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H MS c314

Hiatt, Howard H. Papers, 1940-2001 (inclusive), 1975-2001 (bulk): Finding Aid.

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

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

© President and Fellows of Harvard College


The Howard H. Hiatt Papers were processed with grant funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as awarded and administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), 2010.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: H MS c314
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Creator: Hiatt, Howard H.
Title: Howard H. Hiatt papers,
Date(s): 1940-2001 (inclusive),
Date(s): 1975-2001 (bulk).
Quantity: 18 cubic feet ( (17 records storage cartons and 1 document box).)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: Records in the Howard H. Hiatt papers were created by Hiatt during the course of his career as Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Physician-in-Chief at Beth Israel Hospital from 1941 to 2001. The collection also includes records of Hiatt's activities as a physician, researcher, educator, medical school administrator, and contributing member of national and international professional health care boards and foundations. His early research focused mainly on the application of molecular biology to medical problems, particularly cancer.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

  • Accession number 2002-031. The Howard H. Hiatt papers were donated to the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine by Howard H. Hiatt on 07 January 2002.
  • Processing Information:

    Processed by Michael Dello Iacono and Suzanne Denison June 2010.
    Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine analyzed, arranged, and described the records and created a finding aid to improve access to the collection. To enhance preservation, processing staff removed hanging folders, reducing the volume of the collection. Records were re-housed in acid-free folders, and preservation photocopying was performed on acidic paper, newspaper clippings, and on items that contained adhesives. Duplicate records, office supply documents, reprints, and vendor contracts and correspondence, and records that did not meet the collection policy of the Center for the History of Medicine were discarded. All folder titles were transcribed from the originals.

    Conditions Governing Access:

    Access requires advance notice. Access to Harvard Unviersity records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. Access to personal and patient information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions appear in all series. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult the Public Services Librarian for further information.
    The papers are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to contact reference staff for more information concerning retrieval of material.

    Conditions Governing Use:

    The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all the materials in the collection. 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:

    Howard H. Hiatt Papers, 1940-2001 (inclusive), 1975-2001 (bulk), H MS c314. Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts.

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

    Biographical Notes

    Howard H. Hiatt (1925-), M.D., 1948, Harvard Medical School, joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School in 1955, was the first Herrman L. Blumgart Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Physician-in-Chief at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, from 1963 to 1972, and Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health from 1972 to 1984. From 1988 to 1990, he was the Head of the Center for Policy and Education, Harvard AIDS Institute. Hiatt specialized in oncology and internal medicine, molecular biology, and biochemistry. He was also known for his public speeches and essays on the human consequences of nuclear war. During his tenure as Dean, the Harvard School of Public Health introduced teaching and research focused on molecular and cell biology, initiated programs in health policy and management, and biostatistics. Hiatt also integrated Harvard School of Public Health's teaching and research programs with those in other Harvard University faculties, in an attempt to encourage cross-disciplinary research to bring together medicine and social science in the curriculum.
    Howard Haym Hiatt was born in Patchogue, New York in 1925. He enrolled in Harvard College in 1944, and after two years, entered Harvard Medical School as part of an accelerated program to supply doctors to the armed services. He received an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1948, and, no longer having to serve in the army, was able to pursue postdoctoral training directly at Boston's Beth Israel Hospital, New York Hospital, and Cornell Medical College, followed by a faculty appointment as Assistant in Medicine at the University of Chicago Hospital from 1952 to 1953. After working as an Investigator for the National Institutes of Health from 1953 to 1955, Hiatt accepted an appointment as an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School in 1955.
    Hiatt's early research focused on the application of molecular biology to medical problems, particularly cancer. He was a member of the team at the Pasteur Institute, Paris, that first identified and described messenger RNA, and he was among the first to demonstrate messenger RNA in mammalian cells. In 1963, he accepted the Herrman L. Blumgart Professor of Medicine position at Harvard Medical School. In 1972, while working as Physician-In-Chief at Beth Israel Hospital, he was appointed Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health. While Dean, Hiatt made the Harvard School of Public Health a leader in the biological and decision sciences, health policy and management, and introduced molecular and cell biology into its research and teaching. In 1983, Hiatt was instrumental in starting the Takemi Program in International Health, which aims to advance knowledge about international health and to contribute to institutional development and improvement of national policy.
    During the course of his career, Hiatt authored numerous research articles on diverse topics such as disease prevention, delivery of health care and services, and the health and human consequences of nuclear war. His articles have appeared in Journal of Molecular Biology, Journal of Biological Chemistry, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and the Journal of the American Medical Association. His book, Medical Lifeboat: Will There Be Room For You in the Health Care System? (1989) confronted and offered solutions to major problems in the American health care system. He is also the co-author, with Paul C. Weiler, of A Measure of Malpractice: Medical Injury, Malpractice Litigation, and Patient Compensation, which presents the findings of the Harvard Medical Practice Study, a comprehensive investigation of the performance of the medical malpractice system.
    Hiatt married Doris Bieringer (died 2007), a librarian who co-founded a reference publication for high school libraries, in 1948 and had three children: Frederick (born 1955), Deborah, and Johnathan.

    Series and Subseries in the Collection

    Scope and Content

    Records in the Howard H. Hiatt Papers were created by Hiatt during the course of his career as Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Physician-in-Chief at Beth Israel Hospital from 1941 to 2001. Records in this collection consist of: personal and professional correspondence and subject files from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Beth Israel Hospital, and Harvard School of Public Health departments and offices, including the Office for Diversity, the Department of Health Policy and Management, the Harvard AIDS Institute, the Takemi Program for International Health, the Office of Program Planning, the Harvard School of Public Health Development Office, and the Center for the Analysis of Health Practices; ad-hoc and standing committee records such as the Advisory Committee on Planning, the Affirmative Action Committee, and the Chernin Committee on Outside Professional Activities; notes, book reviews, research files, and draft writings and publications on subjects such as nuclear disarmament, end of life care, and health resource allocation; executive administrative files including curriculum development records, meeting minutes, appointment books, grant proposals and reports; research data, lab notes, and reports from the Brigham and Women's Medical Intensive Care Unit (Medical Intensive Care Unit) Study and the Harvard Medical Practice Study; speech and lecture files and notes; newspaper articles and magazine clippings; conference and professional organization materials; and a smaller number of photographs and memorabilia.
    Materials are mostly in English, with a very small number of records in French.

    Container List

    Additional Index Terms

    Antinuclear movement.
    Clinical Medicine.
    Medical education
    Malpractice -- Economic aspects -- Research -- United States.
    Terminal care.
    Hiatt, Howard H.
    Harvard School of Public Health
    Harvard School of Public Health. Office of the Dean.
    Harvard School of Public Health. Takemi Program in International Health.
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
    Brigham and Women's Hospital.
    Beth Israel Hospital (Boston, Mass.)
    Harvard Medical School.

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