- 1949-2007 (inclusive),
- Majority of material found within 1980-2007 .
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Access to electronic records in this collection is premised on the availability of a computer station, requisite software, and/or the ability of Public Services staff to review 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 contact
Conditions Governing Use
5.12 cubic feet (5 records center cartons and 1 legal size document box)
11.37 cubic feet (unprocessed papers in 11 records center cartons, 1 half legal size document box, and 1 lantern slide box)
18.2 Gigabytes (unprocessed digital files on 13 CDs and 2 DVDs)
The bulk of the papers consist of alphabetical subject files that include: personal and professional correspondence; research funding applications; outlines for Harvard Medical School lectures and presentation transcripts concerning hematology; and editorial and lecture transcripts regarding health care reform. Correspondence found in the papers concerns: David G. Nathan’s hematological research, particularly on thalassemia and deferiprone; his administrative responsibilities at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital Boston; his Harvard Medical School teaching appointments; his various scientific publications (chiefly the sixth edition of Hematology of Infancy and Childhood, 2003); and his professional service, particularly in the Thalassemia Clinical Research Network, the National Institutes of Health Director’s Panel on Clinical Research, and the Massachusetts Health Care Task Force. Correspondents include colleague David J. Weatherall (born 1933) regarding thalassemia and deferiprone research, requests for professional advice, and personal correspondence, and George J. Kontoghiorghes regarding a factual dispute over an editorial on deferiprone written by Nathan for the New England Journal of Medicine in 1995.
Additionally, subject files also contain: collected publications and newspaper clippings related to David G. Nathan’s research; a bound collection of his scientific paper reprints, entitled "Publications (1957-1967)"; and photographs of Nathan with a boy who is likely a thalassemia patient. A separate group of files at the end of the collection consists of nominations and recommendations written by Nathan for colleagues and students for awards, professional society memberships, and employment opportunities, as well as nominations written for Nathan by colleagues for various awards.
Papers are entirely in English.
David G. Nathan was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1929 to Emannuel J. Nathan (born 1898) and Ruth B. Nathan (born 1901). He received his B.A. from Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1951 and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1955. Between 1955 and 1956, he completed his internship in internal medicine at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. Nathan served two years as Clinical Associate at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland (1956-1958), before completing his senior residency at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (1958-1959). His subsequent appointments at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital include Assistant in Medicine (1959-1961), Junior Associate in Medicine (1961-1963), and Senior Associate in Medicine (beginning in 1967). In 1963, Nathan joined Children’s Hospital Boston, where he served as: Associate in Medicine (1963-1967); Associate in Hematology (1966-1968); Chief of the Division of Hematology (1968-1973); Senior Associate in Medicine (1968-1985); and Physician-in-Chief of the Department of Medicine (1985-1995). In 1974, he became Chief of the Children’s Hospital Boston and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s integrated Division of Hematology and Oncology (1974-1984), as well as Pediatrician-in-Chief at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (1974-1985). Nathan was named President of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 1995, where he worked for six years (1995-2000). He has also taught at Harvard Medical School as Professor of Medicine and Robert A. Stranahan Professor of Pediatrics.
Throughout his career, Nathan’s work has centered on inherited hematological disorders, particularly thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, and cancer. He is known for introducing deferoxamine and hydroxyurea as effective treatments for iron overload and sickle cell anemia symptoms, respectively. With Yuet Wai Kan, he is also credited with introducing the first prenatal diagnostic test for thalassemia and sickle cell anemia. In 2011, Nathan was awarded the Wallace Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology from the American Society of Hematology. His further awards and honors include: the John Stearns Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Medicine of the New York Academy of Medicine (2009); the George M. Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians (2006); the John Howland Medal of the American Pediatric Society (2003); an Annual Award for Excellence in Clinical Research from the National Institutes of Health (1996); the Henry M. Stratton Medal of the American Society of Hematology (1995); and the National Medal of Science (1990). In 1997, Nathan chaired the National Institutes of Health Director’s Panel on Clinical Research, and later served on the Massachusetts Health Care Task Force in 2000. He was President of the American Society of Hematology in 1986, and also served as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Pediatric Society, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and the Institute of Medicine. Nathan has published over 350 scientific papers, as well as three books: Hematology of Infancy and Childhood with Frank Oski (later Nathan and Oski’s Hematology of Infancy and Childhood (1974, 1981, 1987, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2009); Genes, Blood, and Courage: A Boy Called Immortal Sword (1995); and The Cancer Treatment Revolution (2007).
David G. Nathan married Jean Louise Friedman (born 1931) in 1951. He has three children: Deborah, Linda, and Geof; and six grandchildren.
Where possible, some folders containing a combination of restricted (such as personal, student, patient, or institutional information) and unrestricted records have been separated into two folders to better promote access. Records containing restricted information have been placed in a separate folder (B), and their original locations have been marked with placeholders in the main folder (A). Folders containing electronic media have also been separated into multiple folders. 3.5 floppy disks and zip disks have been placed into separate folders (B and C), and their original locations have been marked with placeholders in the main folder (A). Electronic records, which principally consist of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, that could be opened were printed out and filed with original media.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
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. Folder titles were transcribed from the originals when available; titles supplied by the processing staff appear in brackets only on the physical folders. Files on 3.5 inch floppy disks and Iomega zip disks filed by subject were copied where possible to secure storage, reviewed for content, and printed out for retention with original media. Researchers should be aware that not every electronic file in the collection was able to be copied. Regardless of copy status, all original media have been retained and mass-distributed software installation disks discarded.
- Nathan, David G., 1929-. Papers, 1949-2007 (inclusive), 1980-2007 (bulk): Finding Aid.
- Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
- Processing of the David G. Nathan papers was funded by the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine's Charles S. Minot Fund for Hematology.
- EAD ID