George Packer Berry Dean Records Open to Research

By , May 22, 2018
George Packer Berry

George Packer Berry

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the records of the Office of the Dean of Harvard Medical School, during the tenure of George Packer Berry from 1949 to 1965.

George Packer Berry (1898-1986) A.B., Princeton University, M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, came to Harvard Medical School from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY, where he served as Head of the Department of Bacteriology and Associate Dean. As Dean of Harvard Medical School, Berry oversaw the development of the Harvard Medical Center in 1956, which brought Harvard Medical School and its affiliated teaching hospitals together under one corporate organization, and also served as the Center’s first President. The Program for Harvard Medicine was created in 1960 to raise funds for Harvard Medical School. In addition, Berry oversaw the development and construction of the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. He was President of the Association of American Medical Colleges (1951-1952) and earned the Association’s Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education in 1961. Berry was a trustee of both American University of Beirut and Princeton University.

George Packer Berry and Otto Krayer

George Packer Berry and Otto Krayer

The records of the Office of the Dean are the product of the activities of the Dean of Harvard Medical School, during the years 1949-1965 under the tenure of Dean Berry. Included are records from the administrative activities of the Office of the Dean, including administrative staff meetings, the planning and construction of Countway Library, and correspondence, reports, meeting records, and promotional materials for the Program for Harvard Medicine. Also included are records related to the Dean’s interactions with Harvard-affiliated hospitals and records from his tenure as a trustee of American University of Beirut, his tenure as Vice President and President of the Association of American Medical Colleges, as well as his roles as Director of the Commonwealth Fund and Director of the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation. The collection includes records resulting from the activities of standing and ad hoc committees at Harvard Medical School and records of the interactions of the Office of the Dean with Harvard University offices, departments, and organizations.

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

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

Darwin DeForrest Douglas and the Government Contract

In 1862, surgeon general William Hammond convened a medical board to discuss the question of providing prosthetic limbs to Union soldiers who had undergone amputation after being wounded. The number of these men was increasing quickly and, if nothing else, Hammond wanted to get those who could be rehabilitated for military life back to the front. Men who would be demobilized back to civilian life also required support since a missing arm or leg could incapacitate a man who had been an active farmer or mechanic.

By the beginning of the Civil War, there were several well-known limb manufacturers in the United States, mostly along the Eastern seaboard. Benjamin Franklin Palmer had one of the first full-scale manufacturing plants and more than one of his workmen, including William Selpho, Douglas Bly, E.D. Hudson, Benjamin Jewett, and Darwin DeForrest Douglass, had gone on to create businesses of their own. The designs, including Palmer’s own, were mostly variations on a model that had been created in the early years of the nineteenth century in Britain for veterans of the Napoleonic wars. Arguments between makers were heated, however, as each tried to defend his own design as unique and, of course, better than the competition.

Hammond’s board asked several major limb manufacturers, including B.F. Palmer but not Douglass, to submit limbs for inspection. The board then planned to select the best and work out some plan whereby limbs and soldiers could be brought together. The main difficulties, it soon became clear, would be money and time: who was going to pay for the limb? and how much time should the soldier have to spend in getting it? Most limb manufacturers, including Palmer and Douglass, advised that limbs needed personal fitting — it wasn’t simply a matter of shipping off two dozen medium-size legs to a hospital and letting the staff hand them out.

The medical board never decided upon a single supplier and the Union government never signed a contract with a particular manufacturer for supplies of limbs. Instead, suppliers were given charge of particular geographic areas and soldiers in need of limbs were supposed to apply to their closest hospital. In practice, of course, this might mean a man would have to travel 200 miles roundtrip in order to get a limb — and the government stipend for prostheses did not cover travel or housing while waiting to be fitted or the multiple trips that might be necessary in order to adjust a new prosthesis properly.

Indeed, the stipend itself could be part of the problem. Since there was no official contract to control how much manufacturers could charge for a limb, just an unofficial “agreement,” several manufacturers, including Palmer and Selpho, were accused of price-gouging. Selpho, in fact, was firmly rebuked by Surgeon General Hammond more than once for taking money from soldiers over what was allowed by the government stipend.

Douglass, on the other hand, managed to benefit from the unofficial nature of the government arrangement without directly imposing on the soldier. Since there was no official government supplier, he argued that men coming to him to be fitted were simply exercising their freedom of choice in an open marketplace and the government should reimburse him as promised. However, it may also have been because he sold so few limbs in comparison to suppliers like Palmer, Selpho, and Jewett, that whatever price-fixing Douglass indulged in was not worth tracking down.

~For more, see Guy R. Hasegawa’s Mending Broken Soldiers: The Union and Confederate Programs to Supply Artifical Limbs (2012) and the D. DeForrest Douglass papers.

Roderick Heffron Papers Open to Research

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the Roderick Heffron Papers, 1881-1977 (inclusive), 1923-1949 (bulk), are open to research.

