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H MS c177

Cope, Oliver, 1902-1994. Papers, 1891-1992 (inclusive), 1930-1991 (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 Oliver Cope papers were processed with grant funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as awarded and administered by the Council on Library Resources (CLIR) in 2012.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: H MS c177
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Creator: Cope, Oliver, 1902-1994.
Title: Oliver Cope Papers,
Date(s): 1891-1992 (inclusive),
Date(s): 1930-1991 (bulk).
Quantity: 29.1 cubic feet (30 records center cartons, 2 legal size document boxes, 1 tall legal size document box, 1 letter size document box, 1 oversize box, 1 lantern slide box, and 1 oversize videotape reel in container (12.25" diameter))
Language of materials: Papers are predominantly in English. Occasional correspondence and collected publications are in French, Italian, and Spanish.
Abstract: The Oliver Cope papers, 1891-1992 (inclusive), 1930-1991 (bulk), are the product of Cope's professional, research, teaching, and publishing activities throughout the course of his career. The papers are arranged in five series: I. Professional Appointments Files (1922-1984, undated); II. Professional Activities Files (1928-1992, undated); III. Subject Files (1927-1990, undated); IV. Writings and Publications (1891-1988, undated); and V. Collected Publications (1933-1990, undated).

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Gift of Eliza Cope Harrison and Robert DeNormandie Cope, 1994.
0.1 cubic feet of papers were donated by Nancy Gleason in 2003, as an accrual separated from the Joseph Aub papers. Accession number 2003-072.

Processing Information:

Processed by Amber LaFountain, with processing support provided by Katherine Mika, 2014 April.
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. Papers that did not meet the collecting policy of the Center for the History of Medicine were returned to the family. Duplicate reprints already in the collection were discarded.
Due to the large number of abbreviations in folder titles, only occasionally used abbreviations are written out at the folder level. Frequently used abbreviations that were not clarified at the folder level include Am. Bd. Surg. (American Board of Surgery), ASA (American Surgical Association), BSIM (Swampscott Study on Behavioral Science in Medicine), HMS (Harvard Medical School), MGH (Massachusetts General Hospital), and USPH (United States Public Health Service).

Conditions Governing Access:

Access requires advance notice. Access to personal, patient, and student information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions appear in Series I, II, III, and IV. Access to Harvard University records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. These restrictions appear in Series I, II, and III. 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.
Please note: audio-visual recordings are restricted to access until such a time as they can be converted to digital media. Once converted, recordings will be restricted by the recording's title, or as per the restrictions for the recording's original folder.

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:

Oliver Cope papers, 1891-1992 (inclusive), 1930-1991 (bulk). H MS c177. Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

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

Related Papers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Archives and Special Collections

Separations

Books constituting Cope's professional library, were donated by Cope and his family to the Center in 1980 and 1994. These books were transferred to the Center's Rare Books Collection immediately upon receipt of the donations. Complete lists of the donated books are available in the correspondence file of Richard Wolfe, former Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts.
Two books that came with the collection and constitute part of Cope's professional library were transferred to the Center's Rare Books Collection to be catalogued, 2014 April. A complete list of the books is available in the Center's control file for the collection.
One cubic foot of Cope's oral history transcriptions and original audio recordings conducted by Maryel F. Locke, which were artificially combined with the Oliver Cope papers, have been separated for accession as a separate collection.
A cystoscope belonging to Cope, and eight wet-mount microscope slides accompanying patient medical records were transferred to the Warren Anatomical Museum, 2014 April. Accession number 2014.013.
One compound monocular microscope manufactured by Carl Zeiss, Jena, numbered 96040, formerly used by Oliver Cope, was placed on indefinite deposit in the Collections of Historical Scientific Instruments when Oliver Cope's papers were deposited in 1992, and subsequently gifted to the Harvard Medical Library in 1994.

