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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c554

William V. McDermott papers


The William V. McDermott papers, 1941-1999 (inclusive), 1960-1990 (bulk), are the product of McDermott’s professional writings, correspondence and research.


  • 1941-1999 (inclusive)
  • Majority of material found within 1960-1990


Language of Materials

Papers are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice.

Access to Harvard University records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. These restrictions are noted where they appear in Series I,II. Access to personal and patient information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions appear in Series I,II,III,IV. 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.


10.4 cubic feet (10 records center cartons and 1 letter size document box)

The William V. McDermott Papers, 1941-1999 (inclusive), 1960-1990 (bulk), are the product of McDermott’s professional writings, correspondence and research records. His writings (Series I) consist of published research authored and contributed to by McDermott. Topics in the writings include such as metastatic cancer, Budd-Chiari Syndrome, and colo-rectal, breast, and liver cancer. Drafts, notes, observations, and data are included, as well as patient records. McDermott’s professional correspondence (Series II), consists of letters received and sent by McDermott, pertaining to patients, research findings, and publication requests, submissions, and editing. Some letters are accompanied by a rough draft of manuscripts, patient records, data, and copies of published research findings. Visual records (Series III) consist of slides of patients before, during, and after surgical procedures. Negatives of procedural techniques, examples of complications, and steps for correction are also included, as are printed graphs of data and research findings. Subject Files (Series IV) consist of publications and other printed records on topics related to his own research. Collected Books (Series V) consists of books not authored by McDermott but pertaining to his field of study, as well as handbooks, and reference books for medical professionals and students.

The papers are arranged into five series: I. Writings, 1952-1997, II. Correspondence, 1963-1999, III. Audio and Audiovisual Materials, IV. Subject Files, 1941-1991, IV. Collected Books.

Papers are entirely in English.

Biographical Note

William V. McDermott Jr. (1917-2001), A.B., 1938, Harvard College; M.D., 1942, Harvard Medical School served as a surgeon during World War II and as Cheever Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. His research was in the field of gastrointestinal surgery, specializing in liver abnormalities and complications, the treatment of hepatic problems, and liver transplantation.

William V. McDermott Jr., was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on March 7, 1917. His father, neurologist William V. McDermott, graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1896. McDermott graduated from Harvard College in 1938, where he majored in French History and Literature. Upon graduation, McDermott was accepted to study at Harvard Medical School, graduating in 1942. His surgical training was at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. After completing his training, McDermott served with the United States Army’s first Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, or M.A.S.H. unit during World War II. He served during the Battle of Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, the invasion of Germany, and the liberation of a concentration camp at Ebensee, Austria. Upon returning in 1951, he continued training at Massachusetts General Hospital, and in 1963 accepted the position as professor at Harvard Medical School. At the time of his death, McDermott was Cheever Professor of Surgery, Emeritus at Harvard Medical School, Chief of Surgery at The New England Deaconess Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, and retired Chairman of the Deaconess-Harvard Surgical Service. The William V. McDermott Jr. Chair of Surgery at Harvard Medical School was established in 1985.

McDermott was also involved with many academic and specialty organizations, including: the Aesculapian Club, Boston Surgical Society, New England Surgical Society, and the Massachusetts Chapter of The American College of Surgeons. He authored over 230 papers and wrote and contributed to several books. McDermott had two daughters and a son, along with six grandchildren. McDermott died in Deham, Massachusetts, on July 19th 2001; he was 84.

Collection Arrangement

  1. I. Writings, 1952-1997
  2. I.A. Drafts and Publications, 1952-1997
  3. I.B. Research Notes and Findings, 1945-1990
  4. II. Correspondence 1963-1999
  5. II.A. Faculty and Professional Correspondence, 1963-1999
  6. II.B. Publication Correspondence, 1970-1994
  7. III. Visual Materials
  8. IV. Subject Files, 1941-1991
  9. V. Collected Books

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was gifted to the Center for the History of Medicine by Jane Hoch in 2002.

  1. Accession number 2002-045. Jane Hoch. 2002 Feb 13.

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

Processing Information

Processed by Katie Ackerman, 2018 June, under the supervision of Bryan Sutherland.

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.

McDermott, William V., 1917-2001. Papers, 1941-1999 (inclusive), 1960-1990 (bulk): Finding Aid.
Katie Ackerman
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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