Roderick Heffron (1901-1982) was a medical researcher and physician specializing in pneumonia. He was in born in Chicago, Illinois in 1901 and received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1928. Between 1931 and 1935, Heffron was field director of the Massachusetts Pneumonia Study and Service and, in 1936, he and Frederick T. Lord (1875-1941) co-authored Lobar Pneumonia and Serum Therapy based on the research of the Service. Heffron took a position at the Commonwealth Fund in 1937 and served on the Pneumonia Committee of the United States Public Health Service in 1939. He retired from the Commonwealth Fund in 1966. Heffron married Catherine Haman and died in Falmouth, Massachusetts, in 1983 at the age of 82.
The collection consists of records reflecting Heffron’s work in researching and writing on pneumonia, particularly his work on and the critical reception of the books published from the data gatherd during the Massachusetts Pneumonia Study on pneumonia and serum treatment. Included here are clippings of book reviews, correspondence with co-authors and other pneumonological specialists particularly George N. Papanicolaou (1883-1962), a Greek specialist in cytopathology, and collected reprints of research materials. The collection includes a small number of books collected by Heffron, many with annotations, marginalia, and insertions including newspaper and magazine clippings

Henry Pickering Bowditch Papers Open to Research

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the Henry Pickering Bowditch papers, 1833-1961 (inclusive), 1860-1900 (bulk), are re-processed and open to research.

Henry Pickering Bowditch was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 4, 1840 to Lucy Orne Nichols (1816-1883) and Jonathan Ingersoll Bowditch (1806-1889). He entered Harvard College in 1857 and graduated in 1861 with a bachelor’s degree; he began studies at the Lawrence Scientific School in Cambridge the same year, but left to volunteer for the Union Army. Bowditch served as a cavalry officer until 1865 when he resigned his command and returned to the Lawrence Scientific School and Harvard Medical School. He received his M.D. in 1868 and travelled to Europe to study medicine. Bowditch studied in France and Germany between 1868 and 1871, eventually specializing in the study of physiology under the tutelage of Carl Ludwig (1816-1895) in Leipzig, Germany.

In 1871, Bowditch returned to the United States with his wife, Selma Knauth (1853-1918), and accepted an assistant professorship in physiology at Harvard Medical School. Bowditch established his first physiological laboratory in the old medical school building on North Grove Street in 1872. Bowditch accepted a promotion to full professor in 1876. In 1903, he was given the newly established George Higginson professorship in physiology. Bowditch taught at Harvard for 35 years, resigning in 1906.

Bowditch studied physiology throughout his teaching and research career, focusing on studies of the nerves and the cardiac muscles. He was interested in long-term growth studies and presented data from one of the first, on Boston schoolchildren, at a Boston Society of Medical Sciences meeting in 1872. Bowditch continued to work on comparative growth studies through the 1890s. He was an active pro-vivisectionist, campaigning in favor of animal experimentation in the 1890s when efforts were being made to restrict the use of laboratory animals. He was one of the founding members of the American Physiological Society in 1887 and served as the Society’s second president after S. Weir Mitchell. Bowditch was also on the first editorial board for the American Journal of Physiology when it was founded in 1898.

The collection consists mainly of correspondence but also includes family research records, personal papers including military records, and a small amount of writing and manuscript material.

Darwin DeForrest Douglas Papers Open to Research

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the D. DeForrest (Darwin DeForrest) Douglass papers, 1820-1901 (inclusive), 1850-1900 (bulk), are open to research.

Darwin DeForrest Douglas (1828-1902) was an entrepreneur and artificial limb designer and maker during the last half of the nineteenth century. He began as a workman for Benjamin Franklin Palmer (b. 1828) and left Palmer’s company to start his own. Palmer was one of the first makers of prosthetic limbs in the United States, working with a design that had been created in England after the Napoleonic Wars.

Douglass was never a major maker of artificial limbs and did not establish his own company. He continued to work on his leg design, refit old legs, and provide new ones until the 1890s.

The papers include correspondence and financial records that reflect Douglass’s personal and professional lives. Correspondence and bills relating to his wife, Susan, and daughter, Jennie Grace, are included here as well as correspondence relating to Douglass’s professional work as a prosthetist. Financial records include household, personal, and professional items such as sheet music (presumably for Jennie Grace Douglass who was a student at the New England Conservatory of Music), wood, paint, clothing, food (tea, sugar, flour, vegetables, meat, milk, etc.), as well as promissory notes, bills for rentals, gas, coal, and ice bills, and property tax records.

Register now! World War I: Reflections at the Centennial on May 30

By , May 8, 2018

 

Plan of No. 22 General Hospital drawn by Paul Dudley White (1886-1973), September 6, 1916. From the Paul Dudley White papers, 1870s-1987.     H MS c36. Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

 

The Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, in partnership with its co-sponsors the Harvard Medical School Civilian-Military Collaborative and the Ackerman Program on Medicine & Culture, is pleased to announce the upcoming event World War I: Reflections at the Centennial with speakers James A. Schafer, Ph.D, and Jeffrey S. Reznick, Ph.D.

