Early Medical Education at Harvard
Harvard Medical School holds the distinction of being one of the very few American medical institutions formed in the eighteenth century and still in existence today. Created in 1782, according to a plan devised by surgeon John Warren (1753-1815), the Medical School has a rich history in both education and research. Its documentary legacy contains a wealth of material for the historian of medicine, and the Archives of Harvard Medical School form another significant historical resource and subject strength of the Countway Library's collections.
The Archives, in conjunction with a Records Management Program, preserves and provides access to the institutional records of the Harvard Medical School, School of Dental Medicine, and School of Public Health. Holdings in the Archives date from the late 18th century through the present day and include executive and departmental correspondence, course records, catalogs and publications, photographs and audiovisual records, and student dissertations.
Some of the earliest records of the school, including the first medical lectures, oldest surviving diploma and thesis, and an account of the student days of one of the first graduates, are displayed in this exhibit, along with John Warren's own copy of John Morgan's A Discourse upon the Institution of Medical Schools in America (1765), the basis for the Harvard Medical School plan.