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M-SD04 Series 00064.

Harvard Medical School. Department of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene. Sanitary Surveys, 1920-1948 (inclusive): 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.: M-SD04 Series 00064.
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Creator: Harvard Medical School. Department of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene
Title: Harvard Medical School. Department of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene Sanitary Surveys
Date(s): 1920-1948 (inclusive)
Quantity: 5.4 cubic feet (5 records center cartons, 1 letter size document box)
Language of materials: Records are in English.
Abstract: This series consists of sanitary surveys of various towns, cities, and counties throughout the United States from 1920-1948. Surveys were conducted by students to fulfill requirements of the Harvard Medical School class in Preventative Medicine and Hygiene.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number 1999-046.

Processing Information:

Processed by Andra Pham, 2017 June.
Processing staff in the Harvard Medical School Archives analyzed the records, took detailed notes, and created a finding aid to improve access to the contents. Volumes are stored spine down to minimize pressure on the binding and to help keep the inclusions with the original survey.
Detached photographs or documents have been laid in in their original locations. Detached adhesive tape has been removed, but other fasteners such as pins, paper clips, adhesives have not been removed. Where required, processing staff scanned pages with significant preservation concerns, such as aging newsprint and pages where multiple photographs were detached and researchers would be unable to associate images with the correct caption. Researchers should take special care that loose items remain in their proper location within each volume.

Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open for research. Some restrictions apply (see below).
Access requires advance notice. Contact Public Services for further information.
Access to student information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions are noted where they appear in the inventory below. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.

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:

Harvard Medical School. Department of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene. Sanitary Surveys, 1920-1948 (inclusive). Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

Historical Note

The first Professor of Hygiene at Harvard Medical School was Dr. George Derby in 1871. Shortly thereafter in 1900, the Department of Hygiene was first listed in the Harvard Medical School course announcement. The Department was renamed the Department of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene in 1909. From the establishment of the Harvard School of Public Health in 1913 until Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health separated in 1947, the Department was a joint department between the two schools. During this time, the name was changed to the Department of Preventive Medicine in 1939. In 1947, the Harvard Medical School maintained its own Department of Preventive Medicine, chaired by David Rutstein, and Harvard School of Public Health created their own department, the Department of Epidemiology, chaired by John E. Gordon. The Harvard Medical School Department went on to become the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine in 1972, and then the Department of Social Medicine and Health Policy in 1981. In 1988, the Department split into the Department of Health Care Policy and the Department of Social Medicine. In 2008, the Department of Social Medicine became the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine.
The mandatory sanitary survey was first assigned for the 1915-1916 academic year as part of the second year course in Preventive Medicine and Hygiene. The course consisted of "lectures and demonstrations, laboratory work, sanitary survey and sanitary excursions." This sanitary survey would remain a staple of the course under Department Heads Milton J. Rosenau and John E. Gordon through the year 1944. For two more years, 1944-1945 and 1945-1946, students were assigned to "review a public health survey... and submit a report thereon." In 1946, the scope of the course changed drastically with separation of the Harvard School of Public Health from Harvard Medical School. Under a newly appointed Department Head, David D. Rutstein, the course became focused on "those aspects of preventive medicine which concern the practicing physician, rather than those which concern the public health officer." A "health survey" remained part of the curriculum through 1950, and shifted to a "health resources survey" for 1951-1952 before finally being phased out altogether in 1952.

Resources on sanitary surveys in education

Arrangement

The records are arranged in alphabetical order by place name.

Scope and Content

This series consists of sanitary surveys of various towns, cities, and counties throughout the United States from 1920-1948. Surveys were conducted by students to fulfill requirements of the third year class in Preventative Medicine and Hygiene. Upon choosing a town or city, students would collect a wide range of public health data and offer their criticisms and recommendations for improving public health in that town. As such, each report serves as a robust historical snapshot of life in the community at the time the survey was conducted. The goal of the assignment was to expose students to public health work in the field and to broaden their horizons beyond their chosen specialties.
Surveys usually include sections on: general information on the town; water shed, pollution, collection, storage, and purification; sewage disposal, purification, treatment, efficiency, and relation to health; garbage and refuse collection and disposal; milk production, pasteurization, and certification, including a student evaluation of sanitary conditions at one dairy using local score cards; vital statistics such as birth and death rates, infant mortality, rates for infection diseases, and including forms for births, deaths, marriages, and disease notifications; sanitary nuisances such as odors, pests, cleanliness, dumps, piggeries, and noise; industrial hygiene based upon a visit to a factory or workshop in the area; housing, including sanitary condition of a tenement and ventilation analysis of a large building; infectious diseases such as venereal diseases and tuberculosis, including information on quarantine regulations; school health and dental programs; additional information relevant to public health such as markets, slaughter houses and meat inspection, barber shops, nursing services, education information, charitable organizations of importance to public health, and any other activities of the local Board of Health. In addition to the written report, each survey has a variety of additions including but not limited to photographs, printed and hand-drawn graphs, pamphlets, quarantine signs, blank charts and forms, blueprints, and maps.
For several years following the creation of these surveys, students were assigned to "review a public health survey... and submit a report thereon." Some of these reports are included in this collection.
Author names have been transcribed in the inventory below from the title page of the assignment.
Records are entirely in English.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Health Surveys
Public health
Public health administration
Medical policy
Health boards
Medicine, preventive
Sanitation
Sewage
Refuse and refuse disposal
Milk hygiene
Vital statistics
Industrial hygiene
Sexually transmitted diseases
Communicable Diseases
surveys (documents)
Public health
Public health administration
Health Policy
Health Surveys
Preventive medicine
Sanitation
Hygiene
Refuse disposal
Dairying
Vital statistics
Industrial hygiene
Sexually transmitted diseases
Communicable disease control
Harvard Medical School. Department of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene

med00257