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B MS c118

Harken, Dwight E., 1910-. Papers, 1911-1993 (inclusive), 1940-1975 (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

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: B MS c118
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Creator: Harken, Dwight E., 1910-
Title: Dwight E. Harken papers,
Date(s): 1911-1993 (inclusive),
Date(s): 1940-1975 (bulk).
Quantity: 124.38 cubic feet (125 records center cartons, 6 oversize flat storage boxes, 1 flat file storage cabinet, and 1 small archival storage box)
Language of materials: Papers are predominately in English. Occasional scientific paper reprints, newspaper clippings, and correspondence are in Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Portuguese, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, and Vietnamese.
Abstract: The Dwight E. Harken papers, 1911-1993 (inclusive), 1940-1975 (bulk), are the product of Harken's activities as a surgeon, researcher, administrator, lecturer, consultant, and contributing member of national organizations, as conducted throughout his professional appointments, including Clinical Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

  • Accession number 0000-046. Donated by Anne Hood Harken. 1995.
  • Accession number 2012-068. Donated by Morton Heafitz. 2012 January 10.
  • Processing Information:

    Processed by Meghan M. Bannon, 2015 March.
    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 removed from three ring binders 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. Processing staff discarded duplicate records and records that did not meet the collection policy of the Center for the History of Medicine. Please note that the abbreviations "D.H." and "D.E.H." on folder titles are for "Dwight Harken" or "Dwight Emary Harken." These abbreviations are used throughout the collection.

    Conditions Governing Access:

    Access requires advance notice. Access to Harvard University records and certain organizational records are restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. These restrictions are noted where they appear in Series I, IV, V, and VII. Access to personal and patient information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions appear in Series I-X. Series I, VI, and IX contain restricted government records that need to be reviewed. 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.

    Digitized Items:

    Selected items from Box 17 have been scanned and are available for download from OnView, the Center for the History of Medicine's online collections site: http://collections.countway.harvard.edu/onview/collections/show/131
    To provide context, links to items in OnView are also provided with the box in which they physically reside.

    Preferred Citation:

    Dwight E. Harken papers, 1911-1993 (inclusive), 1940-1975 (bulk). B MS c118. Boston Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

    Separations

    Mesh samples from Davol Rubber Company, surgical wires, hospital shoe strips samples, lung sections, and microscope slides were transferred to the Warren Anatomical Museum in 2015.
    Books accessioned with Dwight E. Harken's papers were transferred to the Center's Rare Books collection and will be cataloged at the item level.

