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BWH c3

Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. Records, 1830– (inclusive), 1911–1980 (bulk): 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.: BWH c3
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Creator: Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.
Title: Peter Bent Brigham Hospital Records, 1830– (inclusive), 1911–1980 (bulk).
Date(s): 1830– (inclusive),
Date(s): 1911–1980 (bulk).
Quantity: 1 collection (67.72 cubic feet in 42 records center cartons, 39 oversize boxes, 3 index card boxes, 2 letter size document boxes, 3 half letter size document boxes, 1 cylindrical storage case for rolled drawings, 1 oversize drawer, and 1 shelf.)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The Peter Bent Brigham Hospital records are the product of the hospital's administrative, fundraising, publication, and public relations activities, as well as construction projects and training programs. The bulk of the records date from 1911 through 1980.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The majority of the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital Records 1830– (inclusive), 1911–1980 (bulk) were placed on deposit with the Harvard Medical Library in 2001 by the Brigham and Women's Hospital. Some of the collection was transferred from the Brigham and Women's Hospital Medical Library to the Harvard Medical Library in 2005. Additional material was added as the following accessions: numbers 2007-005, 2007-061, 2008-024, 2009-019, 2009-032, 2009-046, 2010-062, 2012-024, 2013-121, 2014-013, 2014-039, 2014-054, 2014-079, 2015-011, 2015-035, 2015-60, 2017-139, 2017-204, 2018-136, and 2018-143.

Custodial History:

Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) owns the records described in this finding aid. The Harvard Medical Library entered into a contract in 2001 to act as the repository for some of BWH's archival records. Before the transfer to the Harvard Medical Library, many of the records were in storage at various locations within the BWH. In 2005, additions to the collection were assembled and transferred from a BWH storage facility at 850 Boylston Street, Boston, MA by Anne Fladger, Director of the BWH Medical Library.

Processing Information:

Gabrielle Burgman created a preliminary box and folder list in 2005. Unprocessed parts of this collection and new acquisitions were processed and this finding aid was completed by Catherine Pate at the Center for the History of Medicine in June, 2014. A revised version was published in 2016.
Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine started processing the archival records of the Brigham and Women's Hospital under a service agreement with the BWH in 2001. The records, transferred in bulk from the BWH, were made up of records from all the individual hospitals that eventually merged to become the Affiliated Hospitals Center (AHC), which in turn became Brigham and Women's Hospital. Processing staff made the decision to organize the records by their provenance, and processed and described each individual hospital's records separately. Consequently, the original transfer yielded seven groups of records, one of which is the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital records.
The records for each hospital were organized into series and described based on practices used at the Harvard Medical School Archives. Processing for this collection also involved primary preservation, arrangement, and the creation of this detailed finding aid to improve access. Duplicate records and records that did not meet the archival collection goals of the Brigham and Women's Hospital Medical Library were discarded.

Conditions Governing Access:

Access requires advance notice. Access to unpublished administrative records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. Patient information is restricted indefinitely. Restricted records, except restricted patient photographs, are noted in the finding aid. Researchers may apply for access to restricted material. Contact the Director of Brigham and Women's Hospital Medical Library BWHMedicalLibrary@partners.org for further information.

Conditions Governing Use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to the Director of Brigham and Women's Hospital Medical Library. (Email: BWHMedicalLibrary@partners.org. However, the Brigham and Women's Hospital does not hold copyright on all the materials in this collection. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Director are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright.

Preferred Citation:

Peter Bent Brigham Hospital Records, 1830– (inclusive), 1911–1980 (bulk). BWH c3. Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

Related Collections in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Center for the History of Medicine.

Related Material at Other Institutions

Separated Materials

Two boxes of material containing medicines and medical instruments related to Dr. William Parry Murphy were separated from this collection and donated to the Warren Anatomical Museum, Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.
One box of personal correspondence between Dr. William Parry Murphy and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Harriett Adams Murphy, and one lab notebook he wrote as an undergraduate, were separated from this collection and donated to the Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine for their collection of Dr. Murphy's personal papers.
Patient records related to kidney transplantation were returned to the hospital.
Several rare books written by prominent staff members were separated from this collection and returned to the Brigham and Women's Hospital Medical Library.

