Category: Initiatives

Processing of the Marie C. McCormick Papers

By , December 19, 2016
Marie C. McCormick.

Marie C. McCormick, 2000, M-AD06. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The Center is pleased to report that the Marie C. McCormick papers, 1970-2010, the products of McCormick’s professional, research, and publishing activities, are currently being processed as a part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project.  McCormick is the Sumner and Esther Feldberg Professor of Maternal and Child Health in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at 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 at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  Her research has focused primarily on epidemiology and health services, particularly in relation to infant mortality and the outcomes of very low birth weight and otherwise high-risk neonates.  Toward these ends, she has served as a senior investigator on both the federal Healthy Start Program and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Perinatal Regionalization Program.  She was also the Principal Investigator of Phase IV of the Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP), the largest longitudinal multi-site randomized trials of early childhood educational intervention for low birth weight infants.  Between 2000 and 2004, she served as Chair of the Institute of Medicine’s Immunization Safety Review Committee, for which she testified twice before the United States House of Representatives on the lack of evidence linking vaccines with autism. In 1996, she also testified before the United States Senate on the National Healthy Start Initiative.  She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including: the 2004 David Rall Medal of the National Academy of Medicine, for Exceptional Service; the 2006 Douglas K. Richardson Award of the American Pediatric Society, for Perinatal and Pediatric Healthcare Research; and the 2008 Henry Ingersoll Bowditch Award of the Massachusetts Medical Society, for Excellence in Public Health.

The papers, created through McCormick’s professional, research, and publishing activities, include research administrative records of Phases I-IV of the Infant Health and Development Program, research administrative records and data of several high risk pregnancy and very low birth weight studies, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health teaching and administrative records, writings and publications, and collected publications. They are expected to be open to research in 2017.

Processing of the collection is part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project, funded by a Hidden Collections grant administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). 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.

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Staff Finds: Teaching Charts from the HSPH Growth Study

By , May 25, 2016
Child Development Body Proportions Diagram, undated.

Child Development Body Proportions Diagram, undated. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

While processing the records of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development, processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine recently found a collection of teaching charts, many of which were likely developed with data from the HSPH Growth Study and other contemporary longitudinal growth studies.  There is no indication of whether the visuals were used for classes in the school’s Department of Maternal and Child Health (where the study was located), or to accompany lectures at professional conferences and symposia.  Charts are often longitudinal by age and cover a variety of topics, including: growth and development; puberty and development of the reproductive system; blood counts; blood pressure; hormone levels; nutritional intake; and skin and tissue breadth.  Growth and development charts make up the majority of the images, covering: body proportions from fetus through 25 years; height and weight gain patterns; height increments for early, moderate, and late age of maximum growth; median and average weight and height gains by age; skeletal age; and height and weight percentile charts. All are undated, but the majority were likely created after 1957, by which point all subjects would have reached 18 years of age.  A selection of these visuals may be found below.

The Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development were founded in 1930 by the Department of Maternal and Child Health, under the direction of Harold Coe Stuart (1891-1976).  You can find out more about the collection here.  The records are expected to be open to research in summer 2016.  Processing of the collection is part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project, funded by a Hidden Collections grant administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). 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.

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Staff Finds: Growth and Development Charts

By , March 31, 2016
Infant girls anthropometric growth chart, created with data from the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development.

Infant girls anthropometric growth chart, created with data from the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine recently found a variety of child growth and development charts while processing the records of the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development (also known as the Growth Study).  Many were created using data from the Harvard Growth Study, but the collection also contains charts that were likely developed by other organizations, collected as reference in the course of research.

The Growth Study was founded in 1930 by Harold Coe Stuart in the Harvard School of Public Health Department of Maternal and Child Health, and included an initial study (birth through maturity) and multiple follow-up studies through the late 1980s.  Over 300 subjects were enrolled between 1930 and 1939, and of those 134 were followed through to maturity (18 years).  The study monitored a number of aspects of health and development; however, a major focus of the original study was the tracking of physical growth and development through anthropometric measurements, x-rays, and progressive somatotype photographs.  This data was then used to make standardized growth charts for distribution to physicians and researchers.  Subjects were primarily of North European ancestry and from the Boston area; while this allowed for a controlled study, it may have also limited the charts’ applicability to a wider population.