Biographical Notes

Oliver Cope (1902-1994), B.A., 1923, Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts; M.D., 1928, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, was Professor of Surgery Emeritus at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Senior Surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and the first Chief of Staff of the Shriners Burns Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital. Cope's research focused on thyroid disorders, burn and trauma therapy, breast cancer treatment, and medical education.
Oliver Cope was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on August 15, 1902 to Walter Cope (1860-1902) and Eliza M. Cope (b. 1864). He attended Haverford College for one year before transferring to Harvard College, where he graduated in 1923. He entered Harvard Medical School the following fall and graduated in 1928, after spending a year in China as a newspaper correspondent for the Peking Leader. After completing his surgical internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital (1928-1933), Cope was awarded the Moseley Travelling Fellowship from Harvard Medical School to study in London at the National Institute of Medicine under Sir Henry Dale (1875-1968). He returned to the surgical staff at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1934, and was simultaneously appointed Instructor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. He was subsequently appointed Associate of Surgery (1937-1939), Assistant Professor of Surgery (1939-1949), Associate Professor of Surgery (1949-1963), and Professor of Surgery (1963-1969), earning Emeritus status in 1969. During this period, he served three terms as Acting Chief of Surgical Services at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) , and was appointed Senior Surgeon in 1976. He was also appointed the first Chief of Staff of the Shriners Burns Institute at MGH in 1967, and was named Chief of Staff Emeritus in 1971.
With Edward D. Churchill (1895-1972), Fuller Albright (1900-1969), and Joseph Aub (1890-1973), Cope is credited with assisting in the first identification and removal of a parathyroid adenoma, identifying the Delphian Node, and describing the primary hyperplasia of the parathyroid gland. He was also known for his original treatments for burn victims of Boston's Cocoanut Grove fire in 1942, which occurred during his research with Bradford Cannon (1907-2005) on early supportive therapy with fluids and plasma for severe burn patients. Their systems of treating burns with petroleum jelly and intravenous fluids instead of tannic acid became the standard procedure during World War II. This early work was a critical factor in the selection of MGH as the interim location for the Shriners Burns Institute in 1964. Later in his career, he advocated against radical mastectomy in the treatment of breast cancer, arguing instead for partial mastectomy in conjunction with radiation therapy. Cope also worked throughout his career to improve medical and surgical education standards. His books, Medical Education Reconsidered (1966) with Jerrold Zacharias (1905-1986), and Man, Mind and Medicine, The Doctor's Education (1968), were published as products of his service as Chair of two large medical education conferences: the Endicott House Summer Study on Medical Education, and the Swampscott Study on Behavioral Science in Medicine, respectively. In 1972 he also served as chair to the University of Maine's committee to plan and determine the feasibility of a medical education program in Maine. In 1962 he was appointed President of the American Surgical Association, and also served as President of the Boston Surgical Society. His publications include: Management of the Cocoanut Grove Burns at the Massachusetts General Hospital (1943) with Joseph Aub; The Breast: Its Problems, Benign and Malignant (1977); and over 170 scientific publications, including "Breast Cancer: has the time come for a less mutilating treatment?," which appeared in the Radcliffe Alumni Quarterly and was reprinted in Vogue, Woman's Day, and various other magazines and scientific journals.
Oliver Cope married Alice DeNormandie (1910-1994) in 1932. They had two children Robert DeNormandie Cope (born 1935) and Eliza Middleton Cope Harrison (born 1937). Cope died on April 30, 1994 in Woodsville, New Hampshire.

Series and Subseries in the Collection

Scope and Content

The Oliver Cope papers, 1891-1992 (inclusive), 1930-1991 (bulk), are the product of Cope's professional, research, teaching, and publishing activities throughout the course of his career. The papers are arranged in five series: I. Professional Appointments Files (1922-1984, undated); II. Professional Activities Files (1928-1992, undated); III. Subject Files (1927-1990, undated); IV. Writings and Publications (1891-1988, undated); and V. Collected Publications (1933-1990, undated).
Professional Appointments Files (Series I) constitutes the bulk of the collection, and consists of: Harvard Medical School committee, teaching, student advising, and research funding records; and Massachusetts General Hospital administrative, research funding, and patient medical records. Teaching records include lectures, course curricula, and visual teaching aids for courses taught by Oliver Cope in surgery and clinical medicine. Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital research funding records are for projects concerning thyroid, burns, shock, breast cancer, and surgical disease. Professional Activities Files (Series II) include correspondence, audio recordings, lecture drafts, and committee records related to Cope's public speaking activities and his service in professional organizations and committees, including as Chairman of: the Endicott House Summer Study on Medical Education (1965); the Swampscott Study on Behavioral Science in Medicine (1966-1967); and a University of Maine committee to determine the feasibility of a medical education program in Maine. Subject Files (Series III) contain: personal and professional correspondence with friends and colleagues; employment recommendations written by Cope for colleagues and students, as maintained with related curricula vitae and collected publications; and patient medical records and related correspondence with patients and colleagues. Writings and Publications (Series IV) consist of scientific paper reprints, manuscript drafts, lectures, and related publication correspondence and research data for Cope's publications and lectures concerning breast cancer, burns, thyroid disorders, medical education, and other topics in medicine and surgery. Papers also contain collected scientific paper reprints, manuscripts, and newspaper clippings related to breast cancer, thyroid disorders, burns, medical education, mental health, and various other areas in surgery and medicine (Series V).
The papers contain a number of access restriction types, to protect personal and institutional privacy. These types include: 80-year restrictions from the date of record creation for medical patient records, psychiatric/mental health patient records, personnel records, student records, and density of personally identifying information; and 50-year restrictions from the date of record creation for institutional records of Harvard University and its affiliates. The collection also contains audio-visual records, which are restricted to access until such a time as they can be converted to digital media. Once converted, recordings will be restricted by the recording's title, or as per the restrictions for the recording's original folder.
Papers are predominantly in English. Occasional correspondence and collected publications are in French, Italian, and Spanish.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Breast -- Cancer -- Radiotherapy.
Breast -- Cancer -- Surgery.
Burns and scalds -- Treatment.
Cocoanut Grove (Boston, Mass.) -- Fire, 1942.
Medical education.
Medicine, Psychosomatic.
Parathyroid glands -- Surgery.
Thyroid glands -- Diseases.
Breast Neoplasms -- radiotherapy
Breast Neoplasms -- surgery
Burns -- surgery
Burns -- therapy
Education, Medical
Parathyroid Diseases -- surgery
Psychosomatic Medicine
Thyroid Diseases -- surgery
Audiocassettes.
Lantern slides.
Phonograph records.
Photographs.
Slides (photographs).
Tape reels.
Videocassettes.
Videotapes.
Surgeons
Cope, Oliver, 1902-1994.

med00189