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H MS c192

American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Records, 1908-2013 (inclusive), 1930s-1980s (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 records were processed with funding from American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: H MS c192
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Creator: American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
Title: American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene records,
Date(s): 1908-2013 (inclusive),
Date(s): 1930s-1980s (bulk).
Quantity: 131.25 cubic feet (119 records center cartons, 3 letter size document boxes, 5 half letter size document boxes, 2 half legal document boxes, 4 oversize boxes, 7 index card boxes, and 2 half size index card boxes)
Quantity: 0.77 gigabytes* (electronic records on network storage)
Language of materials: Predominantly in English with occassional materials in German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Chinese.
Abstract: The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene records reflect the activities and development of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene between the early 1900s and the early 2000s, including the 1951 merger of four societies to create the modern Society (the American Academy of Tropical Medicine, the American Foundation for Tropical Medicine, the National Malaria Society, and the Society of Tropical Medicine) and the Society's involvement with other professional medical organizations.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

  • 2009-051. American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2009 June 05.
  • 2013-128. Thomas P. Monath for the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2013 May 15.
  • Processing Information:

    Processed by Hanna Clutterbuck.
    Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine refoldered, arranged, reboxed, and described the records and created a finding aid to enhance researcher access:
  • Rusty paper fasteners were removed
  • Fragile materials, including newspaper clippings, were photocopied onto archival bond
  • Spiral bindings were removed where possible
  • Records in three-ring binders were removed and placed in folders
  • Slides were removed to archival containers
  • Approximately eight cubic feet of published works were transferred to the Rare Books collection
  • All audio-video materials were assessed as part of Harvard University's Weismann Preservation Center audiovisual records survey, with conservator notes recorded in the Weissman's survey database, SAVE.
  • Approximately 1 cubic foot of records rearranged by a previous archivist or exhibit curator could not be returned to its original order or context. This material has been left as it was found and is noted in the finding aid. Electronic versions of council meeting agendas and minutes, presidential addresses, and G. Kuno's 1999 presentation, The History of Dengue Research before 1950 were received from the Society via flash drive. Descriptions of electronic records have been integrated with those of like paper records.

    Conditions Governing Access:

    Access requires advance notice. Access to Harvard University records is restricted for 50 years from the date of record creation. These restrictions are noted where they appear in Series II. Access to personal and patient information is restricted for 80 years from the date of record creation. These restrictions appear in Series II. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.
    Access to electronic records in this collection (as found in Series IA and ID3) is premised on the availability of a computer station, requisite software, and/or the ability of Public Services staff to review and/or print out records of interest in advance of an on-site visit. Access to audio-visual records in this collection (as found in series ID and II) is premised on the availability of necessary playback equipment and the condition of the media. Consult Public Services for further information.
    The Records 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:

    American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Records, 1908-2013 (inclusive), 1930s-1980s (bulk). H MS c192. Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

    Separations

    The following materials received with the records were transferred to theWarren Anatomical Museum in June 2013:

