Posts tagged: plastic surgery

John E. Hoopes papers are open for Research

By , January 29, 2018

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the John E. Hoopes papers, 1940-2012. Hoopes, (1931-) was a plastic surgeon specializing in reconstructive, rehabilitative, and cosmetic plastic surgery, and was part of the founding staff of the Gender Identity Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland.

John E. Hoopes was born in 1931, and attended Rice University, Houston, Texas, for his undergraduate education from 1949 to 1953. He then received his M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, in 1957. Hoopes then became an Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and was the founding Chairman of the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the first academic institution in the United States to perform sex reassignment surgeries, from 1965 to 1968. From 1968 to 1970, he was the Chairman of the Plastic Surgery Division at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri. He returned to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1970, and served as the Chairman of Plastic Surgery until his retirement in 1990. He founded the John E. Hoopes Foundation for Plastic Surgery, and remains a consultant on topics of plastic surgery.

Hoopes’s research throughout his career focused on different subjects within the larger field of plastic surgery. He published numerous scientific journal articles on the topics of his scientific study, including but not limited to degenerative diseases of the hand and surgical management; surgical rehabilitation after radial maxillectomy and orbital extension; immediate forehead flap in resection for oropharyngeal cancer; organic synthetics for augmentation mammoplasty and their relation to breast cancer; the “insatiable” cosmetic surgery patients; the psychiatric-surgical approach to adolescent disturbance in self-image; issues of cleft palate reconstruction and speech; psychiatric aspects of transsexual surgery management; sex reassignment or reconstruction surgeries; reduction mammoplasty; skin wounds and scars and the relation of enzymes and metabolism to their healing; facial fractures and reconstruction; and drug injection injuries, among others.

John E. Hoopes was involved with numerous professional organizations throughout his career. He was the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow in 1970. From 1982 to 1983, Hoopes was the Chair of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and from 1989-1990, the President of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons. He was also involved with organizations such as the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons.

The papers are a product of Hoopes’s career as a plastic surgeon, researcher, professor, and administrator. The papers contain: professional organizations records; research records; Johns Hopkins University and other professional records, which include both administrative records as well as a small group of Gender Identity Clinic records.

View the online finding aid to the John E. Hoopes papers, 1940-2012.

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

Joseph Murray, Bradford Cannon and Plastic Surgery

By , September 18, 2013

Joseph Murray (1919-2012) and Bradford Cannon (1907-2005) first met at the Army-run Valley Forge General Hospital during World War II. After the war, both returned to Boston (Murray to Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Cannon to Massachusetts General Hospital) and had distinguished careers in plastic and reconstructive surgery. In the video below, entitled “Plastic Surgery at Harvard Medical School”, the two discuss their careers.

The video was produced by the Boston Medical Library as part of the series “Leaders in American Medicine”, and will be part of a Center online exhibit about the life and career of Joseph Murray, which will be available later this fall. The video is part of the Joseph E. Murray papers and was recently digitized.

The Center holds both the Joseph E. Murray papers (finding aid here) and the Bradford Cannon papers (finding aid here). For information regarding access to these collections, please contact the Public Services staff.

Collection Highlight: Clusters of Manuscripts in Radiology, Hematology, Surgery, and More

Francis D. Moore, Joseph Murray, and George Thorn. Date unknown.

One of the Center’s acquisitions goals is to develop collections that are uniquely deep and rich in connections, providing a view into biomedical and public health disciplines, research areas, communities, and practices via published and unpublished sources– personal papers, professional association records, institutional archives, ephemera, images, and objects. Several of these clusters are well-known; the Historical Collection in Radiology, for example, encompasses rare books extending to the earliest development of radiology, manufacturers catalogs, images, scientific apparatus, and the records of the Fleischner Society and American and New England Roentgen Ray Societies, as well as manuscript collections including those of Felix Fleischner, Morris Simon, Merrill Sosman, Charles L. Dunham and Lauriston Taylor. The Center continues to build on this strong foundation and opened many of these manuscript collections over the past two years (see recent blog posts). More collections will be opened next year.

