the Center, with material ranging from Harvard teaching and departmental records, to expedition records such as diaries, notes, supply and equipment lists, and manuscripts of lectures and reports. His correspondence includes exchanges with Harvard associates, scientists, U.S. and foreign public officials, former President Coolidge, missionaries, and organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation. Strong’s expeditions included visits to Peru (1913 and 1937), Brazil (1924), Liberia and the Belgian Congo (1926-1927 and 1934), Guatemala (1931-1932), and the Yucatan (1931). A 1934 film of the Harvard African Expedition, in which Strong investigates diseases and obtains material for his laboratory and teaching work, has been digitized and made available online through OnView here.

Until recently, Strong’s collection was being stored in older, overstuffed, acidic boxes, which over time leads to deterioration and discoloration. Folder tabs with crucial contextual information had lost their adhesive and were falling off of their respective folders. Unnecessary metal accoutrements, such as paper clips and staples, contributed additional damage to fragile records. Reference staff also noted that the contents within each box had, over time, fallen out of their original order — likely due to the fact that the older manuscript boxes were too small to accommodate them.

As part of crucial preservation efforts, Center staff took careful measures to rehouse materials, remove unnecessary paper clips and staples, and restore the original order of each box. Delicate fabrics, such as academic garments and banners, were folded with non-buffered tissue and rehoused in customized acid-free boxes. Staff also took the opportunity to add additional context (such as date ranges) to new folder labels, which will in turn provide better context to future researchers.

Such important preservation steps ensure both the protection of the Richard P. Strong Papers and the availability and utility of these records to Center researchers for years to come.

M. Judah Folkman Papers Open to Research

By , August 7, 2014

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the M. Judah Folkman papers, 1907-2012 (inclusive), 1950-2006 (bulk). Folkman (1933-2008) was the Julia Dyckman Andrus Professor of Pediatric Surgery and Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, as well as Surgeon-in-Chief (1967-1981), Director of the Surgical Research Laboratory (1981-2003), and Director of the Vascular Biology Program (2003-2008) at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Folkman’s research focused on angiogenesis, angiogenesis inhibitors, and antiangiogenesis therapy for the treatment of cancer, a method by which certain factors can be used to shut down abnormal blood vessel growth. Folkman’s laboratory developed angiostatin and endostatin, two antiangiogenic factors that were used in cancer clinical trials.

The papers are the product of Folkman’s publishing, research, and professional activities throughout the course of his career. The Folkman papers include research records from his heart block, pacemaker, silicone rubber, and angiogenesis research, his professional writings, teaching records, administrative records, lectures, personal correspondence, appointment books, and photographs.

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

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

Processing of the M. Judah Folkman Papers was made possible through the generous financial support of Paula Folkman.

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