Albert Warren Stearns Papers Open for Research

By , April 25, 2018

Albert Warren Stearns

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Albert Warren Stearns papers, 1912-1959. The papers are the product of Stearns’ activities as a private practice psychiatrist, author, Dean of Tufts College Medical School, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Correction, and officer in the medical corps of the United States Navy. The papers include Stearns’ correspondence and patient records from his work in psychiatric private practice, records from Stearns’ tenure as Dean at Tufts, and records from Stearns’ service as Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Correction. Also in the collection are evaluations and classifications of the mental health of recruits for naval service, from Stearns’ service in the United States Navy, as well as and his professional writings and research records.

Albert Warren Stearns, 1885-1959, earned his M.D. from Tufts College Medical School in 1910. He worked at Danvers State Hospital and Boston State Hospital before opening a private practice in 1913, and during the First and Second World Wars, he served in the medical corps of the United States Navy. From 1927 to 1945, Stearns was the Dean of Tufts College Medical School and Professor of Psychiatry. 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). Stearns died unexpectedly on September 24, 1959. The Stearns Research Building at the Tufts Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine was dedicated in 1963.

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

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

Center Receives Harvard Six Cities Study Research Data

By , April 20, 2018

Between 1974 and 1977, Harvard Six Cities Study researchers recruited residents who then completed questionnaires about their medical and occupational history, and underwent lung function (spirometry) tests. In this 1961 photo, a spirometer is demonstrated at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Respiratory Health Effects of Respirable Particles and Sulfur Oxides, commonly called the Harvard Six Cities Study, followed the respiratory health and air pollution exposure of children and adults living in six US communities between 1975 and 1988 (Harriman, Tennessee; Portage, Wisconsin; St. Louis, Missouri; Steubenville, Ohio; Topeka, Kansas; and Watertown, Massachusetts). Techniques were advanced to understand indoor, outdoor, and personal exposure to particles, acid aerosol, acid gases, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone, among other contaminants. Sponsors of the study included the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Electric Power Research Institute, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The results were stunning. Residents of Steubenville—the city with the dirtiest air among the six studied—were 26% more likely to die almost two years earlier than citizens of Portage, which boasted the cleanest air.  These results paved the way for the nation’s first-ever Clean Air Act regulations on particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter—rules that are now responsible for adding years to thousands of lives.

The historical narrative of the Six Cities Study has been relatively well-captured through numerous publications and Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health documentation; however, the long-term custody and preservation of the research data itself had yet to be addressed.

In September 2016, archivists from the Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library, met with faculty and researchers involved in the study to establish a plan, and in December 2016, custody of the data was transferred to the Center. Over the following six months, this large collection was rehoused, box listed, and cataloged. In addition to paper, Center staff discovered data in a variety of formats, including legacy media. Archivists also discovered photographs of researchers taking measurements in the field, background correspondence, and records relating to early precursor studies from one of the Harvard Six Cities Study’s early Principal Investigators, Benjamin Ferris.

Legacy media from the Harvard Six Cities Study being reviewed by archivists in June 2017.

In October 2017, after the physical transfer of the records had been completed, Center staff met again with faculty and researchers to better understand the types of data present in the collection and to determine how to facilitate future access. The group also discussed the various types of filters and media present in the collection to appraise their current research value.

Future collaborations are anticipated to help celebrate this significant study and its continued impact and relevance in today’s political climate.

The HOLLIS record relating to the Harvard Six Cities Study’s sponsored project administration records can be viewed here.The study’s original published findings (1993, NEJM) can be read online.

Harvard Cancer Commission Records Open for Research

By , April 4, 2018

Collis P. Huntington Memorial Hospital

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Harvard University Cancer Commission records, 1888-1945. The records include correspondence, administrative reports, meetings minutes, and financial ledgers and statements. The collection also contains records related to patient treatment, including the therapeutic use of radium and x-rays, ledgers detailing the treatment of patients, correspondence regarding autopsy results, and microscopic and diagnostic results.

The Harvard University Cancer Commission began with a donation of $100,000 from the Caroline Brewer Croft Fund. The donation was made after her death in 1899 and was placed under the control of physicians Henry K. Oliver and J. Collins Warren, who placed the funds with Harvard University in order to develop and endow an organization dedicated to the study and treatment of cancer. The Caroline Brewer Croft Cancer Commission was founded on June 16, 1899, and was changed to the Harvard University Cancer Commission in 1909, in order to allow for the consolidation of funding. In 1910, fundraising began for a new hospital to be operated by the Commission to aid in its research. A donation of $100,000 from Mrs. Collis P. Huntington allowed for the construction of the Collis P. Huntington Memorial Hospital in 1912. Also affiliated with the Commision were William T. Bovie, William Duane, Joseph Aub, Shields Warren, Edward D. Churchill, and Nobel Prize winner George Richards Minot. With the Commission facing financial difficulties, the Collis P. Huntington Memorial Hospital was closed on January 1, 1942, with its records, clinical work, and laboratories being transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The functions of the Cancer Commission were taken over by the Harvard Medical School Commission on Special Diseases in 1947 and by the Committee on Research and Development in 1949.

The finding aid for the Commission records can be found here.

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

Screening of The Power to Heal: Transforming America’s Segregated Hospitals on May 1

By , April 3, 2018

The Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine
is pleased to co-sponsor the following film screening

RSVP by Monday, April 23: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/power-to-healfilmscreening
QUESTIONS: ying_wang@hms.harvard.edu or 617-432-2313

 

 

 

Register Now! “A Contagious Cause: The Search for Cancer Viruses and the Growth of American Biomedicine” on April 24

By , April 3, 2018

The Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, invites you to join us for the lecture A Contagious Cause: The Search for Cancer Viruses and the Growth of American Biomedicine with Robin Wolfe Scheffler, Leo Marx Career Development Professor in History and Culture of Science and Technology at the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, MIT.