Another cluster of collections recently opened by the Center are those in hematology (the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases of the blood and bone marrow as well as of the immunologic, blood clotting, and vascular systems). The Harvard medical community was the site of some major advances in hematology, including William Parry Murphy’s research concerning various hematological diseases, notably pernicious anemia, leukemia, and diabetes mellitus. With George Richards Minot (1885-1950) and George Hoyt Whipple (1878-1976), he is credited with developing a treatment for pernicious anemia using a diet of uncooked liver, for which all three were awarded the 1934 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Murphy later worked throughout his career to refine the liver extract developed by Edwin Joseph Cohn (1892-1953) and George Richards Minot for the treatment of pernicious anemia. In 1941, Cohn, working with T.L. McMeekin and John L. Oncley (1810-2004), developed a method of fractionating blood plasma proteins to extend the storage life of blood and use blood proteins more efficiently. More recently, William Dameshek is credited with proposing a technique for bone marrow extraction using a needle, collaborating in the first known multi-institutional chemotherapy trial, and developing treatments for various autoimmune diseases. With Yuet Wai Kan, David G. Nathan introduced the first prenatal diagnostic test for thalassemia and sickle cell anemia.  He is also known for introducing deferoxamine as an effective treatment of iron overload and hydroxyurea as a treatment for sickle cell anemia symptoms. Collections in boldface were recently opened; more collections are on the way (see blog posts for details).

Surgery is another area in which we are assiduously acquiring and striving to open collections.  Earlier this year, Joseph Murray‘s papers were opened to research, joining the collections of plastic surgery pioneer Varaztad Kazanjian, Edward Churchill, Elliot Cutler, Louis T. Wright, the first black appointed to the staff of a New York hospital, Maurice Howe Richardson and his son, Edward Pierson RichardsonWilliam Bovie, American Association of Plastic Surgeons, the New England Vascular Surgery Society, and many others.  We are currently processing the Judah Folkman and Dwight Harken collections, but are still seeking resources to prepare for research access the extensive personal and professional papers of Francis D. Moore. Of greatest concern are the number of living ‘greats’ whose papers have yet to be acquired.

Building the powerful research collections that fuel ground-breaking research demands the active support of the whole community– everyone from physicians, health professionals, scientists, administrators, lab managers, researchers, and all those who are interested in the advancement of knowledge.  In addition to surgery, we are currently collecting in genetics, immunology and infectious diseases, public health, and other fields. We rely on you to alert us to important collections and objects in your field that might be of interest, particularly where those materials might be at risk.

Want to know more about the Center’s holdings in your discipline? Go to the Harvard Library simple search portal, enter your keyword, and click on “Go.” Your findings will be delivered on a Hollis results page; there are many options to refine (narrow) results, including location (select ‘Countway’) and format (choose ‘Archives/Manuscripts’). For assistance, contact the Center’s public services librarians at 617-432-2170 or email to

Joseph Murray Papers Open to Research

By , March 18, 2013

Joseph E. Murray

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Joseph E. Murray papers, 1919-2011. The papers are the product of Murray’s activities as a plastic surgeon, transplant surgeon, laboratory director, author, and Harvard Medical School alumnus, and include records from Murray’s plastic surgery and transplantation work at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston. The collection also contains his personal and professional correspondence, records from his activities as chairman of the Harvard Medical Alumni Fund, records from reunions of the Harvard Medical School class of 1943b, as well as Murray’s professional writings.

Joseph E. Murray (1919-2012), A.B., 1940, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts; M.D., 1943, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, transplant and plastic surgeon, received the 1990 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on organ transplantation. Murray served as Head of the plastic surgery departments at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston, Chief of Transplant Surgery at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, and Director of the Surgical Research Laboratory at Harvard Medical School. In 1954, Murray performed the first successful human organ transplantation, between identical twins, Ronald (donor) and Richard (recipient) Herrick, at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.

The finding aid for the collection can be found here.

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

Links to previous blog posts on Joseph Murray:
In Memoriam: Joseph E. Murray, 1919-2012
Staff Finds: Joseph Murray and the Surgical Research Laboratory
Joseph Murray on the First Successful Human Organ Transplant

In Memoriam: Joseph E. Murray, 1919-2012

By , December 3, 2012

Dr. Joseph E. Murray

The Center was saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Joseph E. Murray on Monday at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Murray is best known for performing the first successful organ transplantation in 1954, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1990. A graduate of Holy Cross (A.B., 1940) and Harvard Medical School (M.D.,1943), Murray served at Valley Forge General Hospital in the Army Medical Corps during World War II. It was there, observing how donor skin grafts on badly burned soldiers were rejected by their bodies, that Murray first became interested in transplantation. In 1962 he performed the first cadaveric renal transplantation, utilizing the newly developed immunosuppressant drug Azathioprine. Despite his role in organ transplantation, Murray spent the majority of his career in the field of plastic surgery, serving as the head of plastic surgery at the Brigham and at Children’s Hospital, as well as director of the Surgical Research Laboratory at Harvard Medical School (an earlier Center blog post about transplantation and Dr. Murray’s involvement with the Surgical Research Laboratory can be found here).

