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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c227

Morris Simon papers


The Morris Simon papers, 1934-2005 (inclusive), 1960-2000 (bulk), are the product of Simon’s activities as a pulmonary radiologist, lecturer, researcher, and contributing member of national and international radiological organizations, including the Fleischner Society.


  • Creation: 1934-2005 (inclusive),
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1960-2000 .


Language of Materials

Records are predominately in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice. Access to Harvard University records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. These restrictions are noted where they appear in Series I. Access to personal and patient information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions appear in Series I-V. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Access to electronic records in this collection (as found in Series I and II) is premised on the availability of a computer station, requisite software, and/or the ability of Public Services staff to review and/or print out records of interest in advance of an on-site visit. 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.


6.44 cubic feet (5 records center cartons, 2 legal size document boxes, 1 oversize legal document box, and 3 oversize flat storage boxes)

The Morris Simon papers, 1934-2005 (inclusive), are the product of Simon’s activities as a pulmonary radiologist, lecturer, researcher, and contributing member of national and international radiological organizations. The Morris Simon papers consist of five series: Series I. Research Records; Series II. Writings and Publications; Series III. Professional Records; Series IV. Collected Reprints, Writings, and Photographs of Felix Fleischner; and Series V. Photographs.

Research records (Series I) comprise the bulk of the collection and consist of lecture and article drafts, drawings, professional correspondence, patent applications, and reports produced by Simon while developing several medical devices and patents, including Simon’s nitinol filter and stent, needle localiser, variable scale disc ruler, and rotary disc calculator. Records include hand drawings, device prototypes, and correspondence with patent attorneys, Beth Israel Hospital research administration, and commercial distributors of Simon’s instruments. Writings and Publications (Series II) contain Simon’s article drafts and reprints on such subjects as pulmonary embolism, pulmonary hypertension, and computerized radiologic reporting. Professional Records (Series III) consist of lecture drafts, agendas, and correspondence from Fleischner Society meetings and the Frontiers in Radiology Symposium at Harvard Medical School, 1967. The papers also include records and photographs collected by Simon, including reprints, photographs, and negatives of Simon’s Beth Israel Hospital colleague, Felix Fleischner, and photographs of Simon and Fleischner Society members (Series IV and V).

Materials are predominately in English.

Biographical Note

Morris Simon (1926-2005), M.B., B.Ch., 1948, Witwatersrand University and Medical School, Johannesburg, South Africa, was Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, from 1972 to 1997 and Radiologist-in-Chief at Beth Israel Hospital (now Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), Boston, from 1963 to 1970. Simon’s research focused on chest radiology, including pulmonary blood circulation and the use of thermal shape-memory alloys for devices such as stents and vena cava filters, as well as computerized language information processing for medical reporting.

Morris Simon was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1926. He received a M.B., B.Ch. from Witwatersrand University and Medical School, Johannesburg, in 1948. After finishing his graduate studies, Simon completed his internship and residency in South Africa first at Baragwanath General Hospital serving as House Physician and later House Surgeon (1948-1950), and then at Johannesburg General Hospital as a Surgical Registrar (1950). Simon and his family relocated to London, England, where he joined the staff at The London Hospital (now The Royal London Hospital) as a Junior Registrar (1951-1952). While in London, Simon decided to further his medical training and earned a D.M.R.D. from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1952. He then served as Registrar (1953-1954) and Senior Registrar (1954-1958) at Guy’s Hospital, London. During this time, Simon completed several fellowships, including a Fellowship in Neuroradiology at The Maudsley Hospital, London (1954-1958), and a Clinical Fellowship in the Diagnostic X-Ray Department at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, London (1954-1958). In 1958, Simon was asked by Felix Fleischner (1893-1969), Radiologist-in-Chief at Beth Israel Hospital, to join his department. Simon accepted Fleischner’s offer, and over the course of his career at Beth Israel Hospital, held several positions in the radiology department, including: Associate in Radiology (1958-1960); Acting Radiologist-in-Chief (1960-1962); Radiologist-in-Chief (1963-1970); Director, Clinical Radiology, (1970-1997); Director of Chest Radiology (1970-1997); and Senior Radiologist, a position held until his death in 2005.

At Harvard Medical School, Simon went on to become Assistant in Radiology (1958-1960); Instructor in Radiology (1960-1961); Assistant Clinical Professor of Radiology (1961-1963); Associated Clinical Professor of Radiology (1963-1972); and Professor of Radiology in 1972, becoming Emeritus in 1997. Simon also taught at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, in various capacities from 1960 to 1967.

Simon is also recognized for his multiple inventions, including medical instruments and patents for the Simon Nitinol Filter and Stent. Simon created the Simon Nitinol Filter using nitinol, a thermal shape alloy developed by NASA, to trap dislodged blood clots. He also patented a caliper rule, rotary disc calculator, and a needle localiser. In addition to his clinical and research activities, Simon authored numerous articles and was an active member of many professional organizations. He was President of the New England Roentgen Ray Society from 1972 to 1973, founding member and President of the Fleischner Society in 1976, and a member of the American College of Radiology, the Radiological Society of North America, the American Medical Association, and the Massachusetts Medical Association. Simon was also a member of the Faculty of Radiology, England, who awarded him a F.F.R. in 1956.

Morris Simon married Josephine Rubin in 1950. They had four sons, Daniel, Adam, Jason, and Mark. Simon died of cardiac arrest in 2005 in Boston.

Series in the Collection

  1. I. Research Records, 1956-2004, undated
  2. II. Writings and Publications, 1954-2005, undated
  3. III. Professional Records, 1966-2005, undated
  4. IV. Collected Reprints, Writings, and Photographs of Felix Fleischner (1893-1969), 1934-1969, 1991-2000, undated
  5. V. Photographs, undated

Immediate Source of Acquisition

  1. Accession number 2005-069. Donated by Josephine Simon, June 2005.

Related Collections in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Center for the History of Medicine

  1. Records of the Fleischner Society. H MS c198.
  2. Papers of Felix Fleischner. H MS c57.


Prototypes of medical instruments created by Morris Simon, including the Simon Nitinol Filter and Stent and the X-Ray Exposure Calculator were transferred to the Warren Anatomical Museum in January 2012.

Processing Information

Processed by Meghan Bannon, 2012 January.

Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine analyzed, arranged, and described the papers, and created a finding aid to improve access. Items were removed from three ring binders and, where necessary, photocopied to acid-free paper. Folder titles were transcribed from the originals. Files on 3.5 inch floppy disks and compact disks (as found in Series I and II) were copied to secure storage. Files that could be opened were sampled for content, however, researchers should be aware that not every file in the collection was (or could be) opened and assessed. Files for which specific software was needed, but not available to staff at the time of processing, were not reviewed, and media deemed too unstable or fragile to copy have been flagged in the folder list. Regardless of copy status, all original media have been retained.

Simon, Morris, 1926-2005. Papers, 1934-2005 (inclusive), 1960-2000 (bulk): Finding Aid.
Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
Language of description
Processing of the Morris Simon papers was funded by the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine's Lloyd E. Hawes Fund for Radiology.

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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