James A. Schafer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Houston, will present “The Mobilization of American Medicine for the First World War,” an examination of the causes and effects of the rapid recruitment of doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel (such as volunteer ambulance drivers) during the War. Drawing from Harvard University and other Boston area examples, Professor Schafer will measure the scope and scale of medical mobilization, explain the motivations for doctors, nurses and medical personnel to mobilize, and explore the immediate effects of mobilization on the careers and lives of American doctors, nurses, and medical personnel.

Jeffrey S. Reznick, Ph.D., Chief of the History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health, will present “A Prisoner of the Great War and his Songs in Captivity,” an exploration of the period when Rudolf Helmut Sauter (1895-1977)—the artist, writer, and nephew of the novelist John Galsworthy—was an internee in Alexandra Palace camp, north London, and Frith Hill, Surrey. Drawing on collections of the NLM, Imperial War Museum, and University of Birmingham, among other archives and libraries, Dr. Reznick will reveal how Sauter’s experiences open a unique window onto the history of the Great War both as Sauter experienced it and as he subsequently sought to forget it like so many other surviving members of the “generation of 1914.”

The event will take place on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 in the Minot Room, Countway Library, from 5:00-6:30. Registration is required.  Please visit our EventBrite page to register.

Staff Finds: Yakovlev, Freeman, and Lobotomy

Paul Yakovlev

While processing the Paul Ivan Yakovlev papers, Center staff came across correspondence, below, between Yakovlev and Walter Freeman regarding lobotomy. The first three images contain discussions between the two about lobotomy, and the last three contain a request from from Freeman for a letter of support, due to an issue with his recommendation of lobotomy for child at Palo Alto-Stanford Hospital, and Yakovlev’s letter of support. Freeman performed the first prefrontal lobotomy in the United States in 1936 (a modified version of one developed by neurologist Egas Moniz) and later performed the first transorbital lobotomy in the United States in 1946. The first image below contains this statement from Freeman, about a month after the first prefrontal lobotomy:

Our latest excitement down here is the Moniz operation of prefrontal lobotomy in the treatment of certain cases of mental disorder like agitated depressions. The results are quite promising. Indeed, one case of agitated depression is better now than she has ever been in her life. I believe that it has great possibilities in the treatment of the disabling anxiety neuroses and early dementia precox.

Unfortunately the psychiatrists in Washington are not sympathetic to the procedure and we shall have to wait for a considerable period before assembling enough material really to be able to talk about it in terms of large numbers of patients treated.

Paul Ivan Yakovlev was a neurologist, researcher, and Clinical Professor of Neuropathology at Harvard Medical School, as well as Curator of the Warren Anatomical Museum (1955-1961). His research was focused on the physiology of early acquired or congenital cerebral defects. Yakovlev’s Collection of Normal and Pathologic Anatomy and Development of the Human Brain was started in 1930 at Monson State Hospital and numbered nearly 1,000 normal and abnormal brain specimens at the time of his death.

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

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

Paul Ivan Yakovlev Papers Open for Research

By , April 25, 2018

Paul Ivan Yakovlev

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Paul Ivan Yakovlev papers, 1912-1983. The papers are the product of Yakovlev’s activities as a researcher, author, and professor and Curator of the Warren Anatomical Museum at Harvard Medical School. The papers include Yakovlev’s professional correspondence, writings, photographs and biographical records, and collected reprints.

Paul Ivan Yakovlev was a neurologist, researcher, and Clinical Professor of Neuropathology at Harvard Medical School. His research was focused on the physiology of early acquired or congenital cerebral defects. Born in Russia in 1894, Yakovlev escaped the fighting of the Russian Revolution, ending up in France in 1920. There he worked with Pierre Marie at the Salpêtrière Hospital (1920-1921) and with Joseph Babinski at the Hôpital de la Pitié in Paris (1921-1924), and he earned his M.D. from the University of Paris in 1925. Yakovlev came to the United States in 1925, working with Stanley Cobb at Boston City Hospital and then the Monson State Hospital and the Walter E. Fernald State School. Yakovlev moved to Yale University School of Medicine (1947-1951), serving as Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology and Director of Research and Training at Connecticut State Hospital. He returned to Harvard Medical School in 1951, serving as Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology (1951-1955), Curator of the Warren Anatomical Museum (1955-1961), Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology (1955-1957), and Clinical Professor of Neuropathology (1957-1961, Emeritus 1961). Yakovlev’s Collection of Normal and Pathologic Anatomy and Development of the Human Brain was started in 1930 at Monson State Hospital and numbered nearly 1,000 normal and abnormal brain specimens at the time of his death.

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

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

Paul Ivan Yakovlev, Alfred Pope, Bert Vallee

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.

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