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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c443

Sven Paulin papers


The Sven Paulin papers, 1863-2015 (inclusive), 1950-2012 (bulk), are the product of Paulin’s professional, teaching, research, and publishing activities throughout the course of his career. The papers are arranged in nine series: I. Visual and Audiovisual Teaching Files, 1965-2019; II. Professional Appointments Files, 1958-2013; III. Professional Activities Files, 1950-2019; IV. Correspondence, 1952-2019; V. Writings and Publications, 1951-2010; VI. Photographs, Negatives, and X-Rays, 1950-2012; VII. Personal and Biographical Files, 1890-2014; VIII. Collected Publications, 1863-2013; and IX. Digital Files, 1990-2014.


  • 1863-2019 (inclusive)
  • Majority of material found within 1950-2012


Language of Materials

Papers are predominantly in English. Some papers are in Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

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 II-IV, and VIII-IX. Access to personal, patient, and student information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions appear in Series I-VI, and VIII-IX. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.

Access to digital files in this collection (as found in Series I, III, VI, VII, and IX) is also subject to the above restrictions. Technical access to digital files 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.

Analog audio and audio-visual recordings are restricted to access until such time as they can be converted to digital media. Once converted, recordings will be restricted based on the recording's content, title, or as per the restrictions for the folder from which the recording was removed.

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.


18.5 cubic feet (20 records center cartons, 1 letter size document box, 1 half letter size document box, and 4 oversized boxes)
276 Gigabytes (13,615 digital files and 2,106 digital folders)
The Sven Paulin papers, 1863-2019 (inclusive), 1950-2012 (bulk), are the product of Paulin’s professional, teaching, research, and publishing activities throughout the course of his career. The papers are arranged in nine series: I. Visual and Audiovisual Teaching Files, 1965-2019; II. Professional Appointments Files, 1958-2013; III. Professional Activities Files, 1950-2019; IV. Correspondence, 1952-2019; V. Writings and Publications, 1951-2010; VI. Photographs, Negatives, and X-Rays, 1950-2012; VII. Personal and Biographical Files, 1890-2014; VIII. Collected Publications, 1863-2013; and IX. Digital Files, 1990-2014.

Visual and Audiovisual Teaching Files (Series I) constitute a third of the collection, and consist of: 35-millimeter and 16-millimeter cineangiography film recordings of angiography procedures conducted at Beth Israel Hospital, focusing on the heart, coronary arteries, and other areas of circulation; and 35-millimeter and lantern projector slides related to the heart, the circulatory system, diagnostic imaging, and various cardiac and circulatory conditions. Professional Appointments Files (Series II) consist of: Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Hospital administrative, teaching, and research records; legal and medical records for legal cases related to radiology and cardiology on which Paulin served as an expert witness; medical records and radiology images for patient cases on which he consulted; and administrative records related to visiting appointments at various institutions. Professional Activities Files (Series III) consist of: conference and public speaking records (lectures, lecture slides, conference programs, and travel records); professional organization membership records; and peer review and editing records (manuscript drafts and correspondence).

Also included in the collection are: personal and professional correspondence generated in the course of Paulin’s professional appointments, professional activities, personal and professional travel, writing and publishing activities, and research (Series IV); manuscript drafts and reprints for his writings and publications related to cardiovascular anatomy and physiology, cardiovascular diseases, surgical procedures, coronary angiography, and other diagnostic imaging techniques (Series V); photographs and negatives taken in the course of his professional activities, research, and travel (Series VI); curricula vitae, medical certifications, and education records (Series VII); and collected publications related to heart and cardiovascular anatomy and physiology, radiology and diagnostic imaging, heart and cardiovascular diseases, and various surgical procedures (Series VIII). Further teaching, administrative, clinical, public speaking, publishing, and correspondence files may be found in Digital Files (Series IX).

The papers are predominantly in English. Some papers are in Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Biographical Note

Sven Paulin (1926-2014), Dr. med., 1951, University of Mainz, Germany; Med. Lic., 1958, Karolinska Institute of Medicine and Surgery (now Karolinska Institute), Stockholm, Sweden; Medicine Doktor (Ph.D. equivalent), 1965, University of Göteborg, Sweden, was Radiologist-in-Chief Emeritus at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) (previously Beth Israel Hospital), Boston, Massachusetts, the Miriam H. Stoneman Distinguished Professor of Radiology at BIDMC and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, and Professor of Radiology Emeritus at Harvard Medical School. He is recognized as a pioneer in the field of cardiothoracic imaging, particularly in coronary angiography, and his technique for coronary angiography was widely adopted after its publication in his doctoral dissertation.