Throughout the twentieth century, few theories have caused more hope and frustration than the idea that cancer might be caused by a virus. This search for cancer viruses over successive generations of medical, scientific, and organizational advances serves as a lens through which we can understand the political ground upon which biology and medicine merged to form biomedicine in America and which enabled biologists to reimagine the nature of life in molecular terms.

The event will take place on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 in the Minot Room, Countway Library, from 6:00-7:00.  Registration is required.  Please visit our EventBrite page to register.

 

Staff Finds: Vanderbilt Hall Field

By , April 3, 2018
George Packer Berry

George Packer Berry

While processing the records from the Office of the Dean from the tenure of George Packer Berry, Center staff came across correspondence and a site plan for a proposed softball and playing field (along with renovations to existing tennis facilities) to be constructed adjacent to Vanderbilt Hall. The plan was presented to Berry by members of the Aesculapian Club in December 1950. Despite concerns voiced by the Department of Buildings and Grounds that the plan may have been in violation of building restrictions imposed by the federal government due to the Korean War, the 1952 edition of the student handbook appears to note the existent of the field:

In addition to eight regulation squash courts and the basketball court there is an exercise room equipped with punching bags, weights and bars, and a matted wrestling room…. Outdoor facilities consist of a tennis court–newly rebuilt–and the field behind the parking lot, for softball, touch football, and the like.

The 1951 Aesculapiad references funds for the “cost of improving the school’s athletic field and tennis court” and the 1953 edition mentions the “building of a ball field”, both from the Aesculapian Club sections of the yearbook.

The site plan and accompanying correspondence are located below.

The finding aid for the Office of the Dean of Harvard Medical School can be found here.

Thanks to Public Services Librarian Jack Eckert for his assistance with this post. For information regarding access to this collection, please contact the Public Services staff.

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.

Staff Finds: Richard Warren in the Warren Museum

By , March 22, 2018
Richard Warren

Richard Warren

While processing the records from the Office of the Dean from the tenure of George Packer Berry, Center staff came across images, below, of Richard Warren in the Warren Anatomical Museum. The images were taken as a part of the Program for Harvard Medicine, a fundraising initiative undertaken in the early 1960s. Given this time period, the images show the Warren Museum both as it was nearing the end of its primarily exhibition function at Harvard Medical School, and before repeated reductions in space allotment narrowed the museum from its original space in the top three floors of Building A (now Gordon Hall).

Richard Warren (1907-1999), M.D., 1934, Harvard Medical School, was a Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, specializing in cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disorders. He was a nephew of John Warren (1874-1928), a professor in the Anatomy Department at Harvard Medical School. Other ancestors include John Warren (1753-1815), Revolutionary War surgeon and a founder of Harvard Medical School, and John Collins Warren (1778-1856), Hersey Professor of Anatomy and Surgery and Dean of Harvard Medical School, whose personal collection of anatomical specimens, along with an endowment of $5,000 in railroad stock, helped establish the Warren Anatomical Museum. Richard Warren donated books, manuscripts, and artifacts from his family to the Boston Medical Library and Harvard Medical School. After retiring from medicine, Warren pursued the study of conifers at Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum, which houses records related to his work.

The finding aid for the Office of the Dean of Harvard Medical School can be found here.

The finding aid for the Warren Anatomical Museum records can be found here.

The Center for the History of Medicine also holds the Richard Warren papers.

For information regarding access to these collections, please contact the Public Services staff.

In Memoriam: T. Berry Brazelton, 1918-2018

By , March 19, 2018

T. Berry Brazelton

The Center was saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. T. Berry Brazelton on Tuesday, March 13 at his home on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Brazelton was perhaps best known as the developer of the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS), which uses visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli to assess the physical and neurological responses of newborns, as well as their emotional well-being and individual differences.

Born on May 10, 1918 in Waco, Texas, he received an A.B. from Princeton University in 1940 and an M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1943. In 1972, Brazelton established the Child Development Unit, a pediatric training and research center, at Children’s Hospital Boston. The Child Development Unit offered doctors the opportunity to conduct research on child development and train for clinical work with parents and children. While at the Child Development Unit, Brazelton developed the NBAS in 1973. Brazelton served as Director of the Child Development Unit from 1972 to 1989. At Harvard Medical School, Brazelton became Associate Professor of Pediatrics in 1972, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics in 1986, and Professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus in 1988. In 1992, the T. Berry Brazelton Professor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital was established.

Brazelton with newborn

During the course of his career, Brazelton authored over thirty books, including Infants and Mothers: Individual Differences in Development (1969), What Every Baby Knows (1987), and Touchpoints: Your Child’s Emotional and Behavioral Development (1993). From 1984 to 1995, Brazelton hosted the television program “What Every Baby Knows,” for which he won an Emmy in 1994, and authored monthly columns in Redbook and Family Circle, as well as a weekly newspaper column. In 2012, Brazelton was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Barack Obama.

Obituaries for Dr. Brazelton can be found in the Boston Globe, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

OnView, the Center’s online digital collections site, contains a letter from Mister Rogers to Brazelton.

The Center holds the T. Berry Brazelton papers and the finding aid can be found here. For information regarding access to this collection, please contact the Public Services staff.

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