Stuart’s original male and female curves were distributed by Mead Johnson International, and charted weight, length, and head circumference for infants, and height and weight for children through age 12.  These charts were later translated into French for distribution in Canada, and potentially into other languages.  A letter by William M. Schmidt references a later percentile chart that was developed in the 1960s, covering birth through 18 years, although examples have not yet been found in the collection.  According to an article by de Onis and Yip, Stuart’s charts later became an international standard of reference when in 1966, the World Health Organization widely distributed a version with combined male and female data.

An earlier chart can be found in the collection that was developed in collaboration with the University of Iowa, in which Harvard data is displayed for years 0 through 5, and Iowa data is displayed for years 5 through 18.  The collection also contains: charts developed by the University of Iowa (covering years 4 through 18); Danish height and weight charts created through an unidentified study; and physical and social development charts (covering birth to 56 weeks), published by Ross Developmental Aids using data from an unidentified study.

Examples of the mentioned charts and related correspondence may be found below.

The records of the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development are expected to be open to research in summer 2016.  Processing of the collection is part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project, funded by a Hidden Collections grant administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).  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.

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Staff Finds: Family Physical Characteristics Trees

By , January 22, 2016
Family Physical Characteristics Three-Generation Tree, created for a subject during the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development. Subject name and number have been redacted.

Family Physical Characteristics Three-Generation Tree, created for a subject during the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development. Subject name and number have been redacted. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

While processing the records of the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development (also known as the Growth Study), Center processing staff recently found family trees depicting body shapes and sizes in subjects’ families, covering two to three generations.  These trees show individuals’ height, girth, and sex, while some also show whether men were broad-chested or broad-bellied.  The trees were drawn on graph paper in order to standardize the shapes and sizes of the symbols used to represent individuals.  A key to the symbols used may be found below.  It is unclear how this data was gathered (whether actual measurements were taken of the subjects’ parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, or whether the information was relayed to the investigator by the subject or his parents).

Anthropometric measurements (measurements of various dimensions of the body) were a major part of the original and follow-up studies.  Measurements were taken of the length and circumference of various body parts, tissue thicknesses, and subjects’ weights and heights, to study how subjects’ bodies developed and changed during childhood and throughout the course of their lives.  X-rays were also used to study osseous development, and progressive photographs were taken to study subjects’ posture and visual appearance.  These family trees appear to be one way in which this data was analyzed, in the context of how family histories relate to individual development.

Family Physical Characteristics Key, created during the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development.

Family Physical Characteristics Key, created during the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

This data was also studied in relation to family illness histories.  Transparent overlays were made to layer illness data over some subjects’ trees, perhaps to visualize the impact of illness on inherited body type, or to trace the inheritance of various conditions in relation to body shape and size.

These trees are just one of many types of data and analysis that can be found in the Growth Study records.  The records are expected to be open to research in summer 2016.  Processing of the collection is part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project, funded by a Hidden Collections grant administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).  For more information on the project, please contact the project’s principal investigator, Emily R. Novak Gustainis, Head, Collections Services.

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Staff Finds: Child Nutrition Brochures and Pamphlets

By , December 11, 2015
Cover of "Feeding Little Folks" booklet, 1965, published by the National Dairy Council.

Cover of “Feeding Little Folks” booklet, 1965, published by the National Dairy Council. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

While processing the records of the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development, processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine have been finding a large number of brochures and pamphlets related to child health and nutrition that were published in the 1950s and 1960s. While not published by the study, they were collected and possibly distributed during the course of the study. The bulk of the pamphlets and brochures were published by the National Dairy Council, but the collection also includes some by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the American Medical Association, and the Cereal Institute.  They all generally agree on diet recommendations (1-2 servings of meat, frequent servings of eggs, 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables, and 3-4 servings of whole or enriched grains).  All also agree that milk is an important source of calcium, protein, and vitamins, recommending between 3 and 6 cups daily.  Unsurprisingly, the National Dairy Council resources recommend that the daily allowance should be supplemented with servings of cheese, butter, and ice cream, and that parents should always choose breads made with milk.  One booklet also suggests creative ways of enticing a child to drink more milk, such as serving it warm, allowing the child to pour his own glass, and providing multicolored straws.