Obituaries for Dr. Murray can be found at, the New York Times and the Washington Post. His autobiography, Surgery of the Soul, was published in 2001.

The Center holds the Joseph E. Murray Papers, which are currently being processed for research access. The collection is expected to be open to researchers in early 2013. Below are selected images from the collection.

Processing of Joseph Murray Papers Has Begun

By , March 6, 2012

Joseph Murray, left, receiving the Nobel Prize

Center staff has recently started processing the Joseph E. Murray Papers, which date from 1916 to 1999 and span his entire professional career as a surgeon. Murray (M.D., 1943, Harvard) was Professor of Surgery and director of the Surgical Research Laboratory at Harvard Medical School and Chief of Plastic Surgery at Brigham Hospital and Children’s Hospital. He led the surgical team that performed the first successful human organ transplantation in 1954 and received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1990 for his work on organ transplantation.

The collection includes Murray’s professional correspondence, research records, hospital records, and scholarly writings. It also contains records from his involvement in professional organizations and Harvard Medical School alumni activities, as well as a number of non-paper records, including films, dental models, X-Rays, videos, and lantern slides. The audiovisual (AV) records in the collection have already been surveyed by technicians from the Weissman Preservation Center as part of a systematic assessment of AV materials in special collections at Harvard.

The collection is currently scheduled to be opened in early 2013.

Digital highlights: a peculiar approach to healing, and an important early work on surgery

By , March 19, 2011

The Center for the History of Medicine has digitized nearly 400 works on the subjects of surgery and the treatment of wounds and injuries as part of our ongoing contributions to the Medical Heritage Library. Two titles of note, both from the Boston Medical Library collection,  recently passed through the scanning lab: Addinell Hewson’s 1872 work, Earth as a topical application in surgery, and Thomas Gale’s Certaine workes of chirurgerie (1563).

The arm of a patient 15 days after Hewson amputated his hand.

Hewson, a once noted Philadelphia surgeon, describes in detail his practice of using powdered clay both to pack infected wounds and as a topical, post-surgical application. The idea that introducing “earth” to open wounds might have presented any medical benefit was at odds with what were at the time new and increasingly widely accepted ideas about antiseptics. Interestingly, the successes in accelerating the healing process that he describes in the book have been attributed by at least one modern researcher to the probable presence of naturally-occurring antibacterial agents in the clay that would have been unknown to Hewson at the time, and which preceded breakthroughs in modern antibiotics by nearly 75 years.

Another noteworthy feature of Earth as a topical application is that it contains a striking series of woodburytypes depicting the post-operative state of four patients who Hewson treated. Viewable on pages 45, 51, 112, and 164, these portraits render his patients in an unusually stark and artistic light.

The wound man illustration from Gale's work on surgery.

The second title of note, Gale’s Certaine workes of chirurgerie, is the first printed book on surgery known to have been both written and published in English, a fact that sets it apart from the many English translations of foreign-language surgical texts from that era. It is a strange and whimsical work, composed in the form of a free-flowing conversation in which Gale discusses various maladies and their most suitable treatments with John Yates and John Feilde. In the course of the dialogues, Gale expounds upon various types of fractures (classifying them at times by their resemblances to the stalks of certain plants and vegetables), provides detailed instructions on the preparation of medicinal salves and unguents, and gives historical perspectives on then-current medical treatments.

A surgeon in the army of Henry VIII, Gale had first-hand knowledge of the traumatic injuries associated with 16th century warfare. Pictured at right, the title page of Certaine workes contains a commonly used thematic illustration that is generally referred to as “wound man.” Serving as a grim reminder of the perils that once faced soldiers of the late medieval and early modern eras, wound man was used in many early medical texts to depict the array of battlefield injuries common at that time. This version of wound man suffers simultaneous arrow-piercings, bones smashed by clubs, truncheons, hammers, and cannon balls; flesh rended by sword slashes and spear wounds, as well as various other grievous and unpleasant injuries.

Related topics:

surgery wounds and injuriesasepsis and antisepsis in surgerygunshot wounds

plastic surgeryfacial reconstructiondissectionanatomymilitary surgery

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