    Biographical Notes

    Dwight Emary Harken (1910-1993), A.B., 1931, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; M.D., 1936, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, was Clinical Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston (1948-1970). Harken performed the first consistently successful elective intracardiac surgery by removing shell fragments from soldiers' hearts during World War II and also was the first to use the caged ball valve successfully in the natural anatomic site in humans in 1966.
    Dwight E. Harken was born on 05 June 1910 in Osceola, Iowa to Conreid R. Harken and Edna Harken. He received his A.B. from Harvard University, Cambridge in 1931 and earned an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, Boston in 1936. After graduating from medical school, Harken served as House Surgeon (1936-1938) and Resident Surgeon (1938-1939) at Bellevue Hospital, New York City. In 1939, Harken was named New York Academy of Medicine's Alexander Cochran Bowen Harlow-Brooks Fellow and completed his fellowship at Brompton Hospital, London, England serving as Resident Surgical Officer and assistant to A. Tudor Edwards. Harken returned to the United States in 1940 and was appointed Assistant Resident and later Resident of the Fifth Surgical Service at Boston City Hospital (1940-1942), as well as, Assistant in Surgery at Harvard Medical School (1940-1942). During World War II, Harken served from 1942 to 1946 in the United States Army Medical Corps in the European Theater as Lieutenant Colonel, Director of the Thoracic Surgery Course for American Medical Officers, Regional Consultant in Thoracic Surgery, and Chief of the First Thoracic Center. While stationed in England, Harken performed the first consistently successful elective intracardiac surgery by removing shell fragments from soldiers' hearts.
    Following the end of World War II, Harken returned to Boston to become Assistant Professor of Surgery at Tufts College Medical School from 1946 to 1948. In 1948, Harken was named the Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (1948-1970) where he founded the world's first intensive care unit in 1951. Concurrent to this appointment, Harken held several positions at Harvard Medical School, including Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery (1948-1954); Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery; and Clinical Professor of Surgery, Emeritus. Harken was also on staff at Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, as a thoracic surgeon, and he served as a consultant in thoracic surgery to various other hospitals, including the United States Naval Hospital, Chelsea, and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Rutland Heights and West Roxbury, Massachusetts.
    During the course of his career, Harken authored over 200 scientific articles and several books on the surgical treatment of mitral valve and aortic valve stenosis, foreign bodies in the heart, valvuloplasty, pacemakers and assisted circulation, and prosthetic valves. His articles appeared in The Journal of Thoracic Surgery, The New England Journal of Medicine, Circulation, and The American Journal of Cardiology. Harken also served as Editor-in-Chief of Medical Instrumentation, was on the Editorial Board of Chest, and was an active member of many professional organizations. He was a Fellow (1949) and President (1964-1965) of the American Academy of Cardiology, Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians (1949), Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (1950), and member and President of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation. Harken was also a member of the American Heart Association, American Medical Association, Massachusetts Medical Society, and the Royal Society of Medicine.
    Dwight E. Harken died in 1993 of pneumonia. He was survived by his wife, Anne Hood Harken, and their two children, Alden Harken and Anne Harken Hall.

    Resources

    Series and Subseries in the Collection

    Scope and Content

    The Dwight E. Harken papers, 1911-1993 (inclusive), 1940-1975 (bulk), are the product of Harken's activities as a surgeon, researcher, administrator, lecturer, consultant, and contributing member of national organizations. The papers consist of ten series: Series I. Professional and Clinical Appointments Records; Series II. Patient Records; Series III. Surgical Procedures Notebooks; Series IV. General Correspondence; Series V. Professional Activities Records; Series VI. Writings and Publications; Series VII. Subject Files; Series VIII. Audiovisual Materials and Visual Works; Series IX. Biographical and Personal Records; and Series X. Collected Reprints and Publications.
    Professional and clinical appointment records (Series I) consist of administrative records, patient medical records, meeting minutes, reports, personnel records, correspondence, and writings generated by Harken while holding positions at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Mount Auburn Hospital, and while serving in the United States Army Medical Corps during World War II. Patient Records (Series II) consists of various types of medical records of Harken's patients, including surgical, x-ray, pathology, and autopsy reports. Surgical procedures notebooks (Series III) consist of instructions on various surgical techniques and related subject resource materials on topics such as mitral valve stenosis and insufficiency. Papers contain Harken's correspondence (Series IV) with colleagues, patients, family, and friends about manuscripts, professional organization activities, patient cases, and medical devices. The papers also include: correspondence, lecture drafts, writings, meeting records, and membership records (Series V); drafts, notes, correspondence, photographs, and collected articles supporting the development of Harken's manuscripts and lectures (Series VI); collected reprints, newspaper clippings, and notes on such topics as prosthetic valves, assisted circulation, coronary artery disease, and pacemakers (Series VII); 16 millimeter reels of film, photographs, negatives, and videocassettes of mitral and aortic valve replacement surgeries Harken performed (Series VIII); Harken's personal correspondence with family and friends, and articles and newspaper clippings about his career (Series IX); and collected reprints and publications about mitral valve stenosis, malpractice, medical devices, smoking, and chest surgery (Series X).
    Papers are predominantly in English. Occasional scientific paper reprints, newspaper clippings, and correspondence are in Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Portuguese, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, and Vietnamese.

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