Some resources also provide additional lifestyle recommendations.  Two National Dairy Council pamphlets recommend outdoor playtime for exercise, confidence, and sunshine.  One 1964 American Medical Association brochure warns boys against misinformed athlete diets (such as eating only meat and baked potatoes), and warns girls against skipping meals, fad diets to lose weight, and snacking (to avoid gaining too much weight).

The Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development began in 1930 and the original study followed children from birth through to maturity (about 18 years).  Throughout the course of the study researchers collected detailed records of subjects’ dietary patterns, including: forms and surveys concerning the average daily intakes of various foods; nutrition interview notes and summaries; caloric and nutrient intake calculations; and analyzed data charts.  The brochures and pamphlets were perhaps collected as reference sources during the analysis of the collected data.

The collection is expected to be open to research in summer 2016.  Processing of the collection is part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project, funded by a Hidden Collections Grant administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).  For more information on the project, please contact the project’s principal investigator, Emily R. Novak Gustainis, Head, Collections Services.

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Project Archivist Presents at New England Regional Meeting of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance

By , October 8, 2015
3rd Annual New England Regional Meeting of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance, held at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, 25 September 2015.

3rd Annual New England Regional Meeting of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance.

On Friday, September 25, Project Archivist Amber LaFountain attended the 3rd Annual New England Regional Meeting of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance, held at the Dartmouth campus of the University of Massachusetts.  The meeting allowed attendees to highlight their institutions’ current digital stewardship work, and provided opportunities for collaborative learning and brainstorming.

The first half of the program was dedicated to short presentations, during which archivists, librarians, and information professionals representing a number of New England institutions shared their current digital initiatives.  Amber presented to the group on the Center’s Bridging the Research Data Divide project, a CLIR-funded collaboration with the University of Alberta Libraries that began in June 2015.  She discussed the CLIR partners’ plans for exposing descriptive metadata about the project’s research data collections through the Dataverse, and for developing best practices for describing research data collections to enable long-term access, use, and repurposing of the data.

Later in the program, attendees broke into informal unconference groups to discuss various digital stewardship topics and concerns.  Amber was able to collaborate with other local archivists and librarians to brainstorm ideas for data wrangling (preparing digital assets for long-term preservation and use) and for creating preservation metadata for digital collections.  Other unconference topics included: issues with saving digital assets in proprietary software and databases; implementing practical preservation practices; file integrity verification; and repositories for access versus preservation.

The meeting was a fantastic learning opportunity, and we’re excited to follow the progress of our local colleagues’ projects over the coming year.

The Bridging the Research Data Divide project is funded by a Hidden Collections Grant administered by the Council on Library Resources (CLIR). For more information on the project, please contact the project’s principal investigator, Emily R. Novak Gustainis, Head, Collections Services.

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Processing of the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development Records

By , September 9, 2015
Faculty members of the Harvard School of Public Health Department of Maternal and Child Health, reading a Growth Study Case History. Seated: Bertha S. Burke, Harold C. Stuart, and Elizabeth P. Rice. Standing: Samuel W. Dooley and Samuel B. Kirkwood, circa 1949.

Faculty members of the Harvard School of Public Health Department of Maternal and Child Health, reading a Growth Study Case History. Seated: Bertha S. Burke, Harold C. Stuart (the studies’ first Pricipal Investigator), and Elizabeth P. Rice. Standing: Samuel W. Dooley and Samuel B. Kirkwood, circa 1949, H MS c450. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to report that Center staff are currently processing the Records of the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development, as part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project. The longitudinal studies were one of several initiatives founded in the 1930s, in response to a lack of knowledge of child health and development. In July 1930, President Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) called the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection, to study child health as it currently stood, and to recommend best practices for the future of child healthcare. The conference, in part a response to the health impacts of the Great Depression, was convened in November 1930, and was attended by 3,000 medical, educational, and social professionals. Shortly after the conference, multiple longitudinal studies were founded across the country, including at the Harvard School of Public Health, the Fels Research Institute (Yellow Springs, Ohio), the University of Colorado Child Research Council (Denver), and the University of California Institute of Child Welfare (Oakland). There was a recognized lack of knowledge about child growth and development, and multiple longitudinal studies were founded across the country after the conference, including at the Harvard School of Public Health.

