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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c551

George Cheever Shattuck papers


The George Cheever Shattuck papers consist of records collected and created by Shattuck in the course of his lifetime. Shattuck was a physician specializing in tropical medicine and published a textbook on the subject in 1951. He accompanied and led expeditions in Africa, Central America, and South America, and was a member of Richard P. Strong’s 1915-1916 medical relief mission to Serbia.


  • 1790-1973 (inclusive)
  • Majority of material found within 1890-1930


Language of Materials

Papers are in primarily English with some materials in German, Dutch, French, and Spanish.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Some restrictions apply (see below).

Access requires advance notice. Access to student information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions are noted where they appear in Series III. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.

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.


6.5 cubic feet (5 records center cartons, 2 letter size document boxes, 1 cylindrical case, and 1 flat-file folder)

The George Cheever Shattuck papers consist of records collected and created by George Cheever Shattuck during his lifetime and professional career as a specialist in tropical medicine. Shattuck family papers (Series I) consist of materials collected by Shattuck with reference to the genealogy and activities of the Shattuck family from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. International medical activities records (Series II) consist of records reflecting Shattuck’s international medical work, including his trips through South America and Africa, and his work in Serbia with the American Red Cross expedition led by Richard P. Strong. Writing (Series III) consist of materials related to Shattuck’s work as a writer, including the reports he produced in relation to the activities documented in Series II. Shattuck was also the author of a textbook on tropical diseases published in 1951 and multiple articles on the subject. Collected reprints (Series IV) consist of article reprints on a variety of medical topics, primarily physiological and embryological. Collected bookplates (Series V) appear to have been collected by librarians and members of the Boston Medical Library, including Shattuck, over the couse of the 20th century. Many of the individual bookplates, however, date from before 1900, and most of the bookplates are those of physicians or associated medical professionals.

Papers are primarily in English with some materials in German, Dutch, French, Latin, Greek, and Spanish.

Biographical Note

George Cheever Shattuck (1879-1972), B.A., 1901, Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts; M.D., 1905, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, was a physician specializing in tropical medicine.

George Cheever Shattuck was born October 12, 1879. After completing his medical degree at Harvard Medical School in 1905, Shattuck embarked on a world tour and ended up stopping for several months to work with Richard P. Strong (1872-1948) at the latter’s laboratory in the Philippines. After his time in the Philippines, Shattuck undertook additional clinical training in Vienna, Austria, and then returned in 1908 to Harvard Medical School. When the Department of Tropical Medicine was formed at the Medical School in 1913, Shattuck was recruited as a faculty member.

In 1916, the American Red Cross organized a medical commission to travel to Serbia to assist Serbian physicians in controlling an epidemic of typhus. Shattuck, Richard P. Strong, Hans Zinsser, and A. Watson Sellards were all members. Shattuck was responsible for the examination of post-mortem evidence and performed numerous autopsies, collating the data for the commission’s final report, published in 1920. From 1917 to 1919, Shattuck served with the Harvard Surgical Unit embedded with the British Expeditionary Force; after the armistice that ended World War I, he served in Switzerland as General Medical Secretary of the League of Red Cross Societies.

Shattuck returned to Boston in 1921 as assistant professor of tropical medicine at Harvard Medical School and worked to establish a service for tropical medicine at Boston City Hospital. In 1924-1925, Shattuck accompanied the Hamilton Rice expedition to the upper Amazon in Brazil. He co-led a medical survey expedition with Richard P. Strong to Liberia and the Belgian Congo in 1926-1927. Between 1929 and 1932, Shattuck led three expeditions funded by the Carnegie Institute to identify health problems in the Yucatan and Guatemala.

Shattuck was elected president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine in 1927; the Society awarded him the Theobald Smith Medal in 1954 and the Richard Pearson Strong Medal in 1962. He was also a member of the American Academy of Tropical Medicine and the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

George Cheever Shattuck married Virginia Chandler Peabody, widow of Francis Weld Peabody, in 1932. Shattuck died in 1972 and was survived by his wife, two stepsons, Francis W. Peabody and Grigsby C. Peabody, and a sister.

Collection Arrangement

  1. I. Shattuck Family Papers, 1822-1968
  2. II. International Medical Activities Records, 1915-1971
  3. III. Writings, 1921-1973
  4. IV. Collected Reprints, 1873-1956
  5. V. Collected Bookplates, circa 1790-1950

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was gifted to the Center for the History of Medicine by Francis Peabody in 1983.

Processing Information

Processed by Hanna Clutterbuck-Cook, 2018 May.

Staff at the Center for the History of Medicine refoldered and reboxed material and created a finding aid to increase researcher access. Duplicate materials were discarded. Folder titles were transcribed from original folders which were then discarded. Titles were supplied for unfoldered materials. Materials formerly cataloged under the call numbers MC 692 and GA80.10 were integrated here during processing. Three small copperplates were wrapped for preservation. Processing staff sleeved bookplates in archival enclosures and foldered materials. Bookplates associated with correspondence were kept together.

Shattuck, George Cheever, 1879-1972. Papers, 1822-1973 (inclusive), 1890-1930 (bulk): Finding Aid.
Hanna Clutterbuck-Cook
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

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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