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Weidman, Hazel Hitson, 1923-. Hazel Hitson Weidman papers, 1955-1991 and undated: A Finding Aid

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology Archives, Harvard University


Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Havard Depository
Call No.: 2000.14
Repository: Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology Archives, Harvard University
Creator: Weidman, Hazel Hitson
Title: Hazel Hitson Weidman papers,
Date(s): 1955-1991 and undated.
Quantity: 1 collection (11.7 linear feet (8 cartons, 1 box)
Language of materials: English

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The Hazel Marie Hitson Weidman Papers were donated to the museum archives by Dr. Weidman in April 2000.

Processed by:

Richard Lesage 2001 February.

Related Materials

Society for Medical Anthropology Records (Hazel Weidman Papers), mq113385; mq113250 National Anthropology Archives (Smithsonian Institution).

Biographical / Historical

Hazel Marie Hitson Weidman was born on August 3, 1923 in Taft, CA. She worked in medical settings prior to receiving an undergraduate degree in social anthropology from Northwestern University in 1951, and for a short while thereafter. She pursued her graduate studies at Harvard's Radcliffe College from 1956 to 1959. Convinced that the anthropological perspective would be helpful in understanding medical structures and health care processes, Hazel Weidman enrolled in the graduate program in the Department of Social Relations, from which she obtained a Ph.D. in 1959. Based on her own field research, the dissertation was entitled "Family patterns and paranoidal personality structure in Boston and Burma."
From 1959 through 1964, Weidman worked for various federal, state and local medical service agencies. Her statewide study of the tuberculosis control system in Massachusetts, jointly conducted with her husband Dr. William H. Weidman, provided the data for new tuberculosis control legislation. She also prepared position papers for the U.S. Public Health Services on the topic of "Public Health Goals in Metropolitan Areas" which took her into the complexities of hospital administration and staff training programs for Fresno County Hospital. Under the sponsorship of the state of California, Weidman developed a community-wide program for the protection of battered children.
Prompted by a need to establish closer ties with anthropologist colleagues and to consolidate her thinking about anthropology in relation to medicine, Hazel Weidman moved to the academe in 1964. She first taught social anthropology at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA (1964-1965), then at the University of Alabama Medical Center (1965-1967). She was also an associate research fellow at the Social Science Research Institute of the University of Hawaii (1967-1968). In 1968, Weidman joined the faculty of the University of Miami where she held teaching positions at both the Department of Anthropology, and the Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine until her retirement in 1990.
At the University of Miami, Weidman planned a community mental health program geared to the needs of the inner-city population of Miami. The goal of the program was to train the participants in attaining a transcultural perspective, thus becoming "culture brokers" in the delivery of delivery of health care to patients coming from multi-ethnic backgrounds. Similar programs led to the creation in 1981 of the Office of Transcultural Education and Research (O.T.E.R.), a resource center for people and organizations concerned about cultural beliefs and behaviors that might influence the management and outcome of health care to patients from a variety of cultural traditions.
Weidman has had a lasting impact on the centralization of medical anthropology as a sub-discipline in its own right, and her work in the field contributed significantly to the recognition of the importance of the anthropological perspective in medicine and medical care.
"Profile of an anthropologist" Newsletter of the American Anthropological Association20 (10)Dec 1979.
Biographical listings (Weidman Papers, 7.17).


The papers are arranged in the following nine series:


I. Manuscripts and publications 1955-1990. The documents are arranged in alphabetical order and consist solely of published manuscripts, including various drafts and proof versions.II. Lectures and presentations 1963-1990, n.d. Correspondence and other documents pertaining to the particular conference are filed together with the lecture or presentation given by Weidman in chronological order.III. Contract work 1962-1991, n.d. These papers consist primarily of the official correspondence and other documents relating to Weidman's various jobs, contracts, and projects during the course of her career. Also included in the series are applications for positions she did not obtain, as well as articles and brochures related to her work.IV. Correspondence 1963-1989. Correspondence is arranged by individual surname for major correspondents, as well as in alphabetical order for general correspondence. The latter, in Weidman's own words on a 'post-it' note, " survived my purge upon retirement. They emerged from various files and reflect only the diversity of some of my activities." See the correspondent index to locate individuals.V. Biographical listings (1968-1995). This series includes correspondence and forms containing biographical data intended for publication in biographical dictionaries and directories.VI. Project files 1972-1988. Grouped here are papers relating to the Health Ecology Project (1980-1988), as well as its final report. This research project was designed to describe health beliefs and behavior in five sample populations in an inner city area of Miami (Haitian, Bahamian,Puerto Rican, Southern African-American and Cuban). This series also includes files recording the origins of the "cultural brokerage" concept and its diffusion and use in the field of anthropology, and materials documenting other key Weidman projects. VII. Medical Anthropology Newsletter (M.A.N.), 1966-1986. This series includes the important paper "Origins of M.A.N., G.M.A., M.A.Q. and S.M.A." which along with other materials documents the origins of the newsletter, as well as related professional associations that were crucial to the founding of the field of medical anthropology. VIII. Grant applications, 1962-1987, n.d. With the exception of the Health Ecology Project contained in series VI, this series contains both successful and unsuccessful grant applications for various research and pedagogical projects initiated by Weidman. Included here is the "Falling-out" project, which researched a culturally-patterned disorder similar to aseizure. IX. Publication acquisitions, 1966-1988. These materials consist of orders and invoices for articles, periodicals and books acquired by Weidman throughout her career.

Scope and Contents

The Weidman Papers consist of professional papers that were arranged by Hazel Weidman herself, prior to donation to the Peabody Museum Archives. The materials reflect her work in the development of medical anthropology as an academic discipline of its own. They reveal her initiative in organizing the dispersed anthropologists working in medical fields into what is now the Society for Medical Anthropology. Her work as the founding editor of the Medical Anthropology Newsletter (published as such from 1968-1970 and currently as Medical Anthropology Quarterly) is also documented.

Container List

Selected correspondent index

Host Institutions for Lectures Index