Sven Paulin was born in Bad-Muenster am Stein, Germany on October 18, 1926, to physician Karl Anton Paulin (1890-1944) and physical therapist Maria Bourghardt. He received his Dr. med. and Medizinisches Staatexamen in 1951 from the University of Mainz, West Germany. He then immigrated to Sweden, where he completed an internship in pediatrics in the Cardiology Department of the Karolinska Children’s-Clinic, University of Stockholm (1952-1953). Between 1952 and 1958, he also completed a radiology residency at St. Gorans Hospital (Stockholm), Central Hospital (Jonkoping), and Central Hospital (Angelholm). In 1958, he was awarded his medical license from the Karolinska Institute of Medicine and Surgery. He served a year as Assistant Radiologist in the thorax clinic of Karolinska Sjukhuset, Stockholm, before moving to Göteborg for his doctoral education at the University of Göteborg. He was awarded his Medicine Doctor degree (Ph.D. equivalent) in 1965. During this time, he also served as Assistant Radiologist (1959-1962) and Associate Chief Radiologist (1962-1968) at Sahlgrenska Sjukhuset, Göteborg. In 1966, he moved to the United States for visiting professorships in radiology, at both the J. Hillis Miller Health Center of the University of Florida Medical School in Gainesville, Florida (1966), and Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, California (1966-1967). While at Stanford, Paulin worked closely with radiologist Herbert L. Abrams (1920-2016). When Abrams moved to Harvard Medical School and the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, Paulin also decided to make the move. He joined both institutions as Visiting Associate Professor of Radiology in 1969. One year later, he was appointed Radiologist-in-Chief at Beth Israel Hospital (1970-1994) and Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School (1970-1983). In 1983, he was named the first Miriam H. Stoneman Professor of Radiology at both Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Hospital. He retired from Beth Israel Hospital as Radiologist-in-Chief, Emeritus in 1994, but remained active as the Miriam H. Stoneman Distinguished Professor of Radiology (1993-2013). He retired fully from both Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Hospital in 2013 as Professor Emeritus. During his tenure at both institutions, he served on a number of committees related to radiology, research, and institutional planning, including serving as Chair of the Harvard Medical School Executive Committee of the Departments of Radiology (1987-1992).

Paulin is recognized as a pioneer in cardiothoracic imaging. His technique for coronary angiography, using a specially-designed catheter to spray contrast dye into the coronary artery, was less invasive than previous methods and widely adopted as a result. The method was introduced in his 1964 doctoral thesis, and he continued to refine the technique throughout his career. His research interests also included: the side effects and toxicity of radiographic contrast agents; complications of catheter use; angiogram quantification; the relationships between anatomic, physiologic, and clinical findings in cardiac angiography; pulmonary angiography; various other radiography techniques and correlations between them; coronary collateral circulation; and left ventricular dysfunction, among other topics.

Paulin served as President of both the Society for Cardiac Angiography (1981-1982) and the North American Society for Cardiac Radiology (1983-1984). He was an invited guest examiner for the American Board of Radiology, and served on committees for the American Heart Association, the Massachusetts Radiological Society, the New England Roentgen Ray Society, and the World Health Organization. He was a member of numerous other American, Swedish, and international professional societies related to radiology and cardiology, and lectured frequently at conferences, symposia, and professional development courses. He peer reviewed papers for a variety of medical journals, and also served on the editorial boards for a number of journals, including the American Journal of Roentgenology, Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology, and Circulation, among others. He was the author of over 175 scientific papers, articles, and book chapters. His doctoral thesis, Coronary Angiography—a technical, anatomic and clinical study (1964), was widely recognized as a landmark publication in its field.

Sven Paulin married Birgit Skoglundh (born 1933), daughter of Carl Hjalmar Hannibal Skoglundh (1884-1937) and Hedvig Elisabeth Billman (1889-1947), on 18 April 1957. They had four children: Susanne Elisabeth (Paulin) Portanova (born 1957), Magnus Ulf Paulin (born 1960), Helena Maria Paulin-Pintoff (born 1963), and Viveca Birgitta Paulin-Ferrell (born 1969). Paulin died on 10 January 2014, at home in Needham, Massachusetts.

Collection Arrangement

  1. I. Visual and Audiovisual Teaching Files, 1965-2019
  2. I.A. Teaching Films and Recordings, 1965-2019
  3. I.A.1. Numbered Cineangiography Films, 1965-2019
  4. I.A.2. Unnumbered Cineangiography Films, 1965-2019
  5. I.A.3. Radiology Recordings and Instruction Videos, 1988-2019
  6. I.B. Lecture Slides, 1965-2001
  7. II. Professional Appointments Files, 1958-2013
  8. II.A. Beth Israel Hospital / Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School Files, 1960-2013
  9. II.B. Legal Expert Witness Files, 1958-2002
  10. II.C. Assorted Professional Appointments and Applications Files, 1969-1997
  11. III. Professional Activities Files, 1950-2019
  12. III.A. Conferences, Lectures, and Professional Organizations Files, 1950-2019
  13. III.B. Peer Review and Editing Files, 1978-2003
  14. IV. Correspondence, 1952-2019
  15. V. Writings and Publications, 1951-2010
  16. VI. Photographs, Negatives, and X-Rays, 1950-2012
  17. VI.A. Professional and Personal Photographs and Negatives, 1950-2012
  18. VI.B. Research and Clinical Photographs, Negatives, and X-Rays, 1950-2012
  19. VII. Personal and Biographical Files, 1890-2014
  20. VIII. Collected Publications, 1863-2013
  21. IX. Digital Files, 1990-2014

