Category: New Acquisitions and Collection Updates

Finding aid now available for the Richard P. Strong papers

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Richard Pearson Strong Papers, 1911-2004 (inclusive), 1911-1945 (bulk) to research

Strong was born in Virginia in 1872. He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School in 1893 and his M.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1897; he also had his first residency at Johns Hopkins. He spent two years in the American Army Medical Service during the Spanish-American war. After the war, Strong helped organize and then headed the Biological Laboratory in the Philippines directed by Paul C. Freer. In 1906, Strong was involved in the infection of twenty-three prisoners at Bilibid Prison with the bubonic plague virus. Thirteen of the men died; the rest recovered. After some investigation, the infections were blamed on a laboratory mix-up and Strong unofficially exonerated. Strong was named professor of tropical medicine at the University of the Philippines in 1907. He left the Philippines appointment in 1913 upon his appointment to a professorship in tropical medicine at Harvard Medical School; he was named chair of the newly formed Department of Tropical Medicine in the same month and president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in the same year.

Strong was an expert in tropical medicine and worked in the United States, the Philippines, South America, and Africa. The papers include correspondence files and related material concerning the Harvard Department of Tropical Medicine from its earliest years until Strong’s retirement, as well as records related to Strong’s: teaching activities at Harvard and at the Army Medical School; scientific expeditions; World War I work as head of the Red Cross commission to combat the typhus epidemic in Serbia; involvement in social clubs, international congresses, and professional societies such as the American Academy and Foundation of Tropical Medicine; advisory work for the National Research Council Committee on Medical Problems of Animal Parasitology; and service on the Massachusetts Public Health Council. The papers also contain: records pertaining to Strong’s research and writing; some family correspondence; some personal financial papers; correspondence, memoranda, and photographs relating to Strong’s teaching for the Army during World War II; a book and series of DVDs about the Harvard African Expedition in 1934; and a diary and letters belonging to Strong’s wife, Grace Nichols.

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Processing of the Zerka T. Moreno Papers

By , July 12, 2017

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

Zerka Toeman Moreno was born on June 13, 1917, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She attended secondary school in the Netherlands before moving to London, England, in 1932 where she attended technical school. She planned to become an artist or fashion designer, with specific interest in designing scenery and costumes for stage productions. Moreno relocated to the United States in 1939, shortly after the beginning of World War II. Her sister suffered from mental illness, and in 1941, Moreno arranged for her to move to Beacon, New York, for treatment with J.L. Moreno at the Beacon Hill Sanatorium. That same year, following her sister’s treatment Zerka Moreno became J.L. Moreno’s student, working as his private secretary in Beacon to earn the scholarship he offered her. When he opened the Sociometric Institute in New York City, she became his research assistant and relocated to New York City; this later became the Moreno Institute. In 1947, the two founded the journal Sociatry, which later became known as Group Psychotherapy, which published research regarding the social sciences of sociatry, psychodrama, group psychotherapy, and sociometry. During the 1950s, both Zerka and J.L. Moreno served as adjunct professors at New York University, teaching courses about psychodrama and sociometry. She was the cofounder of the International Association for Group Psychotherapy and the American Society for Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, and spent much of her career traveling for psychotherapy and psychodrama workshops.

After J.L. Moreno’s death in 1974, Zerka T. Moreno continued to work as a psychotherapist, studying psychodrama and exploring new questions regarding surplus reality. With Merlyn S. Pitzele (1911-1995), she continued to attend patients, offer teaching sessions in Beacon and New York City, and led workshops and seminars in countless American and international locations, including Japan, Korea, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Sweden, and Finland, among others. In 1996, she relocated to Charlottesville, Virginia, closing the Moreno Institute in Beacon, and moved into a nursing home in 2013 in Rockville, Maryland after breaking a hip. She continued to see patients and correspond with students from her bed until shortly before her death.

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

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

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

 

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Staff Finds: “Keeping Osteoporosis off Your Back!” and “Fruit and Vegetable Blackjack”: Planet Health Workshops and Their Materials

By , May 16, 2017
The correct answer and decoy pieces for Inactivity: Beat Your Neighbor.” According to these materials, the average sixth or seventh grader daily spends 8.9 hours sleeping, 6.5 hours sitting outside of class, 5 hours sitting in class, 2.3 hours standing, and 1.4 hours being active.

