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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c191

Robert B. Dixon papers

Scope and Contents

The Robert B. Dixon papers (1881-1943, bulk) consist primarily of records from Dixon’s work as a physician and as a medical examiner for the Royal Arcanum, a fraternal life insurance order. Records include: books recording the results of medical examinations; patient and prescribing ecords; photographs; writings by Dixon; a scrapbook of Royal Arcanum Bulletin articles by Dixon; Royal Arcanum meeting minutes; correspondence; medical certificates; and a volume of Suffolk District Medical Society, Section III: Obstetrics Diseases of Women minutes. Also includes photocopies of photographs and biographical articles about Dixon. Includes a Harvard Medical School thesis written by Robert B. Dixon's father, Robert Dixon.


  • 1881-1944


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice. Contact Public Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

Public domain.


1.62 cubic feet (1 letter size document box, 2 legal size document boxes, 1 oversize volume)

Biographical / Historical

Robert Brewer Dixon (1856-1942), M.D., 1879, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, was a physician and, for 55 years, a medical examiner for the Royal Arcanum, a fraternal life insurance order.

Robert B. Dixon was born on July 20, 1856 to Robert Dixon, a physician who graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1846 and practiced medicine in Damariscotta, Maine, and Mary (Coffin) Dixon. He attended Chauncy Hall School, Boston, Massachusetts (now Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School, Waltham, Massachusetts) and later Harvard Medical School (M.D., 1879). He studied medicine in Vienna, Austria; London, England, United Kingdom; and Dublin, Ireland for two years. He then practiced medicine in Boston, working for eight years as Surgeon of the 5th Mass Infantry and for twelve years as Physician to the Boston Dispensary. He joined the Royal Arcanum in 1882 or 1883 (sources differ) as a member of Star Council, No. 214, Boston, which later became part of Allston Council. He was appointed Medical Examiner in 1882, then Supervising Medical Examiner for Massachusetts in 1896, and finally, from 1924 to 1937, Medical Examiner-in-Chief.

Dixon was the author of "Is Craniotomy Upon the Living Foetus Ever Justifiable?" (1885) and "What Is To Be Done: A Handbook for the Nursery, with Useful Hints for Children and Adults" (1884).

Dixon died on December 16, 1942.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Part of the collection was gifted to the Harvard Medical Library by Mary Louise Stephenson in 1999 (Accession #1999-19).

Separated Materials

Several artifacts from the Robert B. Dixon papers were transferred to and accessioned by the Warren Anatomical Museum in 2020. Please see Warren Anatomical Museum items 22104-22109.

Processing Information

Processed by Charlotte Lellman in December 2020. Collection was processed according to Level 1 protocol.

Dixon, Robert B. (Robert Brewer). Papers, 1881-1943 (inclusive): Finding Aid
Charlotte Lellman
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine) Repository

The Center for the History of Medicine in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine is one of the world's leading resources for the study of the history of health and medicine. Our mission is to enable the history of medicine and public health to inform healthcare, the health sciences, and the societies in which they are embedded.

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