Fredrick J. Stare Papers Open to Research

By , March 29, 2018
Fredrick J. Stare at desk, undated.

Fredrick J. Stare at desk, undated. H MS c499. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the Fredrick J. Stare papers, 1912-2002 (inclusive), 1950-1999 (bulk), are now open to research. Fredrick Stare was Distinguished Professor of Nutrition Emeritus and Founder and Chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts. His research focused on the relationship between diet and disease, and promoted a low-fat diet for minimizing the risk of cardiovascular disease. He is known for his nutrition recommendations in the popular media, and spent his career fighting what he considered nutrition quackery and misinformation.

Fredrick J. Stare (1910-2002) received his B.S. (1931), M.S. (1932), and Ph.D. (1934) in biochemistry and nutrition from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and his M.D. (1941) from the University of Chicago, Illinois. He was invited in 1942 by Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School to found the Department of Nutrition, the first nutrition program in the world connected with a school of public health or medicine. He served as chair of the department through 1976. He fundraised heavily throughout his tenure in the department, soliciting donations from many food industry corporations and interest groups.

Fredrick J. Stare during a conference at Trout Lake, Wisconsin, visiting the chemistry laboratory at which he worked during the summers of 1929-1931. 1983 May 18.

Fredrick J. Stare during a conference at Trout Lake, Wisconsin, visiting the chemistry laboratory at which he worked during the summers of 1929-1931. 1983 May 18. H MS c499. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Stare’s research focused on diet’s relationship to health and disease, particularly cardiovascular health, obesity, and cancer. His major studies included: the 1960s Ireland-Boston Brothers Heart Study, which studied how environmental, lifestyle, and diet factors contribute to heart disease; lysine fortification studies in Tunisia and Thailand in the 1960s and 1970s; and several 1970s studies on diet and cardiovascular health in boarding schools, which resulted in mass-market availability of polyunsaturated margarine. His frequent research collaborators included David M. Hegsted (1914-2009), Bernard Lown (born 1921), and Elizabeth M. Whelan (1943-2014), among many others. Stare advocated throughout his career for a low fat diet as a way to minimize risk for cardiovascular disease, and used his industry connections to push for low-fat and multigrain ingredients in manufactured foods. He opposed fad diets, and fought against what he considered nutrition quackery or misinformation. To these ends, he used his nationally-syndicated newspaper column, “Food and Your Health,” and radio program, “Healthline,” to provide research-based nutrition advice to the general public. With Elizabeth M. Whelan, he was also a co-founder of the American Council on Science and Health, which was founded to research and distribute evidence-based health and nutrition information to the wider population.

Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Building architectural drawing, circa 1960. By Voorhees, Walker, Smith, Smith, and Haines.

Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Building architectural drawing, circa 1960. By Voorhees, Walker, Smith, Smith, and Haines. H MS c499. A note at the bottom of the drawing reads, “Nutrition Research Laboratories – A Gift of General Foods Corporation”. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The papers are the product of Fredrick J. Stare’s professional, research, publishing, travel, and personal activities throughout the course of his career. The bulk of the collection consists of: Stare’s personal and professional correspondence; and administrative and fundraising records generated through his professional appointments and service in professional organizations. The collection also includes: research records of various projects; manuscript drafts, reprints, and clippings of Stare’s nutrition and public health publications; conference and public speaking records; photographs taken during Stare’s professional and research activities; travel itineraries and journals; appointment calendars; collected educational audiovisual recordings on nutrition; and collected publications and grey literature on nutrition and public health.

For more information on Stare and his collection, please view the collection’s online finding aid. For information about accessing the collection, please contact Public Services.

Leave a Reply

 

Panorama Theme by Themocracy