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GA 55

Minot, George Richards, 1885-1950. Papers, 1891-1951: A Finding Aid.

Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)


Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: GA 55
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Creator: Minot, George Richards,
Title: George Richards Minot Papers, 1891-1951.
Date(s): 1891-1951.
Quantity: 1 collection (7.15 cubic ft. in 6 record cartons, 2 document boxes, 1 legal document box, and 1 half document box.)
Abstract: The George Richards Minot Papers, 1891-1951, are the product of Minot's work as Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of Boston City Hospital's Harvard Medical Unit and the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory from 1928-1950. His research focused on blood and nutrition. Minot was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology in 1934 for his discovery that liver extract cured pernicious anemia.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The George Richards Minot Papers were acquired by the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.
  • Janet Vaughan donated a portion of the collection to the Harvard Medical Library in 1976.
  • Accession 2004-013. Donated to the Harvard Medical Library by Walter Abelmann, October 1, 2003.
  • Accession 2008-065. Donated to the Harvard Medical Library by Liza Groves, May 8, 2008.
  • Accession 2008-068. Harvard Medical Library, May 14, 2008.
  • Processing Information:

    Processed by Susan McGoey, July 2002
    The George Richards Minot Papers were accessed by call number GA 55. Seven cubic feet of records were integrated into twelve series. Approximately half of a cubic foot of newspaper clippings and unrelated records was discarded.

    Conditions Governing Access:

    Access requires advance notice. There are restrictions on access to portions of this collection. Access to patient and personal information is restricted for 80 years. These restrictions are noted where they appear in Series III, IV,V,VII, IX, X, and XII. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult the Public Services Librarian for further information.

    Conditions Governing Use:

    The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all the materials in the collections. Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to the Public Services Librarian. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Public Services Librarian are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright. Reference Services and Access Information.

    Preferred Citation:

    George Richards Minot papers, 1891-1951. GA 55. Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

    Related Materials

    Related collections in the Center for the History of Medicine include the:
    For more information on related materials, consult the Public Services Librarian.


    George Richards Minot, 1885-1950, was Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Director of the Harvard Medical Unit and Thorndike Memorial Laboratory (TML) at Boston City Hospital (BCH). His studies of blood and nutrition led to the discovery that liver cured pernicious anemia, for which he won the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 1934. Minot was born in Boston, Massachusetts on 2 December 1885 to James Jackson Minot (1853-1938) and Elizabeth Whitney Minot (1860-1903). Minot received the AB cum laude from Harvard College in 1908, the MD cum laude from HMS in 1912, and was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from HMS in 1928. He married Marian Linzee Weld (1890-1979) on 29 June 1915, and they had three children.
    Following graduation from HMS, Minot spent one year as a House Pupil at MGH. In December 1913, he began a year at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, where he worked as an Assistant Resident Physician under William Sydney Thayer, and as a research fellow in William H. Howell's physiology laboratory. At Johns Hopkins Minot was involved with blood coagulation research and published his first paper on anemia, specifically the effects of splenectomy on nitrogen metabolism in pernicious anemia. He moved back to Boston in 1915 where he stayed for the remainder of his life.
    Minot was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine at HMS in 1918 and Professor of Medicine in 1928. During his career, he was associated with a number of HMS teaching hospitals, including MGH and the Collis P. Huntington Memorial Hospital (CPHMH). At MGH he began as an Assistant in Medicine in 1915 and by 1927 was a Member of the Board of Consultation. At the Huntington he was appointed Assistant Consulting Physician in 1917 and later Physician and Chief of Medical Laboratories in 1923. During this time, he was also Associate in Medicine at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. In 1928, he was appointed Director of the TML at BCH, succeeding his friend and mentor, Francis W. Peabody. He was also appointed chief of the BCH Harvard Medical Unit's Fourth Medical Service in 1928 and Second Medical Service in 1930. Under Minot's leadership, the TML became one of America's leading clinical research laboratories.
    Minot was known for the care and concern he paid both to the research fellows at TML and to his HMS students. He spent significant time encouraging careers and facilitating an atmosphere of exploration and innovation. The TML, under Minot, played an important role in the development of future leaders in academic medicine.
    It was at the Huntington, and at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, that Minot conducted much of his research on diseases of the blood, including leukemia, lymphoma, and his pioneering work in pernicious anemia. In 1925, building on George H. Whipple's earlier work with anemic dogs, Minot and William P. Murphy began feeding liver to anemic patients, who after only a few weeks showed decided improvement in their conditions. This was followed by the development of a liver extract. In 1934, Minot, Murphy and Whipple were awarded the Noble Prize in Medicine or Physiology for discovering the liver cure for anemia. Minot received many other honors, including the National Institute of Social Science's Gold Medal in 1930, the Moxon Gold Medal of the Royal College of Physicians at London in 1933, and the Distinguished Service Medal from the American Medical Association in 1945.
    During his life, Minot published over 100 articles during his life on his research. He also edited books and journals, and maintained active memberships in many professional organizations, including the American College of Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the American Medical Association. He was interested in the history of medicine and was involved in the improvement of several libraries.
    Diagnosed with diabetes in 1921, Minot was one of the first people in Boston to receive insulin when it was made available in 1923. He suffered a cerebral thrombosis in 1947 which left him partially paralyzed, and died on February 25, 1950.

    Series and Subseries Arrangement


    Photographs and oversized materials are housed in box 9. Records containing personal and patient information in Series III, IV, V, VII, IX, X, and XII, and patient records listed in Series VII are housed in boxes 7 and 8; these records are restricted for 80 years.

    Scope and Content Note

    The George Richards Minot Papers, 1891-1951, contain records from Minot's administrative, teaching, research, and professional activities as a physician, professor, researcher, and clinician at HMS and BCH. In addition to his professional records, the collection contains one cubic foot of personal recods, most of which dates from 1907 to 1911, when he was a medical student at HMS. Professional records include those from his administrative, academic, professional activities, and his research on anemia and nutrition. The collection also contains one folder of photographs Nazi concentration camps and accompanying correspondence from Janet Vaughan, a colleague in England.

    Container List

    Additional Index Terms

    Concentration camps--photographs.
    Hematologic Diseases
    Nobel Prizes.
    Pernicious anemia.
    Starvation -- treatment.
    Minot, George Richards, 1885-1950.
    Cohn, Edwin J. (Edwin Joseph), 1892-1953.
    Joslin, Elliott Proctor, 1869-1962.
    Murphy, William Parry, 1892-
    Rackemann, Francis Minot, 1887-
    Vaughan, Janet.
    Boston City Hospital.
    Harvard Medical School -- Study and teaching.
    Harvard Medical School. Committee on the Chair of Anatomy.
    Harvard Medical School. Committee on Preventive Medicine.
    Harvard Medical School. Dept. of Medicine.
    Harvard School of Public Health. Committee on Future Development of the Harvard School of Public Health.