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B MS c117

Dameshek, William, 1900-. Papers, 1946-1969 (inclusive), 1962-1969 (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


Processing of William Dameshek papers was funded by the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine's Charles S. Minot Fund for Hematology.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: B MS c117
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Creator: Dameshek, William, 1900-
Title: William Dameshek papers,
Date(s): 1946-1969 (inclusive),
Date(s): 1962-1969 (bulk).
Quantity: 1 cubic feet ( (1 records center carton)
Language of materials: Records are in English.
Abstract: The William Dameshek papers, 1946-1969 (inclusive), 1962-1969 (bulk), are a product of Dameshek's hematology research on leukemia, anemia, blood diseases, and immunohematology, and his subsequent publishing activities.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The William Dameshek papers were bequeathed to the Boston Medical Library by William Dameshek. They were physically transferred to the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine in 1970.

Processing Information:

Processed by Amber LaFountain, 2012 February.
Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine analyzed, arranged, and described the papers, and created a finding aid to improve access. Items were rehoused and, where necessary, photocopied to acid-free paper. Folder titles were transcribed from the originals when available; titles supplied by the processing staff appear in brackets only on the physical folders.

Conditions Governing Access:

Access requires advance notice. Access to personal and patient information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. The end of the restricted period is noted with each folder. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.
The Papers are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to contact Public Services for more information concerning retrieval of material.

Conditions Governing Use:

The Boston 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:

William Dameshek papers, 1946-1969 (inclusive), 1962-1969 (bulk). B MS c117. Boston Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

Biographical Notes

William Dameshek (1900-1969), M.D., 1929, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, was Chief of the Blood Clinic at Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts (1928-1939), Senior Physician and Director of the Blood Research Laboratory at the New England Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts (1939-1966), Professor of Medicine at Tufts Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (1939-1966), Hematologist in Chief at the Boston Floating Hospital and Boston Dispensary, Massachusetts (1939-1966), and Attending Hematologist and Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York (1966-1969). Dameshek's research focused on various aspects of hematology, including blood production, leukemia, the interrelation of blood disorders, and immunohematology. He is considered to be among the first to identify an effective chemotherapy agent.
William Dameshek was born in Veronezh, Russia, in 1900 to Bessie Dameshek (1877-1974), and in 1903 relocated with his family to Medford, Massachusetts. He received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1923, completing his internship and residency at the Boston City Hospital, Massachusetts, and then working for three years in the hospital's hematology laboratory (1926-1928). From 1928 to 1939, he served as Chief of the Blood Clinic at Beth Israel Hospital. In 1939, Dameshek left Beth Israel Hospital for the New England Medical Center, where he established and directed the Blood Research Laboratory. Between 1939 and 1966, he also held additional appointments as Professor of Medicine at Tufts Medical School and Hematologist in Chief at the Boston Floating Hospital and the Boston Dispensary. Dameshek left New England Medical Center in 1966 to become Attending Hematologist and a Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical School (1966-1969).
Dameshek's work encompassed many areas of hematology, including blood production and blood cell lysis, leukemia, bone marrow and bone marrow transplantation, the interrelation of blood disorders, coagulation disorders, and immunohematology. He is credited with proposing a technique for bone marrow extraction using a needle, collaborating in the first known multi-institutional chemotherapy trial, and developing treatments for various autoimmune diseases. Dameshek served as President of the International Society of Hematology (1954-1956), President of the American Society of Hematology (1964), Vice President for Medical and Scientific Affairs of the Leukemia Society of America, and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He helped to establish the International Society of Hematology in 1946 and the American Society of Hematology in 1958, and was the first Editor in Chief of Blood (1946-1969). Dameshek received numerous awards for his work, including the Certificate of Merit of the American Medical Association (1942), the Billings Silver Medal (1952, 1953), the Premia Ferrata Medal (1958), and the Millard O. Thompson Gold Medal of the American Geriatrics Society (1968). His publications include, "The Hemolytic Syndromes" (1938), "Chemotherapy of Leukemia and Leukosarcoma" (1946), "The Hemorrhagic Disorders" (1946), Morphologic Hematology (1947), Spleen and Hypersplenism (1947), and Leukemia (1964, 1974) with Frederick W. Gunz (1914-1990).
William Dameshek married Rose Thurman (1901-1981) in 1923, and had one daughter, Elinor D. Reichlin (b. 1933). Dameshek died in 1969 of a rupture in the aorta during open heart surgery for a dissecting aneurysm.

Arrangement

Papers are arranged alpha-chronologically by research topic or manuscript title.

Scope and Content

The William Dameshek papers, 1946-1969 (inclusive), 1962-1969 (bulk), are a product of Dameshek's hematology research on leukemia, anemia, blood diseases, and immunohematology, and his subsequent publishing activities.
The bulk of the papers contain chapter manuscripts from his textbook Leukemia (1964, 1974) and Leukemia-related correspondence between William Dameshek and co-author Frederick W. Gunz (1914-1990). Papers also include publication and research correspondence, typed manuscripts and article reprints authored by Dameshek, and publications collected by Dameshek to support his research on multiple subjects, including thymoma and pure red-cell aplasia, hyperplasia, immunology, chloramphenicol therapy, immunologic thrombocytopenic purpura, and anemia. Additional writings and reprints by Dameshek include: "Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin) and the Bone Marrow" (1952); "Chloramphenicol – A New Warning" (1960); "Riddle: What do Aplastic Anemia, Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH) and 'Hypoplastic' Leukemia Have in Common?" (1967); "Hypoplastic Anemia and Myeloblastic Leukemia Following Chloramphenicol Therapy" (1967) with Mark J. Brauer (died 1999); "'Pure' Red Cell Anemia (Erythroblastic Hypoplasia) and Thymoma" (1967) with Shelley M. Brown and Arnold D. Rubin; "Some Thoughts on the Nature of Infectious Mononucleosis," published under the title "Speculations on the Nature of Infectious Mononucleosis" (1969); "The Immunoproliferative Disorders" (1970); "Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin) as a Toxic Drug" (undated); and an undated article draft concerning acquired hemolytic anemia.
Materials are entirely in English.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Anemia
Blood -- Diseases
Hematology
Immunology
Leukemia
Hematologists
Dameshek, William, 1900-
Brauer, Mark J.
Brown, Shelley
Gunz, Frederick W.

med00156