The Harvard School of Public Health’s Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development was an initiative of the school’s Department of Maternal and Child Health, and was led by Harold Coe Stuart (1891-1976). Later principal investigators were Isabelle Valadian (born 1920) and Jane Gardner (born 1939). Of the 309 subjects enrolled between 1930 and 1939, 228 were followed through age 6 (preschool series), and 134 subjects were followed from the prenatal period through to 18 years (maturity series).  Investigators tracked numerous aspects of subjects’ health and development, including growth, diet, illness, dental and ocular health, posture, psychological development, intelligence, and social functioning. Among other results, the data collected in this and other contemporary longitudinal studies were used to create the growth charts used today by pediatricians. After the original study was completed, subjects in the maturity series returned periodically over the next roughly 40 years for various follow-up studies, including: a 30-year follow-up on adult health related to child health; a 40-year follow-up related to blood pressure; a 50-year follow-up on gynecological health; and a 50-year follow-up related to memory of food intake in the distant past.

The records contain over 198 cubic feet of research data, reports, publications, and administrative records generated and compiled over the course of the original and follow-up studies.  Raw research data includes: anthropometric measurements; completed surveys and forms; tables; subject interviews; narrative health, social, and psychological histories; nude full-body subject photographs and negatives; and various medical test reports (electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, and blood and urine tests). The collection also contains summarized research data, coded research data (tables, computer punch cards and paper tape, and magnetic computer tapes), and analyzed research data (charts, graphs, percentile calculations, and statistical calculations). Administrative records include subject lists and examination schedules, protocols, methodologies, codebooks, blank forms and charts used in data collection and analysis, reports, grant funding records, and administrative correspondence.

The project is a collaboration with the University of Alberta Libraries, focusing on enhancing long-term access and preservation of historical and contemporary research data sets related to maternal, infant, and child health.  As a part of the project, Center staff will also open two other research data collections: the records of the multisite Infant Health and Development Program (1985-2014) led by Marie McCormick; and records of the Social Transition and Risk for Disordered Eating in Fiji study (2004-2010) led by Ann E. Becker. The project is funded by a Hidden Collections Grant administered by the Council on Library Resources (CLIR). For more information regarding the collection or the project, please contact Emily R. Novak Gustainis, Head, Collections Services.

 

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From the MHL: Medical Heritage Library Awarded NEH Grant for Digitization of State Medical Society Journals, 1900 – 2000

Front page from 1933 issue of the "Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia."

Front page from 1933 issue of the “Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia.”

The Medical Heritage Library (MHL), a digital resource on the history of medicine and health developed by an international consortium of cultural heritage repositories, has received funding in the amount of $275,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities for its proposal “Medicine at Ground Level: State Medical Societies, State Medical Journals, and the Development of American Medicine and Society.“ Additional funding has been provided by the Harvard Library.

The project, led by the Countway Library’s Center for the History of Medicine, will create a substantial digital collection of American state medical society journals, digitizing 117 titles from 46 states, from 1900 to 2000, comprising 2,500,369 pages in 3,579 volumes. State medical society journal publishers agreed to provide free and open access to journal content currently under copyright. Once digitized, journals will join the more than 75,000 monographs, serials, pamphlets, and films now freely available in the MHL collection in the Internet Archive.  State medical society journals will provide additional context for the rare and historical American medical periodicals digitized during the recently completed NEH project, Expanding the Medical Heritage Library: Preserving and Providing Online Access to Historical Medical Periodicals. Full text search is available through the MHL website. MHL holdings can also be accessed through the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA; dp.la) and the Wellcome Library’s UK-MHL.

Five preeminent medical libraries, including three founding members of the MHL, are collaborating on this project: The College of Physicians of Philadelphia; the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard University; the Center for the History of Medicine and Public Health at The New York Academy of Medicine; the Health Sciences and Human Services Library, University of Maryland, the Founding Campus (UMB); and the Library and Center for Knowledge Management at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF).

