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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c384

Charles L. Dunham papers

Overview

The Charles L. Dunham papers, 1924-1976 (inclusive), 1955-1975 (bulk), are the product of Dunham’s activities as a radiologist, lecturer, and contributing member of national and international radiological organizations.

Dates

  • 1896-1976 (inclusive),
  • Majority of material found in 1955-1975 .

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials are predominately in English, with some collected publications in French, German, Icelandic, Japanese, and Russian.

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-III. Folders containing government records are restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. Government records appear in Series I. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.

The Papers are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to contact Public Services for more 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.

Extent

3.68 cubic feet (3 records center cartons, 1 letter size document box, 1 half letter size document box, 1 half legal size document box, and 1 oversize flat storage box)
The Charles L. Dunham papers, 1896-1976 (inclusive), 1955-1975 (bulk), are the product of Dunham’s activities as radiologist, lecturer, and contributing member of national and international radiological organizations. The Charles L. Dunham papers consist of five series: Series I. Committee and Professional Organization Records; Series II. Speeches and Lectures; Series III. Writings and Publications; Series IV. Collected Reprints, Publications and Grey Material; and Series V. Photographs.

Series I comprises the bulk of the papers, consisting of travel reports, research and meeting notes, report drafts, and publications from Dunham’s tenure as Director of the Division of Biology and Medicine at the United States Atomic Energy Commission (1955-1967) and Chairman of the Division of Medical Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences (1967-1972). Contained in the papers are: drafts of speeches and lectures Dunham gave at the American Academy of Pediatrics and before the United States Congress (Series II); Dunham’s article drafts and reprints on subjects such as ionizing radiation, radiation protection, and biomedical problems in the nuclear age (Series III); journals, reports, national and international reprints, and assorted United States government publications related to radiation, including those issued by the National Bureau of Standards and the Atomic Energy Commission (Series IV); and photographs of Dunham with colleagues at conferences and meetings, including Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) meetings in Japan (Series V). Papers also include correspondence, lectures, speeches, photographs, articles, and writings that address various topics in radiation, including civil defense and exposure to atomic bomb fallout radiation.

Materials are predominately in English. Some collected publications are in French, German, Icelandic, Japanese, and Russian.

Biographical Note

Charles L. Dunham (1906-1975), B.A., 1929, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; M.D., 1933, Rush Medical College, University of Chicago, Illinois, was Director of the Division of Biology and Medicine at the United States Atomic Energy Commission (1955-1967) and Chairman of the Division of Medical Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences (1967-1972). Dunham’s research focused on the role ecology played in the field of atomic energy, as well as the application of nuclear medicine in the diagnosis and understanding of disease.

Charles Little Dunham was born on 28 December 1906 in Evanston, Illinois. After graduating from Evanston Township High School, Dunham attended Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, receiving a B.A. in 1929. Dunham went on to earn an M.D. from Rush Medical College, University of Chicago, in 1933. Following graduation, he interned at the University of Chicago Clinics (1933-1934) and was Assistant Resident at New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut (1934-1935). Dunham then moved to Tucson, Arizona, serving as a Research Fellow at the Desert Sanatorium and Institute of Research from 1935 to 1936. He once again returned to Chicago to become an Assistant in Medicine at Billings Memorial Hospital, first in the Gastro-Intestinal Clinic and then later in the Allergy Clinic and Laboratory. From 1943 to 1946, Dunham served in the United States Army as Chief of Outpatient Service at Station Hospital, Torrance, California and then as Assistant Chief and later Chief of Preventive Medicine and Medical Inspector for Headquarters, Armed Forces, Office of the Surgeon, Middle Pacific. After World War II, Dunham returned to the University of Chicago to become Instructor and then Assistant Professor of Medicine in charge of the Arthritis Clinic and Hospital Service (1946-1949). In 1949, Dunham resigned from the University of Chicago to accept the position of Assistant Chief of the Medical Branch, Division of Biology and Medicine in the United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), located in Washington, D.C., and later Germantown, Maryland. During his tenure at the AEC, Dunham held several positions, including: Chief of the Medical Branch (1950-1954); Deputy Director of the Division of Biology and Medicine (1954-1955); and Director of the Division of Biology and Medicine (1955-1967). While at the AEC, Dunham developed multiple research programs used to evaluate the biological effects of radiation. After his retirement in 1967, Dunham joined the National Academy of Sciences, serving as Chairman of the Division of Medical Sciences until 1972. Dunham’s research at the National Academy of Sciences focused on the effects of ionizing radiation and the health effects of environmental contaminants. These research studies were conducted by the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission under the direction of the National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council.

During the course of his career, Dunham authored numerous articles and was an active member of many professional organizations. He was President of the Radiation Research Society from 1969 to 1970, member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, and on the Board of Directors of the Health Physics Society from 1964 to 1967. He was also a member of the World Health Organization’s Expert Panel on Radiation and an Advisor to the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.

Charles L. Dunham married Dr. Lucia Elizabeth Jordan in 1932. They had three children, George Dunham, Sara Kraskin, and Carol Trotter. Dunham died in Washington, D.C. in 1975.

Series in the Collection

  1. I. Committee and Professional Organization Records, circa 1950-1975, undated
  2. II. Speeches and Lectures, 1950-1969
  3. III. Writings and Publications, 1896, circa 1930s-1976
  4. IV. Collected Reprints, Publications and Grey Material, 1924, 1931, 1941-1975, undated
  5. V. Photographs, 1948-1972

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

  1. Papers of Lauriston Sale Taylor. H MS c334.
Related Collections at Other Institutions The Charles Dunham Collection, MS.1167, may be found at the University of Tennessee Libraries, Knoxville, Special Collections. Contact the staff, or check Special Collections Online @ The University of Tennessee.

The George B. Darling Papers (MS 770), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, New Haven, Connecticut.

Resources

  • Bond, Victor P. Charles L. Dunham (1906-1975). Radiation Research Society, 1976.

Processing Information

Processed by Meghan M. Bannon, 2012 May.

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, with the creator's abbreviations retained. Folder titles assigned by the archivist appear in brackets on collection folders.
Link to catalog
Title
Dunham, Charles L. Papers, 1896-1976 (inclusive), 1955-1975 (bulk): Finding Aid.
Author
Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
Sponsor
Processing of the Charles L. Dunham papers was funded by the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine's Lloyd E. Hawes Fund for Radiology.
EAD ID
med00162

Repository Details

Part of the Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine) Repository

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