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was gifted to the Center for the History of Medicine by Birgit Paulin in 2014.
  1. Accession number 2015-012. Birgit Paulin. 2014 October 15.
  2. Accession number 2015-013. Birgit Paulin. 2014 October 15.
  3. Accession number 2015-032. Susanne Portanova. 2014 December 05.
  4. Accession number 2017-101. Susanne Portanova. 2016 October 25.

Digitized Items

All analog audiovisual recordings (as found in Series I, III, and IV) were digitized in 2015 and 2019. Digitized file names are listed alongside their analog counterparts in the box and folder lists to enable easier access. Redacted copies of twenty digitized recordings (hmsc443_001-hmsc443_020) were created and are stored alongside their unredacted counterparts on secure network storage.

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

Items transferred to the Warren Anatomical Museum in the Center for the History of Medicine

  1. Two cylindrical catheter molds created by Paulin for his doctoral thesis, used to create double-loop catheters for coronary angiography. WAM 22047.
  2. Sixteen molds of the left ventricle of the heart. WAM 22048.
  3. Corrosion cast of heart vessels. WAM 22049.
  4. Heart model with removable panel, manufactured by SOMSO, 20th century. WAM 22050.
  5. Keuffel & Esser compensating polar planimeter, model 620005, in case with user manual. Serial number 69522, circa 1963. WAM 22051.
  6. Two French Catheter Scales made by Cook Incorporated, 1963-2013. WAM 22052.
  7. Conray radiological tables and circular slide rule, 1965-1980. WAM 22053.

Processing Information

Processed by Amber LaFountain, 2018 December.

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. Where possible, personal financial and health records of Paulin's family members, which did not meet the collecting policy of the Center for the History of Medicine, were removed for return to the family. Processing staff also discarded a microcassette recorder, and discarded or returned any duplicate records found in the collection.

Digital files were acquired via a number of methods and media, including direct file transfer from the donor, and extraction from electronic media found in physical folders maintained with paper records, and loose electronic media maintained separately from paper records. Electronic media that were maintained in physical folders with paper records have been arranged and described with the folders in which they were found. Where possible, loose electronic media have been integrated into the collection's series alongside paper files, according to the contents of the media. A direct transfer of digital files, including files that span the contents and subject matter of multiple series, has been established as a separate Digital Files series (Series IX), along with any loose electronic media that were unable to be categorized.

All electronic media (as found in Series I, III, VI, VII, and IX) were imaged using Access Data’s FTK Imager and a Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device. Use copies were then extracted from the disk images using Access Data’s Forensic Toolkit, and digital files were transferred to secure network storage. FTK was used to screen files for explicit and sensitive content. Digital files that could be opened were sampled for content, however, researchers should be aware that not every file in the collection could be opened and assessed. Files for which specific software was needed, but not available to staff at the time of processing, were not reviewed. Electronic media that could not be imaged were retained (and are noted in the folder list below), and any media determined to be blank or software installation disks were securely discarded.

During the digitization of audiovisual recordings, one audio cassette and two microcassettes were determined to be blank and were not digitized. Their assigned filenames, hmsc443_034, and hmsc443_039-hmsc443_040, therefore do not appear on the hard drive. The audiocassette and microcassettes were securely discarded.

Please note that the following conventions have been used in the box and folder lists. Where an item has been moved from its original folder to a new folder, due to size, format, or restricted content, the original folder has been labeled (A) and the new folder has been labeled (B). A physical placeholder for each moved item has been placed in the item’s original location in the (A) folder. Where possible, abbreviations and acronyms have been written out in brackets directly after the abbreviated word (no space between the word and the brackets, e.g. "Folder titl.[title]"). Where a word on the original folder was illegible, a question mark in brackets has been placed directly after the guessed word (no space between the word and brackets, e.g. "folder title[?]"). If the word was too illegible to make a guess, the word "illegible" appears in brackets in place of the word (e.g. "Folder [illegible]"). Where restricted information has been redacted from a folder title, the information has been replaced with a redaction statement in brackets (e.g. "Folder title [name redacted]"). Finally, where a topical file grouping has been maintained that is not clear in the folder titles, bracketed topics have been added to the beginning of folder titles to better explain the folder arrangement.
Link to catalog


Paulin, Sven. Papers, 1863-2019 (inclusive), 1950-2012 (bulk): Finding Aid.
Amber LaFountain
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
The Sven Paulin papers were processed with funding from the Paulin/Ferrell Living Trust.

Repository Details

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

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Boston MA 02115
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