The correct answer and decoy pieces for Inactivity: Beat Your Neighbor.” According to these materials, the average sixth or seventh grader daily spends 8.9 hours sleeping, 6.5 hours sitting outside of class, 5 hours sitting in class, 2.3 hours standing, and 1.4 hours being active.

In the mid-1990s, the Harvard Prevention Research Center (HPRC) conducted workshops at schools in the Boston metropolitan area as part of its implementation of a randomized control trial of Planet Health, a middle-school-based interdisciplinary wellness curriculum. One series of workshops provided training to introduce teachers to Planet Health, but another series was specifically aimed at promoting wellness for teachers and staff, and included a workshop entitled “Keeping Osteoporosis off Your Back!” Center staff found records of these workshops, as well as game pieces used in workshop activities, while processing the records of the HPRC.

The wellness workshops for teachers and staff were offered as part of the Planet Health curriculum in 1997. “Fitness After 25” discussed the physiological and psychological changes that take place in the body after a person turns 25. A four-week-long course on stress management investigated ways stress can be used advantageously and also taught stress-reduction techniques and exercises. “Keeping Osteoporosis off Your Back” offered instruction on how to build and maintain stronger bones for the participants as well as their families and students. Participants received professional development points for attending each workshop. In addition to these workshops, the program organized a walking group that met once a week for seven weeks at each of the participating schools.

The workshops that teachers attended to learn about that year’s Planet Health curriculum and its thematic units included many different activities, which may also have been used in the classroom with students. Staff found pieces for a game called “Inactivity: Beat Your Neighbor,” cards for a concentration game called “Concentrate on Fat Facts,“ cards for a game called “Fruit and Vegetable Blackjack,” as well as a variety of food models used for games about nutrition.

In “Inactivity: Beat Your Neighbor,” teams received a set of puzzle pieces that listed different amounts of time the average sixth or seventh grader spent sleeping, sitting in class, sitting outside of class, standing, and being active daily. Teams were instructed to choose the pieces that added up to a pie chart with the correct amounts of time. In “Concentrate on Fat Facts,” teams played concentration with a twist: matching a question card with the correct answer card.  In “Fruit and Vegetable Blackjack,” teams answered questions about fruits, vegetables, and general nutrition for points, trying to get as close to 21 points as possible.

Apple pie and applesauce food models. According to the models, apple pie has 327mg of sodium; applesauce has 4mg.

Apple pie and applesauce food models. According to the models, apple pie has 327mg of sodium; applesauce has 4mg.

The food models were used for several different games about nutrition. In one game, players chose the food with the higher sodium content from a series of pairs: ground beef and a hot dog; apple pie and applesauce; a tortilla and tortilla chips. In another game using the hot dog, peanut butter, ground beef, fish sticks, roast beef, halibut, and navy beans food models, players arranged the models in order of highest to lowest fat content. In a third game, players matched a variety of food models (with their nutrition information covered) to their corresponding nutritional value cards (with the food names covered).

The Planet Health curriculum was first developed in 1995 and continues today to give middle school students the knowledge and tools to make good decisions about their nutrition and physical fitness. The HPRC, now called The Harvard Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Harvard School of Public Health, was founded in 1998 in Boston, Massachusetts to work with local, community, and governmental organizations to research, develop, implement, and refine school- and community-based youth intervention programs to encourage better health habits among youth. Its programs particularly focus on improving nutrition and exercise habits in order to lower the risk of obesity and chronic disease in children and youth.

The HPRC collection is expected to be open to research in the spring of 2017. For information regarding access to this collection, please contact Public Services staff. 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: Planet Health Curriculum Materials

By , May 10, 2017
Planet Health Power Down button, from the Harvard Prevention Research Center’s Planet Health Curriculum. P-DT08.01, Series 00598.