State medical society journals document the transformation of American medicine in the twentieth century at both the local and national level. The journals have served as sites not only for scientific articles, but for medical talks (and, often, accounts of discussions following the talks), local news regarding sites of medical care and the medical profession, advertisements, and unexpurgated musings on medicine and society throughout the 20th century. When digitized and searchable as a single, comprehensive body of material, this collection will be a known universe, able to support a limitless array of historical queries, including those framed geographically and/or temporally, offering new ways to examine and depict the evolution of medicine and the relationship between medicine and society.

Project supporter and former president of the American Association for the History of Medicine, Professor of History Nancy J. Tomes, Stony Brook University, notes, “the value of this collection lies precisely in the insights state journals provide on issues of great contemporary interest. They shed light on questions at the heart of today’s policy debates: why do physicians treat specific diseases so differently in different parts of the country? Why is it such a challenge to develop and implement professional policies at the national level? How do state level developments in health insurance influence federal policy and vice versa? How do factors such as race, class, gender, and ethnicity affect therapeutic decision making? How have methods of promoting new therapies and technologies changed over time? These are issues of interest not only to historians but to political scientists, sociologists, and economists.

Not only will the state journals be of great use to researchers, but they also will be a great boon to teachers. I can easily imagine using the collection to engage medical students, residents, and practicing physicians in the conduct of historical research.”

Digitization will begin in August 2015; the project will be completed in April 2017.

Front page of 1898 issue of the "Texas Medical Journal."

Front page of 1898 issue of the “Texas Medical Journal.”

About the Medical Heritage Library:

The MHL (www.medicalheritage.org) is a content-centered digital community supporting research, education, and dialog that enables the history of medicine to contribute to a deeper understanding of human health and society. It serves as the point of access to a valuable body of quality curated digital materials and to the broader digital and nondigital holdings of its members. It was established in 2010 with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to digitize 30,000 medical rare books. For more about the Medical Heritage Library, its holdings, projects, advisors, and collaborators, and how you can participate, see http://www.medicalheritage.org/.

About the NEH/Digital Humanities Program:

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. For more on the NEH Office of Digital Humanities visit http://www.neh.gov/odh/.

Contributed by Kathryn Hammond-Baker. Kathryn is Deputy Director, Center for the History of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Countway Library of Medicine, and chair of the MHL’s Governance Committee. 

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Tour an “ultramodern” hospital in the year 1900.

By , April 6, 2015

QuarterCwithFHW_picOnly_009A Quarter of a Century with the Free Hospital for Women is a small picture book published in 1900, not long after the hospital had finished construction of its grand, new facility by a pond in Brookline, Massachusetts. The volume, held in the rare books collection at Harvard Medical School, Center for the History of Medicine, was recently digitized by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Archives and made available online via the Medical Heritage Library https://archive.org/details/aQuarterCwithTheFHW.  It will be of special interest to students of the history of institutional architecture, and to those interested in the history of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The Free Hospital for Women is one of BWH’s organizational “grandmothers.”

QuarterCwithFHW_picOnly_002If you’ve ever wondered what a state-of-the-art hospital looked like a hundred plus years ago, flip through the photographs in this little book. See elegant arches and woodwork, gas lights, fireplaces, a grandfather clock, and Tiffany windows. There is a patient sitting room with a piano, a dining room with linen tablecloth and flowers, patient ward beds with gauzy white curtains, and a sitting porch with a view of Riverdale Park. All together the hospital seems more like a resort found in the Berkshires than anything resembling hospitals as we have come to know them in the 21st century.

QuarterCwithFHW_picOnly_011Amazingly, this beautiful facility was designed exclusively for poor women. From 1875 to 1919 those without means were taken care of by the FHW at no charge. By 1919 the hospital had become so successful at its core mission of treating the diseases of women that patients of all economic levels were eager to be admitted there and the by-laws were amended to allow some who could pay.

In 1966 the Free Hospital for Women and the Boston Lying-in, a local maternity hospital, merged to form the Boston Hospital for Women. In 1975, the Boston Hospital for Women merged with the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and the Robert B. Brigham Hospital. By 1980, all three hospitals had centralized operations and moved to one location in the Longwood area of Boston. The original FHW building was sold to a luxury condominium development company, but the enduring medical legacy of the Free Hospital for Women was reflected in the new name chosen for the combined institutions, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

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