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COLLECTION — Box: 01 Identifier: H MS c246

James Burnett Shields diaries

Content Description

Includes two diaries, kept by James Burnett Shields, while he was a student at Harvard Medical School in 1915 and 1917. Each diary contains nearly daily entries, memoranda, cash accounts, and newspaper clippings. Entries relate to courses, lectures, and clinics Shields attended at Harvard and affiliated hospitals such as the City Hospital, Boston Lying In Hospital, and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. They also document events and experiences related to World War I in Boston, Mass.

Please note that these diaries include offensive slurs towards African-Americans as well as to Italian Soldiers fighting in Europe.


  • 1915-1917


Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all materials in the collection. Researchers are responsible for identifying and contacting any third-party copyright holders for permission to reproduce or publish. For more information on the Center's use, publication, and reproduction policies, view our Reproductions and Use Policy.


2 Volumes (wrapped together)

Biographical Note

James Burnett Shields (1892-1973) was born in Glen Falls, New York and attended Harvard Medical School for his third and fourth years. Shields graduated in 1918. As a student, Shields resided with his mother at 67 Louis Prang Street in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, Mass. A 1900 census identifies Shields as white. Shields married Mary E. Henry in 1918 in Glen Falls, New York.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

1915 diary purchase from Norm Dawson, 2005. 1917 diary, purchase from Carmen Valentino, 2020.

Processing Information

Processed by Marco Lanier in November, 2022. Collection was processed according to Level 1 protocol. The 1917 diary constitutes an accrual, and both the 1915 and 1917 diaries were rehoused together into the same collection.

Shields, James Burnett. Diaries 1915-1917 (inclusive): Finding Aid.
Marco Lanier
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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