Planet Health Power Down button, from the Harvard Prevention Planet Health Power Down button, from the Harvard Prevention Research Center’s Planet Health Curriculum. P-DT08.01, Series 00598. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

While processing the records of The Harvard Prevention Research Center (HPRC), Center staff found a variety of educational materials produced for the Planet Health curriculum in the mid-1990s. The project began in 1995 and today continues to produce curriculum for middle school teachers and physical education teachers to teach healthy decision-making regarding nutrition, exercise, and leisure activities, while also supporting learning in traditional subject areas.

The interactive worksheets and handouts found include a FitCheck score sheet and a Fitness Folder. The FitCheck score sheet first asked students to calculate their “Fit Score” and “Sit Score” by adding up how much time they spent doing physical activities like sports, chores, or walking to school and how much time they spent sitting down watching TV and playing video games.  Then, students set a goal to be more active or to stay active and wrote how they would achieve it. Fitness Folders contained multiple FitCheck sheets, pages to write year-long goals, and examples of goals and activities to help achieve them.

Center staff also found a button and curriculum materials that were produced for the program’s Power Down initiative. Students who participated in the Power Down program pledged to watch less than two hours of TV per day (including watching movies or playing video games) for one week, and then kept track of how well they adhered to their pledge. In addition to worksheets for tracking TV consumption, items found include an Alternative Activities sheet that provided a list of ideas for things to do instead of watching TV. The majority of these ideas were compiled by a group of seventh graders and include activities such as bowling, four-square, listening to music, jujitsu, walking the dog, and yoga. However, the list includes some unexpected ideas, such as having a party, having a pillow fight, playing Mouse Trap, redecorating, shoveling snow, visiting a farm, and yodeling.

The HPRC, now called The Harvard Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Harvard School of Public Health, was founded in 1998 in Boston, Massachusetts to work with local, community, and governmental organizations to research, develop, implement, and refine school- and community-based youth intervention programs to encourage better health habits among youth. Its programs particularly focus on improving nutrition and exercise habits, in order to lower the risk of obesity and chronic disease in children and youth.

The collection is expected to be open to research in the spring of 2017. For information regarding access to this collection, please contact Public Services staff. 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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Processing of the Harvard Prevention Research Center Records

By , March 29, 2017
Fitness Folder, from the Harvard Prevention Research Center's Planet Health Curriculum.

Fitness Folder, from the Harvard Prevention Research Center’s Planet Health Curriculum. P-DT08.01, Series 00598. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The Center is pleased to announce that the records of the Harvard Prevention Research Center (HPRC), 1992-2003, are currently being processed as part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project. The Harvard Prevention Research Center at the Harvard School of Public Health (as of 2014, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), was founded in 1998. The Center works with local, community, and government organizations to research, develop, implement, and refine school- and community-based youth intervention programs to encourage better health habits among youth. Programs particularly focus on improving nutrition and exercise habits, in order to lower the risk of obesity and chronic disease in children and youth. As of 2016, the Center is nested under the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Steven L. Gortmaker (born 1949) serves as Principal Investigator and Director, and Angie Cradock is the Deputy Director.

The collection is a product of two research projects and educational interventions developed and implemented by the Harvard Prevention Research Center under the direction of Steven Gortmaker: Planet Health (1995-), funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a university gift; and the Play Across Boston project (1999-2001), funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Planet Health is a middle-school-based wellness curriculum developed for use by teachers and physical education instructors to teach healthy decision-making regarding nutrition, exercise, and leisure activities, while also supporting learning in traditional subject areas. Planet Health records, dated 1992-1997, were developed during the randomized control trial conducted to produce the curriculum, and include: student activity and diet worksheets; teacher and student focus group transcripts and recordings; wellness workshop records; student-made activity graphs; analyzed data; and research administrative records. Play Across Boston was a collaborative initiative with Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, to survey and evaluate the availability of after-school fitness activity programs for Boston-area youth, and to determine how both access to these resources and individual family characteristics influence youth physical activity. The project surveyed youth participation in 237 programs in the greater Boston area. Play Across Boston records are dated 2000-2003, and consist of: student surveys regarding participation in organized physical activity outside of school hours; and fitness program provider surveys concerning details of program offerings and student participation during the school year and summer vacation months.

