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MC 387

Hardy, Harriet Louise, 1906-1993. Papers of Harriet Louise Hardy, 1910-1984: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

This collection was processed with funds provided by Clara G. Schiffer.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MC 387
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Hardy, Harriet Louise, 1906-1993
Title: Papers of Harriet Louise Hardy, 1910-1984
Date(s): 1910-1984
Quantity: 5.84 linear feet (14 file boxes) plus 2 oversize folders, 1 folder of photographs)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Papers of physician and occupational medicine specialist, Harriet Hardy.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 53-30, 73-64, 79-M208, 87-M52
The papers of Harriet Louise Hardy were given to the Schlesinger Library from 1953 to March 1987 by Harriet Hardy.

Processing Information:

Processed: July 1988
By: Katherine Kraft

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted, except for patient records found in folders 306-341, which are closed until August 1, 2038.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Harriet Hardy is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Harriet Louise Hardy Papers, 1910-1984; item description, dates. MC 387, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Preferred Citation:

Harriet Hardy Papers, 1910-1984; item description, dates. MC 387, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Harriet Hardy Papers, 1935-1994 (MC 431).


Collection number: MC 387
Collection name: Harriet Louise Hardy
Donor: Harriet Louise Hardy
Accession numbers: 53-30--87-M52
Processed by: Katherine G. Kraft
Date: July 1988
The following items have been removed from the collection:


Physician and specialist in occupational medicine, Harriet Louise Hardy was born on September 23, 1906, in Arlington, Massachusetts. Her father, Horace Dexter Hardy, a lawyer, died of pneumonia when Hardy was four. Her mother, Harriet Louise (Decker) Hardy, married engineer Charles Maxwell Sears in 1912. Hardy graduated from Kent Place, a private boarding school in New Jersey, in 1924.
From an early age, Hardy wanted to be a doctor. After graduating from Wellesley College in 1928, she attended Cornell University Medical School (M.D., 1932) over the initial objections of her parents. After completing her residency at the Philadelphia General Hospital (1932-1934), she decided to specialize in pediatrics, and in 1934 she became the physician for the Northfield Seminary (Massachusetts), a preparatory school for girls. The dearth of other doctors there and a surplus of healthy students led her to private general practice as well. She also worked with the Franklin County Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (1935-1939) and initiated the Pediatric Clinic in the Franklin County Hospital in Greenfield.
In 1939, Hardy became college physician and head of the Department of Health Education at Radcliffe College. A year later, she began her life-long association with the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). She remained at Radcliffe until 1945, when she began work for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and soon after, the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Hygiene (September 1945 - January 1948, January-May 1949). During this period Hardy became intensely interested in the diagnosis, treatment, and particularly the prevention of industrially-produced disease. A major contribution was the discovery (1945-1946) that exposure to beryllium, then widely in use in fluorescent light bulb factories, caused tuberculosis-like symptoms, and was often fatal. Hardy stirred up a storm of controversy by finding former employees, documenting their cases, investigating working conditions (against the opposition of beryllium manufacturers and users), and presenting her findings in various research settings. Eventually, however, even the industry came to accept her findings, that beryllium disease was predictable, often fatal, and preventable. In 1952 she founded the Beryllium Case Registry at Massachusetts General Hospital to document all known cases of the disease.
Her beryllium work caught the attention of Dr. Alice Hamilton (1869-1970), an earlier pioneer in industrial toxicology. Hamilton asked Hardy to help her to produce a new edition of Hamilton's seminal work, Industrial Toxicology. Hardy was the junior author of the 1949 edition, and twenty-five years later, the major author of the third edition.
After a year (January 1948 - January 1949) as Health Division Group Leader for the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, where she studied radiation hazards and protective measures for workers, Hardy took charge of the Occupational Medical Service of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Medical Department. There she helped develop the preventive aspects of occupational medicine that she believed were essential to workers' health.
In addition to research and service on numerous professional committees, both national and international, Hardy devoted herself to teaching. She taught at Harvard Medical School (where she was the first woman to hold a full professorship), Harvard School of Public Health, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts Medical School, and Dartmouth Medical School (1971-1973). She urged the respective faculties to give more weight to training for occupational medicine, and for what she termed clinical preventive medicine. Hardy served as mentor to numerous students, whether in her classes or writing from afar.
Hardy's interest in dust-induced respiratory diseases (e.g., asbestosis) led her to investigatory trips to Europe (especially Great Britain) in 1950 and 1956, and Africa (South Africa, and what was then the Congo) in 1957 to study mining conditions. On this last trip she met with Dr. Albert Schweitzer; see #70 for her description of his attitudes toward the native people.
In addition to her extensive professional activities, Hardy found satisfaction in nature, retreating to Dorset, Vermont, and other rural areas for rest and spiritual renewal. With her great curiosity and keen intellect, she read widely in philosophy, history, and literature as well as medicine. Her accomplishments were made in spite of several serious illnesses, the most dangerous of which was a meningioma (brain tumor), removed in August 1972. After a long recovery, she resumed seeing patients, and writing and publishing. She is now retired and lives in Holyoke, Mass., with her sister, Jane (Hardy) Stewart.
Harriet Hardy died of lymphoma on October 13, 1993.
For additional biographical information, see Series I of this collection; Hardy's autobiography, Challenging Man-Made Disease: The Memoirs of Harriet L. Hardy, M.D. (with the editorial assistance of Emily W. Rabe, New York, Praeger, 1983); and the Schlesinger Library Biography File.


