William Parry Murphy papers
The William Parry Murphy papers, 1906-1987 (inclusive), 1919-1987 (bulk), are a product of Murphy’s research and personal and professional activities as conducted throughout his professional appointments, including: House Officer, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence; Assistant in Medicine, Instructor in Medicine, Associate in Medicine, and Lecturer in Medicine Emeritus, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; and Assistant Resident Physician, Junior Associate in Medicine, Associate in Medicine, Senior Associate in Medicine, and Senior Associate in Medicine Emeritus and Consultant in Hematology, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
- 1906-1987 (inclusive),
- Majority of material found within 1919-1987 .
Language of Materials
Records are predominantly in English. Some correspondence is in German, Swedish, and Dutch.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice. Access to personal and patient information is restricted for 80 years from the date of 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.
Extent14.5 cubic feet (15 records center cartons, 1 half legal size document box, and 1 oversize box)
The William Parry Murphy papers, 1906-1987 (inclusive), 1919-1987 (bulk), are a product of Murphy’s research and personal and professional activities as conducted throughout his professional appointments, including: House Officer, Rhode Island Hospital; Assistant in Medicine, Instructor in Medicine, Associate in Medicine, and Lecturer in Medicine Emeritus, Harvard Medical School; and Assistant Resident Physician, Junior Associate in Medicine, Associate in Medicine, Senior Associate in Medicine, and Senior Associate in Medicine Emeritus and Consultant in Hematology, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. The papers are arranged in four series: I. Subject Files (1906-1987, undated); II. Correspondence (1919-1985, undated); III. Writings and Publications (1925-1933, undated); and IV. Photographs (1939-1944, undated).
Series I (subject files) comprises the bulk of the collection and consists of: professional correspondence regarding William Parry Murphy’s professional appointments at Harvard Medical School and the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, as well as his involvement in professional societies; medical advice to and from colleagues; patient cases; research notes concerning blood diseases, notably pernicious anemia, and liver extract treatment; collected scientific papers and newspaper clippings used by Murphy for research and medical reference; and personal correspondence with family and friends. The subject files also include patient records and several photographs and photographic postcards of Murphy’s friends. Series II consists of Murphy’s personal and professional correspondence with colleagues, friends, and family members concerning his professional appointments, involvement in professional societies, medical advice to colleagues and patients, research on blood diseases, personal travel, and family affairs. Correspondence also includes patient records and several photographs of family and friends. Series III contains edited and unedited drafts of over forty of Murphy’s scientific papers, research notes, and assorted publications collected by Murphy for use in his research. Writings concern hematologic diseases, notably anemia, diabetes, and liver extract treatment. Series III also includes patient records and correspondence with research partners. Series IV consists of unlabeled photographs of Murphy’s family life (while lacking identifying information, they likely depict Murphy’s home and family members), Murphy and his colleagues, and aerial views of the Harvard Medical School campus and the Massachusetts State House. Papers also include newspaper clippings concerning Murphy’s family members, invitations to community events, an infant weight chart for his son, William P. Murphy, Jr. and a lock of hair labeled “Baby’s First Haircut.”
Materials predominantly in English. Some correspondence is in German, Swedish, and Dutch.