The collection is 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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Processing of the Steven L. Gortmaker Papers

By , March 3, 2017
Steven L. Gortmaker.

Steven L. Gortmaker, M-AD06. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Steven Lawrence Gortmaker (born 1949), is Professor of the Practice of Health Sociology in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, and Director and Principal Investigator of the school’s Harvard Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity. His research has primarily focused on the health and mortality risks affecting children and adolescents, especially among low-income and minority groups, and interventions aimed at mitigating those risks. Toward these ends, he served as Principal Investigator for numerous research initiatives at the Harvard Prevention Research Center, including: Planet Health (1995-2007); the Out of School Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative (OSNAP) (2009-2015); and Play Across Boston (1999-2009). He was also Co-Director of the Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost-Effectiveness Study (CHOICES), and Senior Advisor to the Healthy Eating Research Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He was the 1997 recipient of the 1997 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. The Center is pleased to announce that Gortmaker’s papers, dated 1959-1997, are currently being processed.

The records are the product of Gortmaker’s personal and professional activities during his service at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (previously Harvard School of Public Health), and include: research and administrative records for the Rural Infant Care Program and Child Health Studies (1975-1996), the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1963-1985), and the Partnership for Organ Donation (1992-1997); administrative records for the Harvard School of Public Health departments of Behavioral Sciences and Health and Social Behavior; teaching records for courses in the Department of Health and Social Behavior related to statistics, sexuality, and HIV/AIDS; and collected publications. The records are expected to be open to research in 2017.

The records of the Harvard Prevention Research Center are also currently being processed at the Center.

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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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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Recent Additions to the Warren Anatomical Museum

By , November 17, 2016

2016 has been a dynamic year for building the holdings of the Warren Anatomical Museum collection. New acquisitions came in representing the legacy and contributions of multiple Harvard health science institutions, including 20th-century narratives that were not well documented by the museum’s current collections. Multiple spirometers from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health were added to the collection. A Garceau Junior electroencephalograph, a device with technical origins at Harvard Medical School, was given to the Warren. The museum acquired a set of medical instruments formerly belonging to HMS graduate Ralph Clinton Larrabee, whose personal papers are in the Center for the History of Medicine and the Harvard University Archives. Two sampling pumps from the Six Cities Study were given to the museum. Among these wonderful additions, three new accessions to the Warren Anatomical Museum are further detailed below.

Wilgus Daguerreotype of Phineas Gage, 1850-1860. Warren Anatomical Museum in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Wilgus Daguerreotype of Phineas Gage, 1850-1860. Warren Anatomical Museum in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The skull, life cast and tamping iron of Phineas Gage are the items most associated with the current and historical Warren Anatomical Museum. Many of the visitors to the Warren Museum Exhibition Gallery in the Countway Library come to visit Phineas and the majority of the educational programs conducted in the Gallery revolve around the ever-evolving Gage narrative. Thanks to the generosity of Jack and Beverly Wilgus, the sixth plate cased daguerreotype of Phineas Gage (the Wilgus daguerreotype) has been added to the museum for the future benefit of scholars and public. The Wilguses identified the image as Phineas Gage in 2009 and their discovery led to articles in the Smithsonian Magazine and The Boston Globe. The Wilguses maintain a website on their journey with the Gage daguerreotype called “Finding Phineas.” Their kind gift has helped humanize the much-studied Gage as prior illustrations focused on his skull and life cast.

The museum was also lucky enough to purchase a Sanborn Company Viso-Cardiette that was given to Nobel Laureate Albert Schweitzer by Harvard cardiologist Paul Dudley White and used in cardiac research at Schweitzer’s hospital in

Sanborn Company Viso-Cardiette, 1960. Warren Anatomical Museum in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Sanborn Company Viso-Cardiette, 1960. Warren Anatomical Museum in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Gabon in 1960. The device was utilized in a scientific study by David Miller and Steven Spencer entitled “Survey of cardiovascular disease among Africans in the vicinity of the Albert Schweitzer hospital in 1960,” published in The American Journal of Cardiology in 1962. It struggled to perform in the climate around the hospital and had to be modified repeatedly, much of which is detailed in the Paul Dudley White papers at the Center for the History of Medicine. The research and Viso-Cardiette are also discussed in Oglesby Paul’s biography of White, Take Heart. The Life and Prescription for Living of Paul Dudley White.  As an artifact, the Viso-Cardiette touches on multiple historical narratives such as scientific interventions from the West into Africa and the collaborations between high-profile physicians and hospitals.

