Hidden Collections/Hidden Connections: Revealing Networks in the Development of Twentieth Century Surgery


Project collections reveal the development of 20th century surgical methods and norms and, through the application of technical processing techniques, the hidden connections among people, events, organizations, and technologies that influenced the evolution of this central medical practice. Collections are papers of key 20th century figures in American surgery: those of Joseph Murray, awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his role in the first successful kidney transplant; Francis D. Moore, known for his work with organ transplantation, metabolism, and care of the surgical patient; cardiac surgeon Dwight Harken, who performed the first successful open heart surgeries, and, in 1951, opened the world's first intensive care unit (all held by Countway); William Halsted, one of the founders of American surgery who developed basic principles of surgical technique, including aseptic technique; Thomas Cullen, a surgeon who pioneered gynecological pathology as a specialty; Alfred Blalock, who in 1944 developed the "blue baby" operation which launched the field of cardiac surgery; John Cameron, who perfected the Whipple procedure for the treatment of pancreatic cancer (all held by Johns Hopkins); Harry Morton Vars, best known for his work on parenteral (intravenous) feeding; and the records of the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery, founded in 1879 and the oldest continuously meeting professional society in surgery (both held by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia).


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



Open Knowledge Commons


  • Maura Marx

Collection Size

526 cubic feet

Date Range

1890 - 2002

Geographic Scope

Collections were created primarily on the east coast of the United States but include activities of national and international scope.