Historical Notes

The Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (PBBH) was named for the founding donor. Brigham amassed his wealth during the 19th century through restaurants and real estate investments. Upon his death in 1877, the trustees of his estate were instructed to invest his legacy for 25 years and then use the money to build a hospital for the "care of sick persons in indigent circumstances residing in the county of Suffolk." The culmination of the 25-year waiting period coincided with the relocation of Harvard Medical School to the Longwood area of Boston, and with Harvard's desire for its own dedicated teaching hospital. An informal alliance was agreed upon between the trustees of both institutions. The Brigham trustees would purchase land from Harvard for its hospital next to the medical school, and HMS trustees would be allowed to nominate medical staff to the hospital and have access for its students. Henry A. Christian, MD was recruited to be the first Chief-of-Medicine, and Harvey Cushing, MD was recruited to be the first Surgeon-in-Chief.
Construction of the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital began in 1911 on land along Francis Street in Boston. It was designed in the pavilion style, consisting of main administration buildings, including a nurses' residence, as well as several separate ward buildings, connected by an outdoor walkway, allowing for maximum light and air for the patients. There were no formal opening exercises for the hospital but significant milestones in 1913 marked its transition to an active institution. While the hospital was still under construction the first surgical patient was admitted on January 27, 1913. On March 31, 1913, the first medical patient was admitted to the first of the regular ward buildings to be completed. On April 30, 1913, Sir William Osler, credited with the original idea for medical residency, and whose teachings greatly influenced the organization of the hospital's own resident training program, gave a formal address to the assembled staff, marking an unofficial opening day. On November 12, 1914, a Founder's Day celebration was held, which was the first, formal hospital event. The Peter Bent Brigham Hospital School of Nursing (1912–1985) helmed by Carrie M. Hall, RN, had already started training young women as early as November of 1912.
In addition to patient care and medical instruction, the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital supported medical research. The doctors and researchers at the PBBH made many advancements in the field of medicine, including the cure for pernicious anemia, the first heart valve surgery, the first successful organ transplant, and the development of neurosurgery as a specialty. Some of the individuals whose work at PBBH significantly advanced medical science include Dr. Francis Moore, considered the "father of modern surgery," Dr. Harvey Cushing, a pioneer in neurosurgery, Dr. Samuel A. Levine, a key figure in modern cardiology, and Dr. Elliott Cutler, second Surgeon-in-Chief and co-author of Atlas of Surgical Operations. Dr. William Parry Murphy, with two others, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1934 for the discovery of the cure for pernicious anemia. In 1949, Dr. Carl Walter, developed a way to collect, store and transfuse blood. Dr. Joseph E. Murray was the 1990 co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for organ and tissue transplant techniques. He, along with PBBH Drs. John Merrill, J. Hartwell Harrison, George W. Thorn, and Gustave Dammin, achieved the first successful kidney transplant in 1954. Nurse Carrie M. Hall was a leader in the evolution of professional nursing education.
In 1975, the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital merged with the Boston Hospital for Women (itself the result of a 1966 merger between the Boston Lying-in Hospital and the Free Hospital for Women) and the Robert B. Brigham Hospital, forming the Affiliated Hospitals Center, Inc. In 1980, at the time of the opening of a new state-of-the-art facility, the Affiliated Hospitals Center, Inc. was renamed as the "Brigham and Women's Hospital, a Teaching Affiliate of the Harvard Medical School."


Series and Subseries in the Collection

Scope and Contents

Peter Bent Brigham Hospital Records include, primarily, those records that were created during the time period PBBH was a separate record creating entity—before its merger with Boston Hospital for Women and Robert B. Brigham Hospital to form Affiliated Hospitals Center, Inc. (AHC) in 1975, and while it operated as a division of AHC until 1980. The PBBH records include all of the hospital's annual reports, PBBH Executive Committee Meeting Minutes from 1912–1980, and Trustee meeting records 1902–1975. The collection includes 1911 construction records the for original hospital building, as well as for later additions. Visual material, i.e., photograph prints, slides, and negatives, comprise the largest portion of the collection and provide images of the hospital, staff, and activities from 1911–1980. Issues of the hospital newsletter Brigham Bulletin, cover hospital news from 1943–1977. Additionally, there is a large collection of hospital related artifacts and memorabilia, as well as records from the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital School of Nursing, 1912–1985. The Nursing School records include, on microfilm, all student admission and transcript information. The collection does not include medical records or research records.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Teaching hospitals.
Hospital mergers.
Administrators in Medicine.
Nursing schools.
Hospitals, Teaching
Schools, Nursing
Hospital Administration
Health Facility Merger
Gray literature.
Brigham, Peter Bent, 1807–1877.
Christian, Henry A.(Henry Asbury), 1876–1951.
Codding, Mildred B.
Cushing, Harvey, 1869–1939.
Cutler, Elliott Carr, 1888–1947.
Dammin, Gustave J. (Gustave John), 1911–.
Levine, Samuel A. (Samuel Albert), 1891–1966.
Moore, Francis D. (Francis Daniels), 1913–2001.
Murray, Joseph E., 1919–2012.
Thorn, George W. (George Widmer), 1906–2004.
Weiss, Soma, 1899–1942.
Wolbach, S. Burt (Simeon Burt), 1880–1954.
Affiliated Hospitals Center (Boston, Mass.).
Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.
Harvard Medical School.