Pressure gauge from hyperbaric chamber, 1928. Warren Anatomical Museum in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Pressure gauge from hyperbaric chamber, 1928. Warren Anatomical Museum in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The museum was also excited to receive one of the few known items to survive from the Harvard School of Public Health’s scientific hyperbaric chamber from the School’s tenure at 55 Shattuck Street in Boston. The Warren was generously given a pressure gauge that was preserved by several scientists after the chamber was decommissioned and dismantled from what is now part of Boston Children’s Hospital. The 31-foot long chamber was designed and installed by the School’s Department of Physiology and Industrial Hygiene in 1928 in order to study the physiological effects of various pressures. Its design specifics are discussed in a 1932 paper in the Journal of Industrial Hygiene entitled “A pressure chamber for studying the physiological effects of pressures varying from six to sixty pounds per square inch absolute.” When Children’s Hospital leased the site from the School of Public Health, they adapted the chamber for therapeutic use, eventually leading to the 1965 installation of a new hyperbaric chamber at the site specifically designed for the hospital’s clinical needs. The gauge serves as an excellent tangible reminder of this work at both institutions and speaks to a trajectory of experimental legacy informing clinical practice.

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New Acquisition: The Fredrick J. Stare Papers

By , November 8, 2016
Stare

Dr. Frederick John Stare participating in a nationwide “March of Medicine” telecast on March 11, 1953. The half-hour show, one of a series being sponsored by a drug company and the American Medical Association, stressed problems of obesity and suggestions for dieting. Courtesy of the Center for the History of Medicine (Harvard School of Public Health Dean’s Annual Report, 1953-1954).

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the acquisition of the personal and professional papers of the late Fredrick J. Stare (1910-2002). Dr. Stare was an American nutritionist regarded as one of the country’s most influential teachers of nutrition. In 1942, Stare founded the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, now the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. This was the first such nutrition program in the United States not to be associated with an agriculture school. Dr. Stare began with a staff of three, but by the time he retired in 1976 it exceeded 150 people, and the department was considered a leader in nutrition research. In 1978, Stare co-founded and served as chairman of the Board of Directors for the American Council on Science and Health, which he served on until his death in 2002.

Stare fought to improve nutrition for children in developing nations and supported the process of fluoridating public drinking water to prevent tooth decay. He defended food preservatives and chemical additives as beneficial and necessary at a time when naturalists countered that additives were detrimental. He was a firm believer in the essential goodness of the typical American diet, holding that “prudence and moderation” were the key to healthy eating. He was also an early advocate of the benefits of regularly drinking water throughout the day. He founded the journal Nutrition Reviews, and from 1945 onward wrote a syndicated newspaper column, Food and Your Health. His publications included Living Nutrition; Eat OK – Feel OK; Food for Today’s Teens; The Executive Diet; Food for Fitness after Fifty; Dear Dr Stare: What Shall I Eat?; and Panic in the Pantry.

At the height of McCarthyism, Stare won notoriety for hiring Bernard Lown, a cardiologist who had been accused of holding communist sympathies. Lown went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 as one of the leaders of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical groups in 64 countries who share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation. In addition to Dr. Stare’s records, the papers of Bernard Lown as well as the records of the IPPNW are available for research at the Center for the History of Medicine.

For more about Dr. Stare, please read this memorial written by the Harvard Crimson immediately following Dr. Stare’s death in 2002, or his obituaries in the New York Times and the Economist.

His collection, which is not yet available for research, includes correspondence, alpha files, university administrative records, grey literature and publications, photographs, and films. For more information about the collection, contact Public Services at chm@hms.harvard.edu.

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