American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene records,
- 1908-2013 (inclusive),
- Majority of material found within 1930s-1980s .
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Access to electronic records in this collection (as found in Series IA and ID3) 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. Access to audio-visual records in this collection (as found in series ID and II) is premised on the availability of necessary playback equipment and the condition of the media. Consult
The Records are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to contact
Conditions Governing Use
131.25 cubic feet (119 records center cartons, 3 letter size document boxes, 5 half letter size document boxes, 2 half legal document boxes, 4 oversize boxes, 7 index card boxes, and 2 half size index card boxes)
0.77 gigabytes* (electronic records on network storage)
Also included are personal and professional papers and assorted audiovisual records collected by the Society from its membership, including the papers of Linda H. Brink (1941-1989), Paul F. Russell (1894-1983), William H. Taliaferro (1895-1973), and Wilbur G. Downs (1914-1991). Records include personal papers, research records, and publications, as well as extensive slide collections compiled by Downs and Russell. Topics of the collected records include conference planning, editing of Society publications, elections to the Society's Board and Council, the selection of awardees for Society medals, and field work undertaken by members, notably William H. Taliaferro, Wilbur G. Downs, and Paul F. Russell.
The records are predominantly in English with occassional items in German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Chinese.
The Society began to publish on its tenth anniversary with the American Journal of Tropical Diseases and Preventive Medicine. This journal ran for three years and was eventually merged with the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal. After World War I, a new American Journal of Tropical Medicine commenced publication, continuing until the Society merged with the National Malaria Society in 1951 and merged with the National Malaria Society’s journal and was retitled. The Society’s other publication, the advertisement-supported Tropical Medicine and Hygiene News, began publication in 1944 and is still published as the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene News.
During World War I, Society membership lagged, in part due to members being drafted or volunteered for military service in various ways, cutting down on the amount of time they could dedicate to the Society. The Society was further hampered by the influenza pandemic in 1918, which led to the cancellation of the annual meeting. After a revitalization effort led by the Society’s president and governing officers in the early 1920s, membership in the Society grew steadily and stood at just over 500 members before the outbreak of World War II. During World War II, however, membership more than doubled, at least partially due to the fighting in the Pacific where tropical medicine was of particular importance.
From its inception, the Society had long-term relationships with several other groups interested in tropical medicine, including the National Malaria Committee (later renamed the National Malaria Society), the American Foundation for Tropical Medicine, and the American Academy of Tropical Medicine. The National Malaria Committee ("Committee") was formed in 1916 to focus on the problem of malaria eradication. In 1941, the Committee became the National Malaria Society and began to publish its own journal, the Journal of the National Malaria Society. (Previous publications had been in the Southern Medical Journal because the Committee held joint annual meetings with the Southern Medical Association.) By the end of the 1940s, the progress on malaria prophylaxis and eradication was such that members of the Committee were considering a change of focus for their organization. Since the Committee and the American Society of Tropical Medicine had always had considerable member overlap, a merger was selected as the best route forward for both groups.
The American Academy of Tropical Medicine, another allied organization, was the result of a Conference on Tropical Medicine held in 1934 by the National Research Council. The Academy was a non-profit corporation which received start-up funding from the Leonard Wood Foundation. The Academy had a six-point charter mission which included furthering the prevention of human and animal diseases in tropical climates, surveying work in progress in tropical medicine, and functioning as an information hub for workers in tropical medicine. The question of a merger was first brought up in 1950 and submitted to the memberships of the four organizations. A joint committee was appointed and, after some internal disagreement over the name of the new society, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene was created in 1951. The journals of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and the National Malaria Society were also merged, resulting in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
As the Society developed after the merger, special interest groups began to emerge among the membership. One of the first was the American Committee on Arthropod-borne Viruses, established in 1959 in response to a World Health Organization (WHO) call in 1958 for more research on arthropod-borne viruses. The 1959 group, brought together by the Rockefeller Foundation, aimed to establish a catalog of arboviruses, publish a regular newsletter for information exchange, and standardize methods for the preparation of reagents to identify viruses. After a second WHO-sponsored meeting in 1960, the American group’s work was impressive enough to lead to a request from the WHO to continue their current activities and broaden their scope to the international level. The American Committee on Arthropod-borne Viruses (ACAV) was named in 1961 as an independent corporate body, with no formal corporate relationship with the WHO or the Rockefeller Foundation. The ACAV held annual meetings in conjunction with the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and became a formal part of the Society in 1987.
