Osler Reports on the Unit


"Inside a Ward," circa 1918







In the fall of 1915, Sir William Osler wrote to A. Lawrence Lowell to report his impressions of the Harvard Surgical Unit and its operations.




"Admitting a Convoy," circa 1918

Helen Frances Kimmens (1891-1956)
Photograph Album of No. 22 General Hospital, circa 1918-1919

Gift of Mrs. Frederick J. Caldwell to the Archives of Harvard Medical School, 1970

Helen F. Kimmens of Worcester was a nurse with the Harvard Surgical Unit and assigned to No. 22 General Hospital.  At her death, a photograph album documenting her experiences in France was given to Dr. Frederick J. Caldwell who maintained historical information on the hospital and the unit personnel.


The quarters are good, tents of the fine Durbar variety, the wards are most attractive. At first patients were scanty, later they have been numerous & many important cases have been treated…. The staff is A.1. I saw the work in several of the departments, & could not but be impressed with the very valuable experience it has been for the men, so varied and so unusual. The X-ray work is just what one would have expected…. The Dental men have been a revelation & I saw several cases of terrible mutilation of the face on the high road to repair…. It was a peculiar pleasure to dine with the mess & to meet so many men of the younger generation, all of whom seem treading the footsteps of that great group--the Warrens, Jacksons, Bigelows & Bowditches--who made Harvard famous in the past. I do hope arrangements have been made to continue the work.

The Harvard Surgical Unit
Osler Reports on the Unit