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H MS c339

Morrison, H. (Hyman), b. 1881. Papers, 1899-1970 (inclusive), 1920-1963 (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

Processing of the H. (Hyman) Morrison Papers was funded by Peter V. Tishler, M.D.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: H MS c339
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Title: Hyman Morrison Papers,
Date(s): 1899-1970 (inclusive),
Date(s): 1920-1963 (bulk).
Quantity: 1 collection (3 cubic feet (2 records center cartons, 1 half size document box, and 1 oversize flat box).)
Abstract: The Hyman Morrison Papers (1899-1970) consist of personal and professional correspondence, records of research activity, and miscellaneous records from the career of Hyman Morrison as a physician, an active member of the Boston, Massachusetts Jewish and medical communities, and a medical historian.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The Hyman Morrison Papers were gifted to the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine by Ruth Smullin and Joseph Spivack in one accession, 2011-005.

Processing Information:

Processed by Hanna Clutterbuck, September 2010.
Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine refoldered, arranged, and described material and created a finding aid to improve access. The material was received in the Center in no discernible order. As no original order was evident, the material was grouped, rehoused, and, where necessary, photocopied for preservation purposes. Duplicates of reprints authored by Morrison were discarded, along with envelopes and pre-existing folders with no useful markings or annotations. Approximately a half-cubic foot of tax materials were removed from the collection.

Conditions Governing Access:

Access requires advance notice. There are no restrictions on this collection. Contact the Public Services Librarian for further information.
The Papers are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to contact Public Services 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:

Hyman Morrison Papers, 1899-1970 (inclusive), 1920-1963 (bulk). H MS c339. Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts.

Biographical Notes

Hyman Morrison (1881-1963), A.B., 1905, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; M.D., 1908, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, was a visiting physician at Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, a clinical professor of medicine at Tufts College Medical School (now Tufts University School of Medicine) in Medford, Massachusetts, and Chief of Medicine at Boston State Hospital, Massachusetts. Morrison's main areas of research included Jewish nervous disorders, including extensive work contesting the diagnosis of "Hebraic debility," tuberculosis of the appendix, and the life and work of physicians Reginald Heber Fitz (1843-1913) and Thomas Hodgkin (1798-1866).
Hyman Morrison was born in October 1881 in Vilna, Russia. He emigrated with his family to the United States in 1893. Morrison attended English High School in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, and, after graduation, was accepted to Harvard University. He received an A.B. degree with high distinction from Harvard University in 1905; during his time at Harvard, he was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He moved immediately into the Harvard Medical School and graduated with his M.D. in 1908.
During his time as a student, Morrison worked on research to debate the prevailing diagnosis of "Hebraic debility," a term often applied to Jewish immigrants suffering from non-specific ailments including fatigue, muscle or joint pain, weakness, or migraine. Morrison's work, which he continued after graduation, argued that such "debility" was only to be expected in individuals who had undergone such a drastic life-change as whole-sale immigration, often under traumatic circumstances. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Morrison took advantage of his posts at Beth Israel Hospital and Boston State Hospital to collect data for articles on gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes mellitus, and diseases in the erythema group.
Morrison had a strong interest in medical history, researching and writing a biography of Harvard Medical School professor Reginald Heber Fitz (1843-1913). Fitz was a professor of Morrison's during his time at Harvard Medical School and was responsible for influential articles on the diagnosis and treatment of appendicitis and other abdominal disorders. Morrison also did work on the life of English doctor Thomas Hodgkin. Hodgkin was responsible for the original diagnosis of the disease now known as Hodgkin's lymphoma; he was also part of the movement to popularize the use of the stethoscope.
During his life time, Morrison used his research on Hodgkin to publish "Doctors Afield" in 1954 and his research on Fitz for several articles, including "The Chapter on Appendicitis in a Biography of Reginald Heber Fitz" (1946) and "Reginald Heber Fitz" (1941). His other major publications included: "Tuberculosis Located in the Vermiform Appendix" (1952); "A Study of the Incidence of Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis at the Massachusetts General Hospital" (1927); "A Study of the Fatal Cases of Diabetes Mellitus in Boston from 1895 to 1913, with Special Reference to Its Occurrence Among Jews" (1916); and "A Biologic Interpretation of Jewish Survival" (circa 1937). Morrison also published a translation of Paul Langerhans' work on the survey of the pancreas, "Contribution to the Microscopic Anatomy of the Pancreas" (1937).
Morrison was a member of the Boston Medical History Club and served as Vice-President in 1932; he presented several papers before its membership, including draft versions of what were then revised into published articles. He was also a member of the Greater Boston Medical Society and the Massachusetts Medical Society.
Morrison married Rose Levine (died 1960). They had three daughters: Flora Mildred, Judith, and Miriam. Hyman Morrison died in 1963 in Belmont, Massachusetts, of carcinoma of the stomach.

Resources about Hyman Morrison.

Series and Subseries in the Collection

Scope and Content

Papers reflect Hyman Morrison's work as a physician, researcher, and active member of the Jewish community in Boston, Massachusetts. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence related to Morrison's activities with Zionist organizations and his interest in researching nineteenth century physicians. Morrison was involved in fundraising efforts for various Zionist and medical groups, primarily the American Jewish Physicians' Committee and, later, the American Physicians' Fellowship Committee of the Israel Medical Association. He was a valued contact for refugee groups trying to place Jewish doctors and medical personnel during the 1930s and 1940s, and he helped to raise funds for the Medical School of Hebrew University in Jerusalem and, as a trustee, for the Hebrew Teachers' College in Brookline, Massachusetts. In honor of his sixtieth birthday, friends, patients, and colleagues in the Boston area raised funds to create and name a laboratory at Hebrew University in Morrison's honor.
Series I, Personal and Professional Correspondence, includes folders of holiday and "get well" cards and a folder of letters from Louis Chase, a medical student studying in Germany between 1929 and 1934 that illustrate the life of a medical student in pre-World War II Germany. Series II, Writings and Reprints, includes drafts and galley proofs for Morrison's writings, reprints of many of his articles, and research materials he collected in the course of his work, particularly on Hodgkin and Heber Fitz. Series III, Miscellaneous Records, comprises a variety of material from Morrison's personal life, including the funeral register for his wife, Rose Morrison, photographs of Morrison, and certificates appointing Morrison to various medical positions.
The bulk of the papers are in English. There are materials in Hebrew and German in all series and additional materials in French in Series II: Writings and Reprints: Subseries C: Research Materials.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

History -- Research
Appendicitis -- History
Endocarditis, Bacterial
Tuberculosis -- History
Jewish physicians
Jews -- History -- 20th century -- Massachusetts -- Boston region
Jews -- Health and hygiene -- History
Medical students -- Germany -- Correspondence
Diseases -- History -- 20th century
Jews -- Germany -- Berlin -- 20th century
Diabetes Mellitus -- History
Boston (Mass.).
Wood blocks (printing blocks)
Morrison, H. (Hyman), b. 1881
Chase, Louis
Fitz, Reginald Heber, 1843-1913
Hodgkin, Thomas, 1798-1866
American Jewish Physicians' Committee
Histadrut ha-refuit be-Yisrael
Phi Lambda Kappa Medical Fraternity
Tufts University. School of Medicine