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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c317

Robert A. Good papers


The Robert A. Good Papers, 1943-2006, are the product of Good’s activities as a medical research administrator, scientist, educator, and lecturer.


  • 1943-2006 (inclusive).


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice. Access to patient information and personal information about individuals is restricted for 80 years from the date of record creation. These restrictions appear in Series I, II, and III. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.

The Papers are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to consult Public Services for further information concerning retrieval of material.

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.


38.6 cubic feet (38 record storage cartons and 2 document boxes)

The Robert A. Good Papers are the product of Good’s activities as an medical research administrator, scientist, educator, and lecturer. Series I and II constitute the bulk of the collection and consist of Good’s professional correspondence and papers produced by Good while working at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, New York, the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, and All Children’s Hospital, Saint Petersburg, Florida. Series I contains Good’s professional correspondence, the majority a result of Good’s administrative activities. Also included is correspondence with bone marrow transplant patients and correspondence with United States Senators and Representatives regarding funding for scientific research. Series II, Professional Papers, consists of correspondence, handwritten notes, newspaper clippings, memoranda, reports, grant records, and awards. Series III, IV, and V contain records from conferences and lectures attended and/or given by Good. Papers held by the Center for the History of Medicine, Countway Library, do not contain records related to the first successful bone marrow transplantation.

Materials entirely in English.

Biographical Note

Robert Alan Good (1922-2003), B.A., 1944, M.D., Ph.D., 1947, University of Minnesota, was a pediatrician, microbiologist, and pathologist. Good was a founder of modern immunology and a pioneer in bone marrow transplantation. His research focused on the cellular basis of immunity, thymus function, immunodeficiency diseases, cellular engineering, and nutrition.

Good was born 21 May 1922 in Crosby, Minnesota. His father, a high school principal, died of cancer when Good was still young. As an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota he had a polio-like illness that required the use of a wheelchair. Good was eventually able to walk unassisted, though with a noticeable limp. While at Minnesota, he earned a B.A., M.D., and Ph.D. After finishing his graduate studies he completed his pediatric internship and residency at the University of Minnesota Hospitals, 1946 to 1949. Good was then a fellow at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, New York, 1949 to 1950, and the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Fellow in Rheumatic Fever Research, 1948 to 1950. Upon returning to the University of Minnesota, Good held several positions in the pediatrics department, including Instructor of Pediatrics, 1950 to 1951; Chief Resident in Pediatrics, 1950 to 1951; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, 1952 to 1953; Associate Professor of Pediatrics; and American Legion Memorial Professor of Pediatrics, 1953 to 1972. Good also served as Professor of Microbiology, 1962 to 1972, and was the Regent’s Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology, 1969 to 1972. Good’s research activities at Minnesota include: in 1962, his team identified the thymus gland as a primary source for mammalian lymphocytes and soon played a key role in differentiating between B-cells (bursa-derived, or bone marrow-derived) and their activities and T-cells (thymus-derived) and their activities; in 1965, Good outlined the important role that tonsils play in the development of the immune system of mammals, including humans; and in 1968, he led a team that performed first successful bone marrow transplantation.

In 1972 Good moved to the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York, serving as President and Director until 1982. During this time Good also held attending positions at Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases and New York Hospital, as well as being an adjunct professor and visiting physician at Rockefeller University.

From 1982 to 1985 Good was Head of the Cancer Research Program at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, also serving as Attending Physician and Head, Section of Pediatric Immunology, Oklahoma Children’s Memorial Hospital, Oklahoma City, and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City. Good moved to the University of South Florida, Tampa, in 1985, serving in several positions, including Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, 1985 to 1991, and as University Professor and Professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, 1985 to 2003. During this time he also served at All Children’s Hospital, St. Petersburg, as Physician-in-Chief, 1985 to 2001, Director, Allergy and Immunology Training Program, 1986 to 2003, and Director, Children’s Research Institute, 1985 to 2003.

Good died in 2003 of esophageal cancer. He was survived by his wife and colleague of seventeen years, Dr. Noorbibi K. Day-Good and step-sons Khalil and Selim Day; brother Roy Good; and five children from his first marriage: Robert, Mark, Alan, Margaret, and Mary.

Series and Subseries in the Collection

  1. I. Professional Correspondence, 1950-2006
  2. II. Professional Papers, 1943-2003
  3. III. Travel Files, 1956-2003
  4. IV. Slide Presentation Files, 1987-2000
  5. V. Slides and Audiocassettes, 1978-2000

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Robert A. Good papers, 1943-2006 (inclusive), were donated to the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine by Dr. Noorbibi K. Day-Good. Records were acquired in two groups: Accession 2009-035 and Accession 2010-057.

Processing Information

Processed by Bryan Sutherland and Christina M. Thompson, June 2010.

Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine analyzed, arranged, and described the records and created a finding aid to improve access to the collection. To enhance preservation, processing staff re-housed the collection and, where necessary, photocopied documents onto acid-free paper. Duplicate records and records that did not meet the collection policy of the Center for the History of Medicine were discarded. Folder titles were transcribed from the originals. Researchers should be aware that, due to several rearrangements of the collection that took place prior to the Center for History of Medicine's acquiring it, the original order of the papers has been lost. As received, the bulk of the collection was gouped in chronological order. Good's professional correspondence was manually separated from the body of the materials comprising Series II; the remainder of the collection is organized as received (Series III, IV, and V).

Good, Robert A., 1922-2003. Papers, 1943-2006 (inclusive): Finding Aid.
Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
Language of description
Processing of the Robert A. Good Papers was funded in part by Dr. Noorbibi K. Day-Good.

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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