    Historical Notes

    The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (the "Society") was founded in 1903 by a group of Philadelphia, Pennslyvania physicians as the American Society of Tropical Medicine. The Society held its first meeting in 1904 at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The creation of the Society stemmed in part from the expansion of American holdings in tropical and sub-tropical areas around the world, including the Philippines and South America, as well as from contemporary developments in microscopy and virology. Early researchers of yellow fever, including William Crawford Gorgas (1854-1920) and Joseph LePrince (died 1956) who both worked with the United States Army Yellow Fever Commission, were pioneers in tropical medicine and early members of the Society. After the Philadelphia conference in 1904, the Society held meetings in New York, New York, Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, DC, and began to attract a national membership. In 1908, the Society admitted its first female member, Clara Southmayd Ludlow, a research scientist whose work concentrated on mosquito vectors in disease.
    The Society began to publish on its tenth anniversary with the American Journal of Tropical Diseases and Preventive Medicine. This journal ran for three years and was eventually merged with the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal. After World War I, a new American Journal of Tropical Medicine commenced publication, continuing until the Society merged with the National Malaria Society in 1951 and merged with the National Malaria Society's journal and was retitled. The Society's other publication, the advertisement-supported Tropical Medicine and Hygiene News, began publication in 1944 and is still published as the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene News.
    During World War I, Society membership lagged, in part due to members being drafted or volunteered for military service in various ways, cutting down on the amount of time they could dedicate to the Society. The Society was further hampered by the influenza pandemic in 1918, which led to the cancellation of the annual meeting. After a revitalization effort led by the Society's president and governing officers in the early 1920s, membership in the Society grew steadily and stood at just over 500 members before the outbreak of World War II. During World War II, however, membership more than doubled, at least partially due to the fighting in the Pacific where tropical medicine was of particular importance.
    From its inception, the Society had long-term relationships with several other groups interested in tropical medicine, including the National Malaria Committee (later renamed the National Malaria Society), the American Foundation for Tropical Medicine, and the American Academy of Tropical Medicine. The National Malaria Committee ("Committee") was formed in 1916 to focus on the problem of malaria eradication. In 1941, the Committee became the National Malaria Society and began to publish its own journal, the Journal of the National Malaria Society. (Previous publications had been in the Southern Medical Journal because the Committee held joint annual meetings with the Southern Medical Association.) By the end of the 1940s, the progress on malaria prophylaxis and eradication was such that members of the Committee were considering a change of focus for their organization. Since the Committee and the American Society of Tropical Medicine had always had considerable member overlap, a merger was selected as the best route forward for both groups.
    The American Academy of Tropical Medicine, another allied organization, was the result of a Conference on Tropical Medicine held in 1934 by the National Research Council. The Academy was a non-profit corporation which received start-up funding from the Leonard Wood Foundation. The Academy had a six-point charter mission which included furthering the prevention of human and animal diseases in tropical climates, surveying work in progress in tropical medicine, and functioning as an information hub for workers in tropical medicine. The question of a merger was first brought up in 1950 and submitted to the memberships of the four organizations. A joint committee was appointed and, after some internal disagreement over the name of the new society, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene was created in 1951. The journals of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and the National Malaria Society were also merged, resulting in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
    As the Society developed after the merger, special interest groups began to emerge among the membership. One of the first was the American Committee on Arthropod-borne Viruses, established in 1959 in response to a World Health Organization (WHO) call in 1958 for more research on arthropod-borne viruses. The 1959 group, brought together by the Rockefeller Foundation, aimed to establish a catalog of arboviruses, publish a regular newsletter for information exchange, and standardize methods for the preparation of reagents to identify viruses. After a second WHO-sponsored meeting in 1960, the American group's work was impressive enough to lead to a request from the WHO to continue their current activities and broaden their scope to the international level. The American Committee on Arthropod-borne Viruses (ACAV) was named in 1961 as an independent corporate body, with no formal corporate relationship with the WHO or the Rockefeller Foundation. The ACAV held annual meetings in conjunction with the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and became a formal part of the Society in 1987.
    Other subgroups include the American Committee of Medical Entomology, the American Committee on Clinical Tropical Medicine and Travelers' Health, the American Committee of Molecular, Cellular and Immunoparasitology, and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Committee on Global Health.
    Late twentieth and early twenty-first century concerns for the Society have included the re-emergence of tropical diseases, such as malaria, once thought to be well under control if not almost eradicated in all but the poorest tropical areas. The outbreak of diseases such as HIV, hanta- and Ebola-virus, and bovine spongiform encephalitis -- not only in "Third World" countries but also in the West -- have been a focus of the Society's research, Journal articles, outreach, and education.
    The Society has five named awards and two lectureships which it gives to individuals responsible for distinguished work in tropical medicine or sub-specialties such as malariology. The Bailey K. Ashford Medal and the Charles F. Craig Lectureship are both awarded to researchers who have distinguished themselves in the field of tropical medicine as a whole. The Donald Mackay Medal is awarded for work in urban or rural tropical health. The Ben Kean Medal is awarded every three years for work in keeping with the tradition of Professor Kean. The Joseph Augustin LePrince Medal is for outstanding work in malariology and the Fred L. Soper Lectureship is for those distinguished in environmental control or preventive medicine.
    The Society currently describes itself as "…a worldwide organization of scientists, clinicians, and program professionals. The organization's mission is to promote global health through the prevention and control of infectious and other diseases that disproportionately afflict the global poor." To visit the Society's website, click here.

    Series and Subseries in the Collection

    Scope and Content

    The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene records, 1908-2013 (inclusive), 1930s-1980s (bulk), reflect the activities and development of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene ("Society") between the early 1900s and the early 2000s, including the 1951 merger of four societies to create the modern Society (the American Academy of Tropical Medicine, the American Foundation for Tropical Medicine, the National Malaria Society, and the Society of Tropical Medicine) and the Society's involvement with other professional medical organizations, including: the American Medical Association; the American Type Culture Collection; American Society of Parasitology; the Gorgas Memorial Institute of Tropical and Preventive Medicine; and the American Society of Tropical Veterinary Medicine and Hygiene. The records also reflect the activities of Society subgroups, particularly the American Committee on Arthropod-borne Viruses (ACAV), which was established in 1961 and made a formal part of the Society in 1987. Records consist of: correspondence; agendas; meeting minutes; charges; publications; photographs; slides, audio and audiovisual recordings; conference programs; and publication abstracts and proposals.
    Also included are personal and professional papers and assorted audiovisual records collected by the Society from its membership, including the papers of Linda H. Brink (1941-1989), Paul F. Russell (1894-1983), William H. Taliaferro (1895-1973), and Wilbur G. Downs (1914-1991). Records include personal papers, research records, and publications, as well as extensive slide collections compiled by Downs and Russell. Topics of the collected records include conference planning, editing of Society publications, elections to the Society's Board and Council, the selection of awardees for Society medals, and field work undertaken by members, notably William H. Taliaferro, Wilbur G. Downs, and Paul F. Russell.
    The records are predominantly in English with occassional items in German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Chinese.

    Container List