[OASIS] Harvard University Library
OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HMS.Count:med00149View HOLLIS Record   Frames Version
Questions or Comments   Copyright Statement
H MS c368

Solomon, Harry C. (Harry Caesar), 1889-1982. Papers, 1916-1968 (inclusive), 1967-1968 (bulk): Finding Aid

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

[link]


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

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: H MS c368
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Creator: Solomon, Harry C. (Harry Caesar), 1889-1982.
Title: Harry C. Solomon papers,
Date(s): 1916-1968 (inclusive),
Date(s): 1967-1968 (bulk).
Quantity: 1.15 cubic feet (1 records center carton and 1 microfiche box)
Language of materials: Records are in English.
Abstract: Consists of transcripts of oral history interviews conducted between 1967 and 1968 with and about Harry C. Solomon (1889-1982) regarding his career as a psychiatrist and mental health reformer. The collection also includes professional records created and collected by Solomon during his early medical career, including autopsy reports from his service with the United States military in France during World War I, correspondence, manuscript drafts, and research note cards.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Gifted to the Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, by Harry C. and Maida H. Solomon and by Mrs. Evelyn Stone of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, 1972.

Processing Information:

Processed by Hanna Clutterbuck, August 2011.
Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine refoldered and described the collection and created a finding aid to improve access. Metal clips fouund damaging the records were removed and fragile paper was photocopied. Correspondence and manuscripts were removed from a folder of clippings and foldered separately. Correspondence between Richard J. Wolfe and Carol Franz concerning the transcription of the Solomon oral histories has been kept with the transcriptions, but the dates of the correspondence have not been factored into the date span for the collection as a whole. Nine audio cassette tapes containing an oral history interview with Arthur K. Solomon inadvertantly stored with this collection were removed and accessioned separately.

Conditions Governing Access:

Access requires advance notice. The Papers are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to contact Public Services 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 Public Services. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from Public Services are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright.

Preferred Citation:

Harry C. Solomon papers, 1916-1968 (inclusive). H MS c368. 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

Biographical Notes

Harry Caesar Solomon (1889-1982), B.S., 1910, University of California, Berkeley, and M.D., 1914, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, was an Assistant in Neuropathology at Harvard Medical School, an intern at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital, Visiting Neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and Visiting Neuropsychiatrist at Beth Israel Hospital, Boston. Solomon was appointed Medical Director of the Boston Psychopathic Hospital in 1943 and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in 1944, a position he held until he retired from Harvard in 1959. In 1958, Solomon was appointed Mental Health Commissioner for Massachusetts. Throughout his career, he was a practicing psychiatrist and mental health reformer.
Harry C. Solomon was born in Hastings, Nebraska, in 1889, to Jacob and Lena (Fist) Solomon. The Solomons moved from Nebraska to Los Angeles, California, where Solomon attended high school. In 1910, he graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with honors. He subsequently attended Harvard Medical School and graduated in 1914. Upon graduation, Solomon took a position as an Assistant in Neuropathology at Harvard Medical School and an internship at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital, under Elmer Ernest Southard (1876-1920). During World War I, Solomon served with the United States Army Medical Corps in 1918 and 1919. Upon his return to Boston, Solomon served as Visiting Neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Visiting Neuropsychiatrist at the Beth Israel Hospital, as well as taking a position at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital as Chief of Therapeutic Research. Solomon joined Harvard Medical School as an Instructor in Psychiatry and Neuropathology in 1919; he became the Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in 1944. In 1943, he was named Medical Director of the Boston Psychopathic Hospital. In 1958, Solomon was named as Commissioner of Mental Health for Massachusetts, a position which he held for eight years. He retired from Harvard in 1959.
Solomon was a psychiatrist and mental health reformer, working through his career to mitigate treatment of the institutionalized mentally ill and reform the treatment of mental illness in general. In his position at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital (renamed the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in 1967 and closed in 2003 with services transitioning to the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital) and other institutions, Solomon worked to eliminate the harsh treatment of patients and make the mental health hospital more of a therapeutic center and less of a restraint system. He introduced an open-door policy, allowed patients to wear their own clothing, and eliminated tub therapy, wet sheet packs, restraints, and excessive drug treatment. Solomon held the presidency of the New England Society of Psychiatry (1938-1939), the American Neurological Association (1941), the Society for Biological Psychiatry (1950-1951), the Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease (1956), and the American Psychiatric Association (1957). He worked closely through his career with his wife, psychiatric social worker Maida Herman Solomon (1891-1988).
Solomon married Maida Herman in 1916. They had four children: Peter; Joseph; H. Eric; and Babette. Solomon died 23 May 1982 at the age of ninety-two. Maida Herman died in 1988 of a heart attack at age ninety-six.

Series and Subseries in the Collection

Scope and Content

The Harry C. Solomon Papers, 1916-1968 (inclusive), consist of transcripts of oral history interviews conducted with and about Solomon between 1967 and 1968 and a small amount of professional material gathered or created by Solomon in the course of his early medical career. Interviewers included J. Sanborn Bachoven and Evelyn M. Stone (an Executive Editor for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health); supplemental interviews about Solomon were conducted with psychiatrist Dana L. Farnsworth (1905-1986) and neurologist Augustus S. Rose (1907-1989). Audiocassettes for these interviews are no longer extant.
The collection is divided into two series: Series I. Oral History Transcripts and Related Materials, 1967-1968, and Series II. Assorted Professional Records, 1916-1919. Series I consists of transcripts created from the taped oral history interviews and correspondence between Richard J. Wolfe, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, and Carol Franz, the contracted transcriptionist, concerning the transcription process. Series II consists of autopsy records from the United States Army's American Expeditionary Force in France during World War I, anti-venereal disease newspaper and magazine clippings and pamphlets from the same era, correspondence, manuscript drafts, student notes from a lecture Solomon gave in 1916 on syphilis, and research note cards.
Materials are entirely in English.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Interview
Oral histories (document genres).
Oral history transcript.
Physicians -- Biography.
Psychiatry -- History
Sexually transmitted diseases -- Prevention.
Sexually Transmitted Disease -- Prevention & control
Bachoven, J. Sanborn, interviewer.
Farnsworth, Dana L., interviewee.
Rose, Augustus S., 1907-, interviewee.
Solomon, Harry C. (Harry Caesar), 1889-1982.
Solomon, Maida Herman, 1891-1988.
Stone, Evelyn M., interviewer.
Boston State Hospital -- Psychopathic Dept.
Massachusetts Mental Health Center.
United States -- Army -- American Expeditionary Forces.

med00149