Posts tagged: William T. Bovie

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.

William T. Bovie Papers Open to Research

By , December 8, 2017

William T. Bovie

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the William T. Bovie papers, 1890-1953 (inclusive). Bovie earned a Ph.D. in plant physiology from Harvard University in 1914, moved to the Harvard Cancer Commission as a research fellow, and in 1920 became Assistant Professor of Biophysics. While at Harvard, Bovie developed his electrosurgical device, a scalpel that could cut and seal using the effects of high frequency current, which minimized blood loss, infection, and tissue damage. This work was done in collaboration with Harvey Cushing, Surgeon-in-Chief at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. Bovie later taught at Northwestern University and Colby College, and worked in the Roscoe B. Jackson Memorial Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1920.

William T. Bovie Bookplate

The papers are the product of Bovie’s activities as biophysicist, researcher and author, and professor. The papers contain records from Bovie’s research activities, lecture notes from courses in biophysics and social technology given by him at Harvard University and Northwestern University, and speeches on a variety of topics given to public audiences and professional societies. The collection also contains collected films, drafts and notes related to his professional writings, and personal correspondence and biographical records.

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

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

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