The collection is arranged in six series:


The collection has been divided into the six series described below. The original order within series has been maintained whenever possible. The collection documents the personal and professional life of Hardy well; there are, however, few photographs, and there is little correspondence of a purely personal nature.
Series I, Personal and Biographical, #1-42°, consists primarily of Hardy's journals, the manuscript draft of her autobiography, a few photographs, some clippings, and her curriculum vitae. The journals cover the years 1931 to 1977, although there are no entries between August 1, 1939 and June 16, 1943. They include annotations Hardy added while writing her autobiography in the 1970s. The entries, though fairly frequent, are not daily: sometimes several weeks pass without mention. In general, however, the diaries offer an ample view of the activities and thoughts of a dedicated, generous doctor with a sense of humor. Hardy strongly believed that doctors should be well versed in the humanities, and she herself was so particularly. The journals document her zest for life, love of work, literature, nature, and ideas, and the importance of friendship and family ties. Also apparent are the urge to understand her place in the universe and to use her talents to the fullest. Aware of a desire for marriage and children, she also realized that such a life would conflict with her need for independence and the satisfaction she found in work. The entries range from political analysis (of administrations here and abroad), travels, disappointments (My attempt to advertise beryllium fallout thwarted wherever I turn), and relationships with friends, colleagues, and family, to descriptions of the Vermont countryside and lists of birds she observed.
The manuscript autobiography (#31-38), based on her journals, is more frank about specific individuals and events than its published counterpart. The latter lacks some of the bite and analysis of the original, especially criticism of corporations and their lack of regard for the health of workers. The few photographs of Hardy are in #39, and she appears in some of the clippings (#41-42°).
Series II, Alice Hamilton, #43-52, contains correspondence with and about Alice Hamilton, and clippings. Letters between Hardy and Alice Hamilton (#44-46) discuss both professional and personal matters. Correspondence about Alice Hamilton concerns establishing an Alice Hamilton Fund at the Harvard School of Public Health, the observance of Hamilton's 100th birthday, and Hamilton's health. A brief article by Hardy about Hamilton is in #47.
Series III, Articles, presentations,#53-78, consists of published articles, drafts of publications, unpublished writings and presentations, and unidentified writings. Except for #76 and possibly #77-78, all the works are by Hardy. For correspondence about publications, see #246-257.
Series IV, Teaching and other institutional affiliations, #79-127, contains Hardy's lecture notes for medical school classes; correspondence with faculty and administration about committees, teaching assignments, research, etc.; memos and other research-related material; etc. There is a sub-series for the institutions at which she worked; these are in chronological order by the date of Hardy's first affiliation with each institution. Because she worked at several institutions concurrently, dates overlap between sub-series.
Folders of lecture notes contain some correspondence, memos, or reports. All papers are grouped as filed by Hardy; she annotated the teaching notes to indicate institution and date used. Lecture materials are thus arranged by the most recent date they were used, although they may have been produced many years earlier. The Harvard Medical School lecture notes (#89-96) are grouped by medical school year (e.g., HMS I connotes first-year classes). The last sub-series (#122-127) contains general or unidentified teaching notes sorted by topic; folders are organized chronologically.
Series V, Correspondence file, #128-300, with a few exceptions, retains its original order and folder names as established by Hardy. The archivist removed confidential patient records and created additional folders for some individuals. The series contains reference material (published and unpublished reports, articles, etc.) in addition to correspondence. Most folders contain copies of letters to and from others than those named in the folder headings; see the correspondence index for a complete listing. Folder #272 for which original restrictions have expired was added to the collection in November 2009.
The series consists almost entirely of professional correspondence, though many letters offer insights into Hardy's personal life and values. There is little routine correspondence. Correspondents include doctors and scientists working in occupational health and toxic substances; lawyers representing employees (or, rarely, employers) in work-related illness cases; publishers; representatives of corporations; workers seeking advice; medical students; and others.
The sub-series Publications (#246-253) contains correspondence with publishers, contributing authors, and readers. The folders are arranged alphabetically by publication or publisher. Publications and engagements (#254-257) contains correspondence about arrangements for lectures, awards, workshops and conferences, and about publication of the proceedings. Published writings by Hardy are not here but in Series III.
The overall arrangement within the series is alphabetical. A general folder for each letter of the alphabet (containing one or a few letters for a particular individual, and arranged alphabetically within the folder) precedes specific folders (arranged chronologically within each folder). Folder headings may be individuals, institutions, or subjects (e.g., Vinyl chloride).
Series VI, Patient records, #301-341, was maintained separately by Hardy; some items in it were removed from the correspondence file (Series V) to protect the patients' right to privacy. For the most part, patient records (correspondence with or about a named patient, and medical charts) in this series are closed for 50 years. The records of deceased patients (#301-305) contain correspondence with lawyers and other doctors in addition to medical charts. They are open to research

