Jon Crispin's Notebook

Dr.Harvey Cushing / Yale

Posted in Health, History, People by joncrispin on 10/01/2013

I was at Yale in November speaking to Jessica Helfand’s class about the suitcase project.  I had done it last year and it was a great experience again this time.  At lunch Jessica introduced me to Joanna Radin who teaches in the Med School and she mentioned that some of Dr. Harvey Cushing’s artifacts were in a small office in the library and offered to take me to see them.  Last year I visited the Cushing Center to see the brain collection and I was excited to learn more about him.

Cushing was an incredible diarist and photographer.  His entire life is documented to a degree that is almost incomprehensible.  The above volumes contain his World War 1 journals and correspondence.

The correspondence during this period gives a fascinating view into the minutia of a wartime surgeon.  Volume after volume of military records.  This guy saved everything!

I only had a short amount of time and could have spent weeks photographing the collection.  I wonder who the “Southern gentleman” referred to was.  Clearly someone who wasn’t much liked by his peers.

A big thank you to the folks at the School of Medicine Library for giving me access to these materials.  They have a great website set up where it is possible to view some of the collections that have been digitized.  Check it out.

5 Responses

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  1. notsofancynancy said, on 10/01/2013 at 2:24 pm

    Loved this, thanks for sharing!

  2. Photobooth Journal said, on 10/01/2013 at 2:43 pm

    Fascinating! He seems to have obsessively collected his own history; I wonder if he collected other things?

    • joncrispin said, on 10/01/2013 at 3:31 pm

      Well….he actually did. The Cushing Center houses his collection of brains! He was basically the world’s first neurosurgeon. Quite a fellow.

  3. drawandshoot said, on 10/01/2013 at 8:06 pm

    The brain collection sounds fascinating. We’re you able to photograph it?

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