Staff Finds: Albert Warren Stearns and Sacco and Vanzetti

By , December 10, 2018

Receipt for Sacco Examination

While processing the papers of Albert Warren Stearns, Center staff came across records related to Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. The Italian-born anarchists were convicted and then executed for the 1920 robbery and murder of two men in South Braintree, MA. Stearns was a psychiatrist and neurologist and he assisted in the examination of Nicola Sacco at Bridgewater State Hospital in 1923. The records include a bill, left, for the examination of Sacco sent to Norfolk County and correspondence, below, featuring a discussion with a Tufts colleague about the use of a drug as a way to compel Sacco and Vanzetti to tell the truth.

Albert Warren Stearns, 1885-1959, had a psychiatry private practice and regularly consulted for judicial and law enforcement entities. He earned his M.D. from Tufts College School of Medicine in 1910 and from 1927 to 1945 was the Dean of the Tufts College School of Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry. During the First and Second World Wars, he served in the medical corps of the United States Navy, evaluating and classifying the mental health of recruits for naval service.  After returning to Tufts from military service in 1945, Stearns became a Professor and Chairman of the Department of Sociology. He also served as Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (1929-1933).

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

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

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