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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c164

Jean Alonzo Curran papers


The Jean Alonzo Curran Papers, [186-?], 1871-1976, document the medical consulting and historical research activities of Jean Alonzo Curran, President of the Long Island College of Medicine and historical consultant to the Harvard School of Public Health.


  • [186-?], 1871-1976, 1995.


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice. There are restrictions on access to portions of this collection. Access to Harvard University records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. These restrictions are noted where they appear in Series III and Series IV.

These restrictions are noted where they appear in Series III and Series IV. 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.


17 cubic feet (15 record cartons and 6 document boxes)
The Jean Alonzo Curran (JAC) Papers, [186-?], 1871-1976, 1995, are the records of the historical research, medical consulting, and international missionary activities of Jean Alonzo Curran, a research consultant at the Harvard School of Public Health. The papers document JAC’s career, including his work in rural medicine, both domestic and abroad, his work as a medical historian and consultant at the HSPH, and his administrative duties at Long Island College of Medicine and SUNY Downstate Medical Center. The bulk of the collection falls between 1922 and 1976 and contains JAC’s personal and professional correspondence, writings, and photographs recording JAC's work as a medical missionary, historian, and consultant.


Jean Alonzo Curran (JAC), President of the Long Island College of Medicine from 1941 to 1951, was a consultant for historical research at the Harvard School of Public Health and focused on international medical missionary work, historical medical research, and medical school administration, education, and consulting. JAC was born on 12 January 1893 in Ironwood, Michigan. He received his AB degree in biology from Carleton College in Minnesota in 1916, and his MD from Harvard Medical School (HMS) in 1921. JAC interned at Brooklyn Hospital in New York City from 1921 to 1923; in 1923 he married Frances Rose (FRC), a graduate nurse at Brooklyn Hospital. From 1923 to 1930 JAC served at the Carleton-in-China Mission Hospital, located in the city of Fenchow, Shansi Province, in northwest China. The hospital operated under the auspices of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and was partially supported by the China Medical Board of New York, a division of the Rockefeller Foundation.

After returning to the United States in 1930, JAC became a medical educator and consultant. He was a medical instructor at both Cornell Medical College and New York University College of Medicine in New York City from 1931 to 1933. JAC was named dean of the Long Island College of Medicine (LICM) in 1937, a position he held until 1940 when he was appointed acting president of the institution; he subsequently served as president from 1942 to 1951. While president of LICM, JAC oversaw the merger of the LICM with the State University of New York (SUNY) to become the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in 1950; he served as President there through 1951. JAC was appointed Dean of the newly-formed institution in 1951, a position he held until 1954, when he was named Associate Executive Dean for Medical Education. JAC simultaneously served as Professor of the History of Medicine from 1954 to 1963.

Throughout his career, JAC was a medical consultant to both government and private philanthropic organizations. During World War II, JAC served on the War Manpower Commission and acted as a consultant to the United States Army Surgeon General from 1948 to 1967. JAC also served as a medical adviser to the World Health Organization from 1955 to 1959, for whom he completed a survey of medical education among private universities in the Philippines and conducted a study of medical curriculum and systems of teaching in Lebanon, Iran and Pakistan. In 1961, JAC served as a consultant to the Medical College and Severance Hospital Center of Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea, and contributed to the planning, construction, and organization of the new medical center. JAC traveled to East Pakistan, (later Bangladesh) in January 1963 to provide recommendations to and to assist the government of Pakistan with the development of medical colleges and teaching hospitals in East Pakistan under the auspices of the United States Agency of International Development. From 1955 to 1977, JAC was a trustee and a senior medical consultant to the Bingham Associates Fund (BAF) of Bethel, Maine, participating in studies of 50 hospitals affiliated with the BAF program and contributing to the advancement of regional health care in the United States. JAC later served as a consultant to the Health Facilities Planning Council of Maine from 1965 to 1967, where he participated in regional medical and health studies of Portland, Lewiston, northern Aroostook County, and the Bangor-northeastern areas of Maine. JAC also was a consultant for historical research to the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) from 1964 to 1968, and later chaired the Joseph Garland Memorial Fund of the Boston Medical Library from 1973 to 1977.

JAC co-authored Unmet Needs in the Medical Care of Rural People, State of Maine, a substantial report highlighting critical health care issues in Maine’s rural communities. JAC published a history of HSPH, Founders of the Harvard School of Public Health, With Biographical Notes, 1909-1946 in 1970. He also published numerous articles on the history of medicine and medical education throughout his career.

JAC died on 16 January 1977.

Series Arrangement

  1. Series I. Biographical and Family Papers, [186-?], 1871-1976, 1995
  2. Series II. Correspondence, 1922-1976
  3. Series III. Harvard School of Public Health Records, 1888-1971
  4. Series IV. Professional Activities Records, 1947-1976
  5. Series V. Writings and Speeches, 1952-1976
  6. Series VI. Photographs, [186-?], 1871-1976
Arrangement The collection includes 96 photographs and non-print items. Photographs are housed in box 14. Photographs housed in folders 1 through 50 are arranged in the order in which they appear in the collection. Photographs located in folders 51 through 84 were found loose in the collection, are identified, and are listed alphabetically in Series VI. Oversized items are housed in boxes 15-16. Reel to reel tapes and audio cassettes are housed in boxes 17-18.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Jean Alonzo Curran Papers were donated to the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine by Robert T. Curran in March 1999 and March 2003.

Processing Information

Processed by Anne Woodrum and Jennifer Pelose,September 2002

Processing note: When surveyed in 2000, the collection was divided into chronological sections that were further separated according to type of material and then generally organized alphabetically or chronologically. The collection was organized into eight series. Duplicates and items not created by JAC were discarded. Items within folders were not reorganized; many were found organized in chronological order.
Link to catalog
Curran, Jean Alonzo, 1893- Papers, [186-?], 1871-1976, 1995: A Finding Aid.
Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.

Repository Details

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

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