George Richards Minot papers
The George Richards Minot papers, 1891-1951, are the product of Minot's work as Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of Boston City Hospital's Harvard Medical Unit and the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory from 1928-1950. His research focused on blood and nutrition. Minot was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology in 1934 for his discovery that liver extract cured pernicious anemia.
- Minot, George Richards, 1885-1950 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice. There are restrictions on access to portions of this collection. Access to patient and personal information is restricted for 80 years. These restrictions are noted where they appear in Series III, IV,V,VII, IX, X, and XII. 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.
Extent7.15 cubic feet (6 record cartons, 2 document boxes, 1 legal document box, and 1 half document box)
The George Richards Minot papers, 1891-1951, contain records from Minot's administrative, teaching, research, and professional activities as a physician, professor, researcher, and clinician at HMS and BCH. In addition to his professional records, the collection contains one cubic foot of personal recods, most of which dates from 1907 to 1911, when he was a medical student at HMS. Professional records include those from his administrative, academic, professional activities, and his research on anemia and nutrition. The collection also contains one folder of photographs Nazi concentration camps and accompanying correspondence from Janet Vaughan, a colleague in England.
George Richards Minot, 1885-1950, was Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Director of the Harvard Medical Unit and Thorndike Memorial Laboratory (TML) at Boston City Hospital (BCH). His studies of blood and nutrition led to the discovery that liver cured pernicious anemia, for which he won the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 1934. Minot was born in Boston, Massachusetts on 2 December 1885 to James Jackson Minot (1853-1938) and Elizabeth Whitney Minot (1860-1903). Minot received the AB cum laude from Harvard College in 1908, the MD cum laude from HMS in 1912, and was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from HMS in 1928. He married Marian Linzee Weld (1890-1979) on 29 June 1915, and they had three children.
Following graduation from HMS, Minot spent one year as a House Pupil at MGH. In December 1913, he began a year at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, where he worked as an Assistant Resident Physician under William Sydney Thayer, and as a research fellow in William H. Howell’s physiology laboratory. At Johns Hopkins Minot was involved with blood coagulation research and published his first paper on anemia, specifically the effects of splenectomy on nitrogen metabolism in pernicious anemia. He moved back to Boston in 1915 where he stayed for the remainder of his life.
Minot was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine at HMS in 1918 and Professor of Medicine in 1928. During his career, he was associated with a number of HMS teaching hospitals, including MGH and the Collis P. Huntington Memorial Hospital (CPHMH). At MGH he began as an Assistant in Medicine in 1915 and by 1927 was a Member of the Board of Consultation. At the Huntington he was appointed Assistant Consulting Physician in 1917 and later Physician and Chief of Medical Laboratories in 1923. During this time, he was also Associate in Medicine at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. In 1928, he was appointed Director of the TML at BCH, succeeding his friend and mentor, Francis W. Peabody. He was also appointed chief of the BCH Harvard Medical Unit's Fourth Medical Service in 1928 and Second Medical Service in 1930. Under Minot’s leadership, the TML became one of America’s leading clinical research laboratories.
Minot was known for the care and concern he paid both to the research fellows at TML and to his HMS students. He spent significant time encouraging careers and facilitating an atmosphere of exploration and innovation. The TML, under Minot, played an important role in the development of future leaders in academic medicine.
It was at the Huntington, and at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, that Minot conducted much of his research on diseases of the blood, including leukemia, lymphoma, and his pioneering work in pernicious anemia. In 1925, building on George H. Whipple’s earlier work with anemic dogs, Minot and William P. Murphy began feeding liver to anemic patients, who after only a few weeks showed decided improvement in their conditions. This was followed by the development of a liver extract. In 1934, Minot, Murphy and Whipple were awarded the Noble Prize in Medicine or Physiology for discovering the liver cure for anemia. Minot received many other honors, including the National Institute of Social Science’s Gold Medal in 1930, the Moxon Gold Medal of the Royal College of Physicians at London in 1933, and the Distinguished Service Medal from the American Medical Association in 1945.
During his life, Minot published over 100 articles during his life on his research. He also edited books and journals, and maintained active memberships in many professional organizations, including the American College of Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the American Medical Association. He was interested in the history of medicine and was involved in the improvement of several libraries.
Diagnosed with diabetes in 1921, Minot was one of the first people in Boston to receive insulin when it was made available in 1923. He suffered a cerebral thrombosis in 1947 which left him partially paralyzed, and died on February 25, 1950.
Series and Subseries Arrangement
- Series I. Biographical and Personal Papers, 1891-1951
- Series II. Harvard Medical School Student Notes, 1907-1911
- Series III. Professional Correspondence, 1923-1950
- Series IV. Harvard Medical School Administrative and Committee Records, 1929-1948
- Series V. Harvard University Correspondence and Committee Records, 1928-1944
- Series VI. Harvard University and Medical School Alumni Activities Records, 1908-1949
- ___ Subseries A. General Alumni Activities Records, 1939-1949
- ___ Subseries B. Harvard Medical School Class of 1912 Alumni Activities Records, 1908-1947
- Series VII. Boston City Hospital: Harvard Medical Unit and Thorndike Memorial Laboratory Records, 1919-1948
- ___ Subseries A. Administrative Records, 1919-1948
- ___ Subseries B. Lectures, 1919-1947
- ___ Subseries C. Teaching Records, 1936-1947
- Series VIII. Collis P. Huntington Memorial Hospital Records, 1924-1928
- Series IX. Massachusetts General Hospital Board of Consultations Records, 1938-1949
- Series X. Research Notebooks, 1915-1937
- Series XI. Professional Activities Records, 1921-1949
- Series XII. Radio Addresses, Speeches and Writings, 1921-1947
- ___ Subseries A. Radio Addresses, 1934-1947
- ___ Subseries B. Speeches and Writings, 1921-1948
Photographs and oversized materials are housed in box 9. Records containing personal and patient information in Series III, IV, V, VII, IX, X, and XII, and patient records listed in Series VII are housed in boxes 7 and 8; these records are restricted for 80 years.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The George Richards Minot Papers were acquired by the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.
- Janet Vaughan donated a portion of the collection to the Harvard Medical Library in 1976.
- Accession 2004-013. Donated to the Harvard Medical Library by Walter Abelmann, October 1, 2003.
- Accession 2008-065. Donated to the Harvard Medical Library by Liza Groves, May 8, 2008.
- Accession 2008-068. Harvard Medical Library, May 14, 2008.
Processed by Susan McGoey, July 2002
The George Richards Minot Papers were accessed by call number GA 55. Seven cubic feet of records were integrated into twelve series. Approximately half of a cubic foot of newspaper clippings and unrelated records was discarded.
Charlotte Lellman updated the description for the folder now titled "Vaughan, Janet. Photographs, World War II Concentration Camp Scenes, 1945" in July 2023. She updated the finding aid so that the folder title in the finding aid matches the folder title on the physical folder. She also added a scope and content note describing the graphic contents of the folder, and she restricted the folder for 80 years from the date of creation. Notes were added to identify the items comprising Accession #2004-013.
- Minot, George Richards, 1885-1950. Papers, 1891-1951: A Finding Aid.
- Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
- Language of description
- EAD ID
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.
10 Shattuck Street
Boston MA 02115