Wives of Aesculapius Records Now Open to Research

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the Wives of Aesculapius records, 1908-1989 (inclusive), 1920-1960 (bulk) are now open for research.

The Wives of Aesculapius was founded in 1910 as an adjunct organization to the Aesculapian Club, a student organization at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, since women were not accepted as members to the latter organization. The Wives existed as a separate association until 1972 when the two groups merged.

The Wives pursued activities similar to those of the Aesculapian Club including an annual dinner for the membership and extensive fund-raising activities for the benefit of Harvard Medical School students. The Wives were responsible for the foundation of a leisure reading collection on the medical school campus as well as providing furnishings for student spaces in Vanderbilt Hall. For many years, the Wives also produced a Spring Play, usually written, performed, and produced by members of the Wives.

Participation and interest in the Wives organization dropped steadily during the late 1950s and 1960s and the decision was made by the remaining members to disband and merge with the Aesculapian Club. The Wives formally ceased to exist as their own club in 1972.

The records reflect the formation, administration, and activities of the Wives, including records reflecting the initial organization and operation of the Wives, including correspondence, executive committee meeting minutes, lists of duties for officers, membership lists, and membership surveys. Also included here are records reflecting┬áthe social events sponsored by the Wives, primarily the “Spring Play,” which was usually written and performed by members of the group. There is also a small amount of memorabilia: three scrapbooks, unbound scrapbook pages, a rubber stamp, a seal, and a gavel.

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