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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c169

Joseph C. Aub papers


The Joseph C. Aub Papers, 1918-1974, are the result of Aub's teaching, endocrine research and professional activities as Professor of Research Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital.


  • 1918-1974


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice. There are restrictions on access to this collection. Access to Harvard University records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. These restrictions are noted in Series II. Access to personal and patient information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restricted materials are noted where they appear in Series III, V, and X. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult 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.


18.1 cubic feet (11 record cartons, 20 document boxes, 1 legal document box)

The Joseph C. Aub papers, 1918-1974, are the result of Aub's research and professional activities as a cancer researcher at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and other medical institutions in Boston, Mass. Contains correspondence, writings, lectures, photographs and conference programs resulting from Aub's cancer research activities. Topics include industrial hygiene, lead, and beryllium toxicity.


Joseph Charles Aub (JCA),1890-1973, BS, 1911, Harvard University, MD, 1914, Harvard Medical School (HMS), was Professor of Research Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the medical laboratories at Collis P. Huntington Memorial Hospital (CPHMH) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). He was an endocrinologist whose research focused on cancer and industrial toxicity.

JCA was born on 13 May 1890 in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Samuel and Clara Shohl Aub; he married Elizabeth Frances Cope in 1925. During World War I, JCA was part of an MGH unit that spent 20 months in France and treated soldiers with pneumonia at base hospitals. He also collaborated in France with HMS physiologist Walter Cannon to study the effects of traumatic shock on the recently wounded.

JCA returned to MGH in 1919 and was appointed Instructor of Physiology and Assistant Professor of Applied Physiology at HMS and then Assistant in Medicine at MGH and Assistant Professor in Medicine at HMS in 1924. JCA was named Physician-in-Chief of the CPHMH in 1928, succeeding George Minot; he also held the position of Senior Associate Physician at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital from 1928 to 1942. During this period, JCA developed the theory that the study of normal cells could lead to an understanding of abnormal cell growth, including cancer. JCA was appointed Physician at MGH in 1942 when the CPHMH closed and its laboratories moved to MGH. In 1956, JCA retired from his administrative positions at MGH and HMS, including his chairmanship of the Department of Medicine at HMS, but continued his research as Professor of Research Medicine, Emeritus, maintaining his laboratory at MGH and serving as a member of the MGH Board of Honorary Physicians. JCA emerged as an early authority on industrial contamination in workers, and collaborated with Harriet Hardy to prevent lead and beryllium poisoning and to promote industrial safety for the World Health Organization. He worked with Manfred Bowditch, a Massachusetts industrial health authority, on industrial hygiene, lead poisoning, and toxicity. JCA also participated in the Shady Hill School Growth Study in Cambridge, Mass. which examined the physical development of elementary school students.

During his career, JCA authored over 300 articles on topics such as lead, metabolism, endocrinology, calcium, and toxicology, and he published the biography of David Edsall,Pioneer in Modern Medicine-David Linn Edsall of Harvard in 1971. JCA was a founder of the American Cancer Society, and was active in Unitarian Service Committee medical missions, the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, and the City of Hope Medical Center. JCA died of pneumonia on 30 December 1973 at age 83.

Series Arrangement

  1. Series I. Personal Papers, 1929-1974
  2. Series II. Harvard Medical School Records, 1929-1971
  3. Series III. Massachusetts General Hospital Records, 1927-1969
  4. Series IV. Collis P. Huntington Memorial Hospital Records, 1926-1957
  5. Series V. Walter B. Cannon Cancer Treatment Records, 1929-1965
  6. Series VI. Professional Activities and Associations Records, 1927-1971
  7. Series VII. Lectures, 1918-1965
  8. Series VIII. Writings, 1922-1971
  9. Series IX. Travel Records, 1946-1962
  10. Series X. Restricted Records and Patient Records, 1918-1974


Box 20 contains twenty-four folders of photographs and other non-print materials from Aub's activities at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and from his international medical mission journeys. Photographs are listed in their series. Patient records are housed in boxes 22-32.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Joseph C.Aub Papers were donated to the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine by Joseph Charles Aub in 1966.

Related Materials

Related collections in Rare Books and Special Collections include:

  1. Joseph C. Aub's faculty publications (1.Mh.1912.A)
  2. Walter Bauer Papers, 1920-1956.
  3. Walter B. Cannon Papers, 1881-1945.
  4. Stanley Cobb Papers, 1901-1968.
  5. David Linn Edsall Papers, 1881-1964.
  6. James Howard Means Papers, 1893-1966.
  7. George Richards Minot Papers, 1908-1951.

For more information on related materials, consult the Public Services Librarian.

Processing Information

Processed by Jennifer Pelose, May 2000.

Processing Note: The Joseph C. Aub papers, were formerly accessed by call number GA 4. The collection was brought together in 1999 by integrating records from Harvard Medical School Archives collection number GA 4, and unprocessed new accessions. These records have been interfiled, and article reprints, personal financial documents, advertising mailings from professional societies, duplicate materials and items not created by Aub have been removed. The collection was organized into eleven series. Items within folders were not reorganized; many were found organized in reverse chronological order.

Aub, Joseph C. (Joseph Charles), 1890- Papers, 1918-1974 (inclusive): Finding Aid.
Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
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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