A-22; Vt-34

Hamilton, Alice, 1869-1970. Papers of Alice Hamilton, 1909-1987 (inclusive), 1909-1965 (bulk): A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

These papers were processed with a grant from Clara Goldberg Schiffer.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: A-22; Vt-34
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Hamilton, Alice, 1869-1970
Title: Papers of Alice Hamilton, 1909-1987 (inclusive), 1909-1965 (bulk)
Date(s): 1909-1987
Date(s): 1909-1965
Quantity: 1.9 linear feet (4+1/2 file boxes) plus 1 oversize folder, 1 videotape)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, articles, speeches, notes, clippings, and awards of physician Alice Hamilton.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 53-28, 70-lll, 88-M35
These papers of Alice Hamilton were given to the Schlesinger Library in May 1953 and September 1970 by Alice Hamilton. The videotape was a gift of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in March 1988.

Processing Information:

Processed: August 1983
By: Krystyna von Henneberg
Updated: April 2015
By: Anne Engelhart


Access. Unrestricted. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. The donor has transferred any copyright she held in these papers to Radcliffe College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in some papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the director of the Schlesinger Library before publishing quotations from materials in the collection.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Alice Hamilton Papers, 1909-1987; item description, dates. A-22, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Hamilton family papers, 1818-1974 (MC 278); Hamilton family papers, 1879-1947 (84-M210); and Hamilton family additional papers, 1850-1976 (83-M175).


Following is a chronology of Alice Hamilton's life and work. For further information, see Notable American Women: The Modern Period and Hamilton's autobiography, Exploring the Dangerous Trades (Boston: Little, Brown, 1942). See also Hamilton family papers (MC 278), available on microfilm (M-24).




The collection is arranged in four series:


As indicated above, these papers came to the Schlesinger Library in two separate installments. The first was divided, probably by the processor, into three sections: biographical papers, "Non-Medical Controversies," and "Medical Investigations and Controversies." Published items were individually numbered, with folder titles giving only the numbers of the items they contained. The 1971 accession, consisting of Hamilton papers temporarily in the possession of her colleague Harriet Hardy, was simply added on to the original collection. In reprocessing the papers, the processor has integrated the two accessions, maintaining the distinction between medical and non-medical papers, but adding other categories to make a total of four series.
Series I, Biographical material, consists of articles about Hamilton; letters written by Hamilton to her family from Europe, awards (with relevant clippings); and papers (correspondence, including letters of appointment, speeches, notes, clippings) concerning four of her professional appointments and affiliations (arranged in chronological order by content): Harvard professorship, Hull House, Health Committee of the League of Nations, and Herbert Hoover's President's Research Committee on Social Trends. This series also contains a few items of uncertain date or authorship.
Series II, Political and civil liberties issues, documents Hamilton's interests or involvement in such political issues as the Equal Rights Amendment, the position of the Catholic Church on conscientious objection to military service, United States diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, and the trials of Sacco and Vanzetti and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. The series consists mainly of correspondence, clippings, letters to the editor, speeches, and includes letters from Albert Einstein (#13 and #21), Felix Frankfurter (#18, 20, 23) and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (#21).
Series III, Speeches and writings, contains published articles by Hamilton in non-medical subjects, dealing with political and social conditions in Germany in the 1920's and 1930's; autobiographical articles; correspondence about and reviews of her autobiography; and speeches on non-medical. subjects Hamilton gave at secondary schools. Hamilton's speeches and writings also appear in other series, with papers to which they pertain (e.g., re: Jane Addams's death, in #6 and Sacco and Vanzetti in #14).
Series IV, Medical and professional papers, is the largest series in the collection, and contains correspondence, notes, speeches, articles and reviews of publications, by Hamilton and by others. For the most part, these materials have been arranged according to the chemicals whose structure or effects they describe. Papers concerning simple chemicals have usually been filed with papers dealing with their derivatives or compounds, while papers concerning chemicals that are chemically related and used in the same industry are filed together (e.g., #39-43 concern benzene, aniline and diphenyl, all used in the manufacture of dyes). In other cases, materials have been combined because they deal with a specific factory, company, industry, disease or group of people affected by a chemical or a labor practice. Some folders deal with specific controversies stemming from industry protests of Hamilton's statements concerning the effects of a material or chemical employed by the industry. With the exception of #81-84 (which deal with various substances and industries and have been placed at the end of the series), the series is arranged chronologically according to the first item in a folder or group of folders.

Container list

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Belgium--History--German occupation, 1914-1918
Birth control--Religious aspects--Catholic Church
Child labor
Conscientious objectors
Equal rights amendments
Factory inspection
Germany--Politics and government--20th century
Industrial hygiene
Industrial toxicology
International Congress of Women (1919 : Zurich, Switzerland)
Medicine, Industrial
Occupational diseases
Sacco-Vanzetti Trial, Dedham, Mass., 1921
Scientists--United States
Soviet Union--Description and travel
Soviet Union--Relations--United States
United States--Relations--Soviet Union
Women in medicine
Women in science--United States
Women physicians
Women scientists--United States
Work environment
Working class
World War, 1914-1918--Food supply
World War, 1939-1945--Food supply
Addams, Jane, 1860-1935
American Academy of Occupational Medicine
American Committee for Democracy and Intellectual Freedom
American Medical Women's Association
American Public Health Association
Consumers League of New Jersey
Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955
Evans, Elizabeth Glendower, 1856-1937
Flynn, Elizabeth Gurley
Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965
General Electric Company
Hardy, Harriet Louise, 1906-1993
Harvard Medical School
Harvard School of Public Health
Hiss, Alger
Inman, Mary, 1894-1986
International Labour Office
Kitchelt, Florence Ledyard Cross, 1874-1961
League of Nations. Health Committee
Miss Porter's School (Farmington, Conn.)
National Consumers' League
National Woman's Party
Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania
Woolley, Mary Emma, 1863-1947
Young Women's Christian Association of the U.S.A.