Other subgroups include the American Committee of Medical Entomology, the American Committee on Clinical Tropical Medicine and Travelers’ Health, the American Committee of Molecular, Cellular and Immunoparasitology, and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Committee on Global Health.
Late twentieth and early twenty-first century concerns for the Society have included the re-emergence of tropical diseases, such as malaria, once thought to be well under control if not almost eradicated in all but the poorest tropical areas. The outbreak of diseases such as HIV, hanta- and Ebola-virus, and bovine spongiform encephalitis -- not only in “Third World” countries but also in the West -- have been a focus of the Society’s research, Journal articles, outreach, and education.
The Society has five named awards and two lectureships which it gives to individuals responsible for distinguished work in tropical medicine or sub-specialties such as malariology. The Bailey K. Ashford Medal and the Charles F. Craig Lectureship are both awarded to researchers who have distinguished themselves in the field of tropical medicine as a whole. The Donald Mackay Medal is awarded for work in urban or rural tropical health. The Ben Kean Medal is awarded every three years for work in keeping with the tradition of Professor Kean. The Joseph Augustin LePrince Medal is for outstanding work in malariology and the Fred L. Soper Lectureship is for those distinguished in environmental control or preventive medicine.
The Society currently describes itself as “…a worldwide organization of scientists, clinicians, and program professionals. The organization’s mission is to promote global health through the prevention and control of infectious and other diseases that disproportionately afflict the global poor.” To visit the Society's website, click here.
Series and Subseries in the Collection
- I. Organizational Records, 1908-2013 (inclusive), 1930s-1980s (bulk)
- ___ A. Operational and Governance Records, 1911-2007
- ___ B. American Committee on Arthropod-borne Viruses, 1912-1996
- ___C. Records of Predecessor Organizations, 1908-1963
- ______ 1. American Society of Tropical Medicine, 1916-1960
- ______ 2. American Foundation for Tropical Medicine and American Academy of Tropical Medicine, 1934-1963
- ______ 3. National Malaria Society, 1908-1953
- ___D. Photographs, Audio, and Audiovisual Records, 1919-2013
- ______ 1. Photographs, Contact Sheets, Negatives, and Slides, 1919-1990
- ______2. Films and Audio, 1986-1989
- _________ a. Films, 1986-1988
- _________ b. Audio, 1959-1989
- ______ 3. Compact Discs, Microfilm, and Jump Drives, undated, 2013
- ___E. Publications, 1913-1996
- ______ 1. Issued, 1913-1996
- ______ 2. Collected, 1930-1990
- ___ F. Realia, undated
- II. Collected Papers and Audiovisual Records, 1912-1989
- ___ A. Linda H. Brink, 1941-1989
- ___ B. Wilbur G. Downs, 1947-1983?
- ___ C. Paul F. Russell, 1979?
- ___ D. Philip K. Russell, 1959-1981
- ___ E. William H. Taliaferro, 1912-1982
- ___ F. Robert B. Watson, 1934-1978
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- 2009-051. American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2009 June 05.
- 2013-128. Thomas P. Monath for the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2013 May 15.
- A viscerotome
- An anatomized skull
- X-rays of the anatomized skull
- Two small collections of glass specimen slides
Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine refoldered, arranged, reboxed, and described the records and created a finding aid to enhance researcher access:
- Rusty paper fasteners were removed
- Fragile materials, including newspaper clippings, were photocopied onto archival bond
- Spiral bindings were removed where possible
- Records in three-ring binders were removed and placed in folders
- Slides were removed to archival containers
- Approximately eight cubic feet of published works were transferred to the Rare Books collection
- All audio-video materials were assessed as part of Harvard University's Weismann Preservation Center audiovisual records survey, with conservator notes recorded in the Weissman's survey database, SAVE.
- Electronic records.
- Malaria -- Prevention.
- Medicine -- Societies, etc.
- Medicine -- Societies, etc. -- Periodicals.
- Photograph albums
- Records (documents).
- Slides (photographs).
- Societies, Medical
- Tropical Medicine
- Tropical medicine -- History.
- Tropical medicine -- Periodicals.
- American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Records, 1908-2013 (inclusive), 1930s-1980s (bulk): Finding Aid.
- Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
- The records were processed with funding from American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
- EAD ID