HOLLIS CatalogFind It @ HarvardPubMed with full textAsk A Librarian
logo headerBML LinkCountwayCountwayCountwayCountway

Archives for Women in Medicine (AWM)

home | about | collections | exhibits and events | press

The Archives for Women in Medicine is a project of the Joint Committee on the Status of Women and the Countway Library which seeks to document and celebrate the ongoing evolution of women’s contributions in medicine. We actively acquire, preserve, promote, and provide research access to the professional and personal records of outstanding women medical leaders, providing enduring access to the behind-the-scenes evidence of the accomplishments and struggles overcome by this cohort of women.

This project is made possible by the generous support of our donors.


May 7, 2014: “Irish, pauper patients and the American maternity hospital, 1860-1913″

The Archives for Women in Medicine, Countway Library of Medicine is pleased to co-sponsor with the Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine:

Dr. Ciara Breathnach, 2013-2014 Women in Medicine Fellow

Dr. Ciara Breathnach, 2013-2014 Women in Medicine Fellow

Irish, pauper patients and the American maternity hospital, 1860-1913

featuring Ciara Breathnach, Ph.D.
Lecturer in History, University of Limerick, Ireland
2013-2014 Women in Medicine Fellow

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
4:00 P.M. – 5:30 P.M., refreshments provided.

Lahey Room, Countway Library of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
10 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA

All are welcome.
Please RSVP to ContactCHoM@hms.harvard.edu

ABOUT THIS LECTURE: Women in Medicine Fellow, Dr. Ciara Breathnach, will discuss her research using the archives of the New England Hospital for Women and Children (established 1862), held at the Countway Library’s Center for the History of Medicine.

Dr. Breathnach is a Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Limerick, Ireland, and has published on Irish socio-economic and health histories in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Breathnach’s research focuses on how the poor experienced, engaged with and negotiated medical services in Ireland and in North America from 1860-1912. It builds on her wider studies on the family unit and the social history of medicine in Ireland and will help to advance her hypothesis that the rural Irish female was slow to medicalize, not only for socio-economic reasons, but also for reasons of personal agency. Using evidence from archival records, her research aims to show that Irish women continued to present as a problematic group long after the ethnic associations with cholera and typhoid outbreaks of earlier decades had dissipated.

Download the flier: Breathnach_Irish_Maternity.pdf

Questions? Contact Carolyn Hayes or call 617-432-1324.

New Archivist for the Archives for Women in Medicine

New Archivist for Women in Medicine, Carolyn Hayes

The Archives for Women in Medicine begins the new year with a new Project Archivist.  Carolyn Hayes is the third archivist to serve the AWM since the project’s launch in 2005.  Carolyn has been with the Center for the History of Medicine as an acquisitions assistant since the fall of 2011. In addition to her work with new manuscript collections, she has worked with Center staff to plan and prepare for a number of outreach events.

In her first weeks on the job, Carolyn has already surveyed the records of a long-running longitudinal growth study of children, accessioned new collections, and met with potential donors. Her near-term goals include opening the papers of Eva Neer and improving communications with supporters and potential donors… so you will be hearing from her!

Carolyn is a co-editor of the New England Archivists Newsletter and a proud member of the Countway Community Garden team.  She holds an M.S. in Library and Information Science and an M.A. in History from Simmons College in Boston, and a B.Mus. in Oboe Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio.



New Acquisitions: Priscilla A. Schaffer Papers
Priscilla A. Schaffer, Ph.D

Priscilla A. Schaffer, Ph.D

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the acquisition of the personal and professional papers of  Priscilla Ann Schaffer, Ph.D (1941 – 2009). She served two stints on the Harvard Faculty of Medicine, was one of the school’s first woman full professors, and was an internationally recognized virologist who published more than 150 papers.

Schaffer’s research focused on herpesviruses, specializing in the research of herpes simplex, and she used genetic approaches to illuminate mechanisms of the herpes simplex virus (HSV) gene expression, DNA replication, latency and reactivation. Her lab was the first to generate mutants of HSV, to establish the genetic and physical maps for HSV, and to identify the viral DNA replication and regulatory proteins. Schaffer was noted for her relentless, genetic approach to nearly every aspect of HSV.

