The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that seven collections relating to the history of the Harvard T.H. Chan School for Public Health are now open to research.
All of these collections were originally part of a collection known as Early School of Public Health records (E72). This processing work distinguishes the separate offices and departments, bringing the collections up to modern archival collection standards.
Previously, the only description of the collections was a physical card catalog drawer. Six new and one heavily revised electronic finding aids will greatly speed up research, allowing researchers to identify materials of interest remotely.
The seven collections are:
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, 1968-1973 (inclusive)
The Department of Environmental Health existed at the Harvard School of Public Health from 1969 to 1983, and is the predecessor of today’s Department of Environmental Health. The department studied environmental pollution control and worker protection. The records consist of reprints of articles on aerosol particulates, asbestos exposure, design of respirators for workers in coal mining and other industries, effects of gases including carbon monoxide, and radiological health.
Department of Maternal and Child Health, 1914-1976 (inclusive), 1944-1976 (bulk)
The Department of Maternal and Child Health existed from 1944 to 1979 and 1985 to 2003. It is a predecessor of today’s Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. The Department focused on personal health, social, and family planning services to mothers and children. Files include correspondence and subject files relating to departmental programs with the World Health Organization, Simmons College (now Simmons University), the Frontier Nursing Service, the Massachusetts Committee on Children and Youth, and Children’s Medical Center (now Boston Children’s Hospital). There are also reprints and files relating to department administration.
Department of Physiology, 1917-1956 (inclusive)
The Department of Physiology existed from 1924 to 1983. It is a predecessor of today’s Department of Environmental Health. Students in the department studied topics including respiration, circulation, fatigue and repair, and hearing and vision. The records consist of executive correspondence, primarily generated by Cecil K. Drinker in his position as chair of the Department of Physiology. There are also subject resource files consisting of account books and publications produced by the Department of Physiology and the Laboratory of Applied Physiology.
Department of Industrial Hygiene, 1915-1982 (inclusive), 1915-1934 (bulk)
Courses in Industrial Hygiene began at the Harvard-MIT School of Public Health in 1918. The school’s name changed in 1922 to the Harvard School of Public Health. Since the majority of the materials in this collection were created between 1918 and 1922, the Harvard-MIT School of Public Health is used in the title. The Department of Industrial Hygiene existed in various forms until 1970, and is the predecessor of today’s Department of Environmental Health. Courses of study included industrial toxicology, specific industrial diseases, methods of industrial medical service, ventilation, and illumination. The records consist of material about the founding of the Department of Industrial Hygiene such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, meeting minutes, and manuscripts
Department of Tropical Medicine, 1913-1974 (inclusive), 1913-1938 (bulk)
The Harvard School of Tropical Medicine was founded in 1913. It was folded into the new Harvard School of Public Health as the Department of Tropical Medicine in 1922. The Department existed until 1946. It is a predecessor of today’s Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. The department trained students in diagnosis, transmission, and prevention of tropical diseases. The records consist of account books, correspondence, and department publications mostly relating to the founding and early development of the department.
Department of Tropical Public Health, 1950-1985 (inclusive)
The Department of Tropical Public Health existed from 1949 to 1981. It is a predecessor of today’s Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. The department offered courses in parasitology, arthropod-borne diseases, administration of tropical public health programs and effects of tropical climates on health. The bulk of the files are reprints of articles published by department staff. Topics includes research on schistosomiasis (disease caused by parasites known as schistosomes) and disease transmission in mosquitos and ticks.
Early deans' records, 1913-1996 (inclusive), 1940-1981 (bulk)
The early deans’ records are the product of the administrative functions of multiple deans’ offices through the history of the Harvard School of Public Health. The files contain faculty meeting minutes, administrative board minutes, committee files and reports, financials, dean’s reports, official publications, and grant application files. A large section of the files pertains to the President’s Committee to Study the Future of the Harvard School of Public Health, commissioned under Harvard University president Derek Bok.
Finding aids and more information
For more information, please view the collections’ online finding aids: Department of Environmental Health Sciences subject resource files; Department of Industrial Hygiene executive administrative files; Department of Maternal and Child Health executive administrative files; Department of Physiology records; Department of Tropical Medicine program establishment, management and review records; Department of Tropical Public Health subject resource files; Early deans’ records, Harvard School of Public Health. Office of the Dean executive administrative files.
For more information on the history of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public health, check out the detailed History of Public Health at Harvard LibGuide.