Fonds P417 - Harvey Cushing Fonds

Letter to Mrs. John Revere Letter to Mrs. John Revere Letter to Mrs. John Revere Letter to Mrs. John Revere Letter to Mrs. John Revere Letter to Mrs. John Revere Letter to Mrs. John Revere Letter to Mrs. John Revere Letter to Mrs. John Revere Letter to Mrs. John Revere
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Harvey Cushing Fonds

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the document of the fonds.

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Dates of creation area


  • 1860-1925; predominantly 1920-1924 (Creation)
    Cushing, Harvey, 1869-1939

Physical description area

Physical description

2.08 m of textual records
approximately 88 photographs
1 painting : watercolour

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Harvey Cushing was born on April 8, 1869 in Cleveland, Ohio. He was the youngest child of Henry Kirke Cushing, physician, and Betsey Maria Williams. In 1902, he married Katharine Stone Crowell with whom he had five children : William Harvey, Mary Benedict, Betsey, Henry Kirke and Barbara. His primary and secondary education was in Cleveland. He received his A.B. at Yale University in 1891, and his M.A., M.D., at Harvard University in 1895. He died on October 7, 1939 in New Haven, Connecticut. Harvey Cushing began his career at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1895-96. He moved to Baltimore to work at the Johns Hopkins Hospital where he stayed for 15 years, mostly at the Faculty of Surgery. In 1912, he returned to Harvard as Professor of Surgery and also worked at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (1913-1932). In 1933, he became Professor of Neurology at Yale, a position he held until 1937. Considered a pioneer of Neurosurgery, he made several fundamental discoveries about the pituitary gland. Bibliophile and an earnest collector of books, he published many essays and other literary works, among them the 1926 Pulitzer prize-winning biography of William Osler.

Custodial history

The fonds was donated to the Osler Library by Harvey Cushing in 1932. Old accession numbers 234, 235, 348, 417 and 455.

Scope and content

The fonds contains original and typescript letters, manuscript notes, newspaper clippings, journal extracts, reminiscences and more, assembled by Harvey Cushing chiefly between 1920 and 1924 during the course of his research for the biography of William Osler. For the biography, Cushing collected and retyped over 7500 pieces of Osler's correspondence, among which are some original letters.

The fonds is separated into three series: Manuscripts, Working Notes and Osler's Correspondence. It also contains photographs, annual reports, publications, clippings, one watercolor painting, one postcard. Osler's correspondence is further arranged in three subseries based chronologically.

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Immediate source of acquisition


The fonds has been divided into three series. The first series contains manuscripts and drafts of the chapters of Cushing's biography of Osler, which are contained in folders corresponding to chapter divisions. The second series are of Cushing's working notes and consists of files arranged alphanetically by topic or author. The final series consists of William Osler's correpsondence, gathered, collected, and oftentimes transcribed by Cushing. This third series is further arranged into three subseries which roughly represent: Osler's childhood and early career in Canada (Cushing 1); his years in Philadelphia and Baltimore (Cushing 2); and the Oxford period (Cushing 3). The fonds was originally filed, codified, and organized chronologically by Cushing himself. The top of each folder is marked with the folder number and either a subject heading or a date. CUS417/69.1 is the classification mark of the item, where CUS417 refers to the Fonds number, 69 refers to the folder number, and 1 is the number that relates specifically to the document in question. Please note that sometimes more that one item appears on a page; each separate item is given its own identification number. In some instances, items appear on the verso of the record that precedes it. Cushing also had a colouring coding system for his papers, which is preserved here as an alternative identifier. Blue refers to biographical information, pink to miscellaneous information, yellow to information on books, and white to correspondence.

Language of material

  • English
  • German

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The documents are mainly in English, but some are in German and there are notes in Latin.

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Associated materials

Other Cushing archives are also kept at the Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library, at the Historical Library of the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library and at the Allan Mason Chesney Medical Archives.

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General note

Descriptions of this archival material are currently being added to the Archival Collections Catalogue on an ongoing basis.

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Osler Database ID


Osler Fonds ID


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Physical storage

  • Box: P417-152
  • Box: P417-155
  • Box: P417-156
  • Box: P417-157
  • Box: P417-158
  • Box: P417-159
  • Box: P417-160A
  • Box: P417-160B
  • Box: P417-161
  • Box: P417-162
  • Box: P417-163
  • Box: P417-164
  • Box: P417-165
  • Box: P417-166