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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c242

Edward Peirson Richardson, Jr. papers


The Edward Peirson Richardson, Jr. papers, 1898-1998, document Richardson's career as a neurologist and neuropathologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and as Bullard Professor of Neuropathology at Harvard Medical School.


  • 1898-1998.


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 patient information is restricted for 80 years. Restrictions are noted where they appear in Series III and V. 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.


3.5 cubic feet (4 record cartons)

The Edward Peirson Richardson, Jr. papers, 1898-1998, are the result of Richardson's professional and personal activities as a neurologist/neuropathologist and professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. The bulk of the records falls within two time periods: 1936-1948, and 1976-1998. The earlier years document EPR Jr.’s extensive medical and clinical training,and his research, first in neurology and psychiatry, then neuropathology. The later years document specific courses he taught during the mid 1970s through early 1990s, and his research and laboratory work in those same years. Correspondence, notes, syllabi, articles, reprints, and photographs result from Richardson's research activities concerning brain death, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Other topics covered in the records include the evolution of medical education at Harvard Medical School and developments in the study of brain disorders.


Edward Peirson Richardson, Jr. (EPR Jr.) MD, was a neuropathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Bullard Professor of Neuropathology at Harvard Medical School (HMS) who studied brain disorders. The son of Edward Peirson Richardson, Sr. (1881-1944) and Clara Shattuck Richardson (1883-1921), he was born on 3 April 1918 at MGH in Boston, Massachusetts. His paternal grandfather, Maurice Howe Richardson (1856-1912), was the first chief of surgery at MGH, and his father, EPR Sr., served as chief of the West Surgical Service at MGH. His maternal grandfather, Frederick Cheever Shattuck (1847-1929), was chief of MGH’s East Medical Service. EPR Jr. received the AB from Harvard College in 1939, and then received the MD from HMS as a member of the Class of 1943. He married Margaret “Peggy” Eustis in 1951, and they had three children.

Following graduation, EPR Jr. served briefly as a medical intern at MGH before becoming a neuropsychiatrist in the US Army. In 1946, he returned to MGH to study neurology and psychiatry under Dr. Stanley Cobb. For fifteen months during 1947-1948, EPR Jr. studied at The National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in Queen’s Square, and The Maudsley Hospital, in London. He returned to MGH in 1949 as an assistant in neuropathology to Dr. Charles S. Kubik, whom he succeeded as Chief Neuropathologist in 1951. In 1954, he became director of the neuropathology laboratory that was subsequently named after Dr. Kubik, a position he held until 1989.

EPR Jr. was appointed assistant professor at HMS in 1960, Professor of Neuropathology in 1974, and Bullard Professor of Neuropathology in 1984. In addition, he held a number of international posts and visiting professorships, including appointments in Germany, Switzerland, and Australia. He trained and mentored many HMS medical students, MGH residents, and international fellows in neurology, neuroanatomy, and neuropathology. He was course director at HMS for the Neurology-Neuropathology Course from 1972-1989.

EPR Jr.’s contributions to neuropathology included the original description of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), and research on Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, systemic lupuserythematosus (SLE), tuberous sclerosis, the leukodystrophies, and other demyelinating and neurodegenerative disorders.

He frequently contributed to professional publications on topics concerning neurology and neuropathology, and served as an editor for a number of journals, including Acta Neuropathologica, Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, andNeurology. For over fifty years, he regularly contributed to the Cabot Clinicopathological Cases, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. He co-edited a volume of articles, Neurologic Clinicopathological Conferences of the Massachusetts General Hospital, with Benjamin Castleman (1968), and co-wrote a volume, Pathology of the Peripheral Nerve, with Umberto De Girolami (1995).

EPR Jr. maintained active memberships in many professional societies. He was Secretary-Treasurer, then President of the American Association of Neuropathologists (1973-1974), and received its Award for Meritorious Services to Neuropathology (1988). He became a member of the American Neurological Association (1961), serving as First Vice President (1970-1971), and Honorary Member (1993). He was on the Advisory Committee of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (1974-1977), and served on the Medical Advisory Board (1975-1996). He was elected to membership in the Royal Academy of Medicine (1984), and was invited to be the Litchfield Lecturer at Oxford, England (1975, 1990). He received the Senior Scientist Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (1982). He was an active consultant to the National Institutes of Health (1966-1973).

EPR Jr. died at home in Brookline, Massachusetts on 30 November 1998, at age 80. A memorial service was held at the First and Second Church, Boston, on 23 January 1999.

Series and Subseries Arrangement

  1. Series I. EPR Jr. Student Notes,1936-1948
  2. ___ Subseries A. Harvard College, 1936-1939
  3. ___ Subseries B. Harvard Medical School, 1939-1942
  4. ___ Subseries C. United States Army Service, 1944
  5. ___ Subseries D. National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Queen’s Square, London,1947-1948
  6. Series II. Teaching Records,1945-1957, 1972-1993
  7. Series III. Research Records,1898-1998
  8. Series IV. Manuscript Review Correspondence, 1955-1998
  9. Series V. Photographs, 1958-1991, n.d.


Photographs are noted where they were found in the collection, then listed again as Series V, in the order in which they appear in the collection. There is patient information listed in Series III that is housed separately in box 4; the records are restricted for 80 years.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Edward Peirson Richardson, Jr. papers were donated to the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine by Margaret E.Richardson in 1999.

Related Materials

Related collections in the Center for the History of Medicine include the:

  1. Edward Peirson Richardson, Sr. 1881-1944. Papers, 1875-1931.
  2. Richardson, Maurice Howe, 1851-1912. Papers, 1869-1913.

Consult Public Services for further information.

Processing Information

Processed by: Alyson Reichgott, May 2001

Processing Note: Seven cubic feet of material were received in good order to form the four series of this collection. Approximately nine cubic feet of patient records were discarded. Appointment books totalling 0.25 cubic feet were removed. Duplicate unmarked photocopies and reprints were removed and discarded, along with one cubic foot of unmarked, damaged glass slides. Patient names have been eliminated from correspondence, reports, and notes accompanying unrestricted material.

Richardson, Edward Peirson, 1918- , Papers,1898-1998: A Finding Aid.
Center for the History of Medicine. Francis A. Countway Library ofMedicine.
Language of description
The Edward Peirson Richardson, Jr. Papers were processed with support from Margaret E. Richardson.

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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