William Parry Murphy (1892-1987), A.B., University of Oregon, Eugene; 1914, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, was Senior Associate in Medicine at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, and Lecturer in Medicine Emeritus at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. Murphy’s research focused on pernicious anemia and its treatment with liver and liver extract, leukemia, and diabetes mellitus. With George Richards Minot (1885-1950) and George Hoyt Whipple (1878-1976), he is credited with developing a treatment for pernicious anemia using a diet of uncooked liver, for which all three were awarded the 1934 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
William Parry Murphy was born in Stoughton, Wisconsin, in 1892, to Thomas Francis Murphy (born 1852), a congregational minister, and Rose Anna Parry Murphy (born 1864). In 1914, he received his A.B. from the University of Oregon, Eugene, and between 1914 and 1916 he taught physics and mathematics at various high schools in Oregon. He attended the University of Oregon Medical School, Portland (1916-1917), and completed a summer course at Rush Medical School, Chicago, Illinois (1917). Murphy was later awarded the first Stanislaus Murphy Fellowship to attend Harvard Medical School, where he received his M.D. in 1922. Between 1920 and 1922, he served as House Officer at the Rhode Island Hospital, Providence. In 1922, he was appointed Assistant Resident Physician at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (1922-1923), and in 1923 became Assistant in Medicine at Harvard Medical School (1923-1928). His subsequent appointments at Harvard Medical School include Instructor in Medicine (1928-1935), Associate in Medicine (1935-1958), and Lecturer in Medicine Emeritus (1958). His subsequent appointments at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital include: Junior Associate in Medicine (1923-1928); Associate in Medicine (1928-1935); Senior Associate in Medicine (1935-1958); and Senior Associate in Medicine Emeritus and Consultant in Hematology (1958). Throughout his career, he served as a consulting physician for the Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Melrose Hospital, Massachusetts, and the Quincy City Hospital, Massachusetts.
Murphy’s research focused on diseases of the blood, primarily pernicious anemia, leukemia, and diabetes mellitus. His early research concerned blood transfusions, and he is credited with developing a blood transfusion process that could be administered outside of a hospital. With George R. Minot and George H. Whipple he is credited with developing a treatment for pernicious anemia using a diet of uncooked liver, for which they were awarded the 1934 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Murphy is also credited with refining liver extract (as developed by Edwin J. Cohn (1892-1953) as a substitute for raw liver throughout his career. Additional awards and honors include: with George R. Minot, the Cameron Prize of the University of Edinburgh, for their work on pernicious anemia (1930); the Bronze Medal of the American Medical Association for his exhibit demonstrating the methods of treating anemia with liver extract; the Gold Medal of the Massachusetts Humane Society (1935); the National Order of Merit, Carlos J. Finlay, Official, Cuba (1952); and the Decoration-Commander of the First Rank, Order of the White Rose, Finland (1934). Murphy was a member of numerous professional societies, including: the American Medical Association; the American Society for Clinical Investigation; the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the International Society of Hematology; the Society of Arts and Sciences; and the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, as well as served two terms of presidency for the Brookline Rotary Club, Massachusetts. Murphy served on the editorial boards of both Acta Haematologica and Modern Medicine. Murphy’s publications include the film, “Pernicious Anemia” (circa 1934), and the book Anemia in Practice: Pernicious Anemia (1939), among over seventy scientific papers concerning hematologic diseases.
William Parry Murphy married Pearl Harriett Adams (died 1980), the first licensed female dentist in Massachusetts, in 1919. They had a daughter, Priscilla Adams Murphy (1920-1936), and a son, William P. Murphy, Jr., M.D. (born 1923). Murphy died on 9 October 1987, in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Series and Subseries in the Collection
- I. Subject Files, 1906-1987, undated
- II. Correspondence, 1919-1985, undated
- III. Writings and Publications, 1925-1933, undated
- IV. Photographs, 1939-1944, undated
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The William Parry Murphy papers were donated to the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine by Sherrie Cutler (1987) and William P. Murphy, Jr. (2007).
Resources about William Parry Murphy.
- Nobel Lectures, Physiology or Medicine 1922-1941 Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1965.
Processed by Amber LaFountain, 2012 April.
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 rehoused and, where necessary, photocopied to acid-free paper. Because of the large number of folded items in the collection, folded papers were not unfolded. Folder titles were transcribed from the originals when available; titles supplied by the processing staff appear in brackets only on the physical folders. Papers that did not meet the collection policy of the Center for the History of Medicine were returned to the family.
- Murphy, William Parry, 1892-. Papers, 1906-1987 (inclusive), 1919-1987 (bulk): Finding Aid.
- Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
- Language of description
- Processing of William Parry Murphy papers was funded by the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine's Charles S. Minot Fund for Hematology.
- EAD ID
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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