She is also renowned for her mentorship of students, postdoctoral fellows, and fellow faculty. For more about Dr. Schaffer, see the tribute published by the HMS Office of Faculty Affairs.

The collection, which is not yet available for research, consists chiefly of grant records, 1980s-2000s. Also included are lab notebooks, lectures, awards, manuscript drafts, correspondence related to HSV gene mutant requests, and copies of theses and dissertations for which Schaffer served as advisor.

For more information about the collection, contact Public Services at chm@hms.harvard.edu.

New online exhibits from the Archives for Women in Medicine

Two legacy online exhibits, The Stethoscope Sorority and Grete L. Bibring: The Modern Woman, are now available through the Center’s new online collections site, OnView.

The Stethoscope Sorority

Over the years, women have faced, and continue to face, many struggles in the field of medicine. Despite this ongoing adversity, they have emerged as strong leaders and helped revolutionize the profession. The Archives for Women in Medicine (AWM) at the Countway Library was created in 2000 to capture and preserve the untold history of the many women who have helped change the face of medicine in the United States. This exhibition highlights materials from the AWM that illustrate women’s experiences as mentors, pioneering researchers, healers, and strong voices speaking out for their beliefs. Using their own words, the exhibition presents stories from some of the women of the AWM and the people who have helped contribute to their successes.


Grete L. Bibring: The Modern Woman

In the 1970’s, Dr. Grete L. Bibring created a seminar for Radcliffe College called ‘The Educated Woman’. A small group of students would gather to discuss the issues surrounding educated women and their lives. The concept of the ‘modern woman’ came to portray the dual roles of family and career that women had one point been forced to choose between. Dr. Bibring was a mentor for the emerging modern woman, understanding the demands and rewards of maintaining both a career and family.

Born in Vienna just before the 20th century, Grete L. Bibring would earn the honor of being the first female full clinical professor at Harvard Medical School in 1961. As a part of the “second generation” of Freudian scholars, her achievements include her appointment as Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Beth Israel Hospital in 1955, professional activities in numerous psychiatric organizations, such as the psychoanalytic societies of Vienna, London, and Boston and psychiatric consultant of the Children’s Bureau in Washington D.C. She was highly influential in integrating psychiatric principles into general patient care. Her passion permeated her other roles working with students, residents, physicians, social workers, and nurses across the globe. Dr. Bibring’s work continued well after retirement with a thought provoking seminar at Radcliffe, publication of multiple articles, and her dedication to patient care. This exhibit celebrates her life and her influence on the generations of medical, psychiatric, and social services professions.

Browse all of the Center’s online exhibits at Onview.

2014-2015 Women in Medicine Fellowship: Application Period Open

Deadline: March 15th 2014


The Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine will provide one $5000 grant to support travel, lodging, and incidental expenses for a flexible research period between July 1st 2014 – June 30th 2015. Foundation Fellowships are offered for research related to the history of women to be conducted at the Center for the History of Medicine at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Preference will be given to projects that deal specifically with women physicians or other health workers or medical scientists, but proposals dealing with the history of women’s health issues may also be considered.

Manuscript collections which may be of special interest include the recently-opened Mary Ellen Avery Papers, the Leona Baumgartner Papers, and the Grete Bibring Papers (find out more about our collections at www.countway.harvard.edu/awm). Preference will be given to those who are using collections from the Center’s Archives for Women in Medicine (see the full list of collections here), but research on the topic of women in medicine using other material from the Countway Library will be considered. Preference will also be given to applicants who live beyond commuting distance of the Countway, but all are encouraged to apply, including graduate students.

Application requirements

Applicants should submit a proposal (no more than two pages) outlining the subject and objectives of the research project, length of residence, historical materials to be used, and a project budget (including travel, lodging, and research expenses), along with a curriculum vitae and two letters of recommendation by March 15th, 2014. The fellowship proposal should demonstrate that the Countway Library has resources central to the research topic.

Applications should be sent to: Women in Medicine Fellowships, Archives for Women in Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, 10 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA 02115. Electronic submissions of applications and supporting materials and any questions may be directed to chm@hms.harvard.edu.

The fellowship appointment will be announced in April 2014.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict