The (Invention and) Reinvention of Public Health: Enabling Access to Archival Collections that Inform Contemporary Discourse (TRoPH)


The collections enable a broad examination of the origins and evolution of public health research, education, and practice in twentieth-century America. They further reveal the directions individual public health sub-disciplines, including industrial hygiene, tropical medicine, and community mental health, would take over the course of the century and beyond. Collections include: a) early administrative and decanal records reflecting the formation and expansion of the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), 1913 to 1999 (129 cubic feet); and b) the personal and professional records of seven leaders in diverse fields that shaped our modern conceptions of public health, 1911 to 1989 (271 cubic feet): Leslie Silverman, chair of the Department of Industrial Hygiene and internationally recognized expert on air pollution control, industrial ventilation, and nuclear safety, 1940-1966; Benjamin Greeley Ferris, Jr., early researcher in respiratory disease and environmental epidemiology, 1933-1989; Jean Mayer, international leader in the field of nutrition, 1953-1974; Erich Lindemann, ground-breaking researcher in community mental health, 1927-1976; Richard Pearson Strong, 1911-1945, pioneer in tropical medicine; and Geoffrey Edsall, 1934-1979, and Nobelist Thomas H. Weller, 1960-1980, authorities in bacteriology and immunology.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



Center for the History of Medicine


  • Scott Podolsky

Collection Size

400 cubic feet

Date Range

1911 - 1999

Geographic Scope

Collections are from public health initiatives both national (Mass., Mich., N.Y.) and international (Africa, Central America, China, and Europe).