Container list


The index lists all letters, with the exception of the very few routine communications, from or to all correspondents represented in the collection. Authors of publications and reports have not been indexed. In some instances, institutions have been indexed, and in the case of Alice Hamilton, material about her has been singled out.
Writer only=no symbol
Writer and recipient=*
Recipient only=+

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Beryllium industry--Employees--Health and hygiene
Beryllium industry--Employees--Diseases
Country life--Vermont
Environmental health
Hazardous substances--Health aspects
Hazardous substances--Law and legislation
Health education
Great Britain--Economic conditions--20th century
Great Britain--Social conditions--20th century
Industrial hygiene
Industrial toxicology
Labor--United States
Lungs--Dust diseases
Massachusetts--Description and travel
Medical colleges--Faculty
Medical education
Medical records
Medicine, Industrial--Study and teaching
Medicine, Rural--Practice
Medicine--Study and teaching
Mineral industries--South Africa
Mineral industries--Great Britain
Occupational diseases
Occupational health services
Poisons--Law and legislation
Public health
Scientists--United States
South Africa--Economic conditions
South Africa--Social conditions
Vermont--Description and travel
Women in medicine
Women in science--United States
Women physicians
Women scientists--United States
Work environment
Workers' compensation
Almy, Thomas P.
American Medical Association
Baumgartner, Leona, 1902-1991
Becklake, Margaret R.
Bessey, Otto A.
Boffey, Philip M.
Bok, Derek Curtis
Bowditch, Manfred
Brodeur, Paul
Brooke, Edward W. (Edward William), 1919-2015
Browning, Ethel
Bunting-Smith, Mary Ingraham, 1910-1998
Chamberlin, Richard I.
Danielson, Lennart
Dartmouth College. Environmental Studies Program
Dartmouth/Hitchcock Medical Center
Dartmouth Medical School--Faculty
Drinker, Philip, 1893-
Ebert, Roger H.
Eckardt, Robert E.
Finkel, Asher J.
Flindt, Michael L. H.
Forssman, Sven, 1911-1990
Friberg, Lars
Gaensler, Edward A.
General Electric Company--Employees
Hamilton, Alice, 1869-1970
Hamilton, Margaret, 1871-1969
Hamilton, Rush
Harrington, Kevin B.
Harvard Medical School--Employees
Harvard School of Public Health--Faculty
Howell, Mary C.
Hunt, Vilma R.
Hurwitz, David
Hussey, Raymond
Infante, Peter, 1941-
Ingelfinger, Franz J. (Franz Josef), 1910-1980
Jordan, Sara Murray, 1884-1959
Kazemi, Homayoun, 1934-
Kehoe, Robert Arthur, 1893-
Kennametal, Inc.--Employees
Kerr, Lorin E., 1909-
Key, Marcus M.
Lee, Douglas H. K. (Douglas Harry Kedgwin), 1905-2005
Los Alamos Laboratory--Employees
Mancuso, Thomas F.
Massachusetts General Hospital. Beryllium Case Registry
Massachusetts General Hospital--Employees
Massachusetts Institute of Technology--Faculty
Mazzocchi, Tony
McLaughlin, A. I. G.
Newhouse, Muriel L.
Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies--Employees
Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers International Union
Paparello, Frank N.
Parmeggiani, Luigi.
Penman, Robert
Permanent Commission and International Association on Occupational Health
Princi, Frank
Radcliffe College--Faculty
Saltonstall, Leverett, 1892-1979
Schroeder, Henry Alfred, 1906-1975
Schulte, Harry F.
Scott, Rachel
Schweitzer, Albert, 1875-1965
Selikoff, Irving J.
Shipman, Thomas L.
Sprince, Nancy L.
Stewart, Jane Hardy
Stoeckle, John D.
Switzer, Mary Elizabeth, 1900-1971
Tepper, Lloyd B.
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission
United States. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
United Mine Workers of America
Van Loon, Henry Bowditch
Warren, Shields, 1898-1980
Warshaw, Leon J.
Wegman, David H.
Wellesley College--Alumni and alumnae
Whittenberger, James L.
Williams, W. Jones (William Jones)
Windecker, Charles E.
Wolfe, Sidney M.
World Health Organization