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Harvey W. Cushing was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He received his A.B. in 1891 from Yale University and his M.D. and M.A. in 1895 from Harvard University. After a one-year internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, he became an assistant resident surgeon at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 1897, Cushing joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where, except for two years (1900-1902) of study in Europe, he remained until he resigned in 1912 to become the Moseley Professor of Surgery at the Harvard Medical School and surgeon-in-chief at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. Cushing was at Harvard from 1913 to 1932, when he returned to Yale to become Sterling Professor in Neurology. A pioneer in the field of neurology, he developed many of the basic techniques and procedures used in surgery of the brain and spinal cord. He also brought the sphygmomanometer into the operating room and was one of the first physicians to consult Xrays before surgery. He made fundamental discoveries about the pituitary gland and recognized a new disease (subsequently named after him) characterized by an over-stimulation of the basophil cells of the pituitary. Cushing established the Hunterian Laboratory of Experimental Medicine at Johns Hopkins and wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of William Osler.

Scope and Content

The Harvey W. Cushing Collection spans much of his late career at Harvard University and Yale University. It consists of reprints, correspondence, and patient records. Personal materials such as a diary, family belongings, and photographs are also included. The collection also focuses on the legacy of Cushing, with articles and correspondence about him. Of special interest are materials relating to the issue of a commemorative stamp by the U.S. Postal Service in Cushing’s honor. For additional material on Cushing, consult the collected papers of the Hunterian Laboratory as well as the Adolf Meyer, William H. Welch, William S. Halsted, and William G. MacCallum Collections.

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An unpublished inventory is available for this collection at the Archives.

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