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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c212

Sidney H. Ingbar papers


The Sidney H. Ingbar Papers, 1926-1991, document Ingbar's career as an endocrinologist and academic physician at Harvard Medical School, Boston City Hospital, and Beth Israel Hospital, and his research on thyroid-related issues.


  • Creation: 1926-1991.


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice.There are restrictions on access to portions of this collection. Patient and personal information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions are noted where they appear in Series I, II, III, IV, VI, and VIII. 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.


15.5 cubic feet (15 record cartons, 1 large flat document box)

The Sidney H. Ingbar papers, 1926-1991, document Ingbar's academic and professional life as an endocrinologist at HMS, BCH, and BIH. The bulk of the collection falls within two time periods: 1969-1972, and 1974-1988, corresponding roughly with SHI's two separate tenures at TML.

Fifteen-and-a-half cubic feet of material, received in three accessions in 1999 and 2000, were organized to form the eight series of this collection. Plaques are housed in Box 13. Oversized papers are housed in box 16. Photographs are listed where they were found in the collection, while independent photographs are listed in Series VIII, in the order in which they appear. Restricted materials are listed where they appear in Series I, II, III, IV, VI, and VIII, but are housed in Boxes 14-15.


Sidney Harold Ingbar (SHI), MD, Chief of Endocrinology at Beth Israel Hospital (BIH), Director of the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory (TML) at BIH, and William Bosworth Castle Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS), was an endocrinologist who produced original work on every aspect of thyroid function. He attended UCLA from 1941 to 1943. He received the MD, magna cum laude, from HMS in 1947.

Following graduation from HMS, SHI completed a residency at Boston City Hospital (BCH). Supported by HMS and first BCH, then BIH, the TML accommodated SHI’s research projects for thirty-five years. He was appointed Research Fellow at the TML in 1949, and then after brief military service, SHI returned to BCH in 1953 to head the endocrine services. He was appointed BCH’s Program Director of the Harvard Clinical Research Center in 1962, and Physician-in-Charge of the Outpatient Endocrine Clinic in 1963. SHI was named Associate Director of the TML at BCH in 1963. SHI held these positions until leaving Boston in 1972.

In 1972, SHI relocated to California, and from 1972-1974 served as chief of endocrinology and metabolism and associate chief for research and education at the Veterans Administration Hospital in San Francisco. He also served as Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Academic Development at the University of California at San Francisco. SHI returned to Boston in 1974 and became Director of the newly reorganized TML at BIH. He simultaneously accepted the BIH Chief of Endocrinology post, and held both appointments until his death in 1988.

SHI's affiliation with HMS spanned most of his career. He was first appointed Teaching Fellow in Medicine in 1948, and rose steadily through the academic ranks to become Research Fellow and Instructor in Medicine in 1953, Assistant Professor in 1958 and William Bosworth Castle Professor of Medicine in 1969. When SHI returned to Harvard in 1974, he assumed the rank of Professor of Medicine, and was re-appointed William B. Castle Professor of Medicine in 1976. He held this post until his death in 1988.

SHI served as a lieutenant with the Army Medical Corps Department of Biophysics at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., from 1951 to 1953. From 1955 until 1963, he was an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. For eight months during 1956-1957, SHI conducted research at the National Institute for Medical Research in London, England. In 1972, he became a Senior Medical Investigator for the Veterans Administration.

SHI was a leading thyroid specialist. During his career, he was a principal investigator and acknowledged authority during the most prolific period in the history of thyroid research. His scientific contributions included original work on every aspect of thyroid function, and prevention of thyroid disease in underdeveloped countries through iodination of water supplies. SHI’s presence was constantly sought at conferences and laboratories in the US and abroad. At TML, he recruited, trained, and nurtured the careers of over 100 young scientists. Many of these fellows came from overseas, especially Japan and other Asian countries, and many became prominent and prolific scientists in their own right.

SHI authored or co-authored over 350 articles for professional publication, and edited both Contemporary Endocrinology, vols. 1 and 2. He also edited the most widely-used textbook on the thyroid gland, The Thyroid: a Fundamental and Clinical Text, which was originally authored by Sidney C. Werner, then jointly co-authored and edited by Werner and SHI. SHI co-authored later editions of this text with Lewis Braverman. Article topics were largely based on the results of his laboratory work on cell growth and hormones. He was a member of the editorial boards of Endocrinology (1957-1958), New England Journal of Medicine (1967-1970) and the Journal of Clinical Investigation (1968-1972). He was Editor-in-Chief of Medical Grand Rounds (1983-1987), a collaborative journal by Plenum Publishing Corporation. He was also a member of the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Endocrinologic Investigation (1983-1988), and co-editor of Hormone and Metabolic Research (1983-1988).

SHI maintained memberships in many professional societies. He was active in the Endocrine Society, receiving the Ernst Oppenheimer Award (1965), and becoming President of the Society (1985-1986). He was also President of the American Thyroid Association (1976-1977), and Chairman of the Endocrinology and Metabolic Examination Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine (1975-1977). He received numerous awards and fellowships and was active in associations including the American Society of Clinical Investigation, American Association of Professors, Interurban Clinical Club, and the National Institutes of Health.

Sidney Ingbar died on 6 October 1988.

Series and Subseries Arrangement

  1. Series I. Biographical, 1941-1991
  2. Series II. Correspondence, 1954-1988
  3. ___ Subseries A. Alphabetical Correspondence, 1954-1988
  4. ___ Subseries B. Chronological Outgoing Correspondence, 1976-1977, 1984-1988
  5. Series III. Beth Israel Hospital/Harvard Medical School Materials, 1968-1988
  6. Series IV. Research, 1956-1988
  7. ___ Subseries A. Research Notebooks, 1956-1963
  8. ___ Subseries B. Clinical Studies, 1974-1988
  9. ___ Subseries C. Thorndike Memorial Laboratory Data Notebooks, 1964-1988
  10. ___ Subseries D. Thyroid Lectures: Slide Presentation Notes, 1967-1988
  11. Series V. Professional Activities, 1953-1988
  12. Series VI. Publications, 1950-1991
  13. ___ Subseries A. Medical Grand Rounds, Correspondence re: Publications, 1979-1989
  14. ___ Subseries B. Reprints, 1950-1991
  15. Series VII. Consulting, 1978-1989
  16. Series VIII. Film and Photographs, 1926-1983
  17. ___ Subseries A. Film Reels, 1972-1980
  18. ___ Subseries B. Photographs, 1926-1983

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Sidney H. Ingbar Papers were donated to the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine by the Ingbar family in three accessions in 1999 and 2000.

Related Materials

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

  1. Mary Lee Ingbar Papers (H MS c211).
  2. Maxwell Finland Papers (H MS c153).
  3. Edward Kass Papers (H MS c168).

For more information on related materials, consult Public Services.

Processing Information

Processed by: Alyson Reichgott, September 2003.

Processing Note: Approximately four cubic feet of patient records were discarded, along with four cubic feet of curriculum vitae, and six cubic feet of grant and research applications. Approximately seven cubic feet of duplicate unmarked photocopies and reprints were removed and discarded. Patient names and social security numbers have been eliminated from correspondence, reports, and notes accompanying unrestricted material.



Ingbar, Sidney H. Papers, 1926-1991: A 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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