Correspondence and reports by John Collins Warren, Hersey Professor of Anatomy and Surgery
The records in this collection document the teaching and administrative activities of John Collins Warren, Hersey Professor of Anatomy and Surgery and Dean of the Harvard Medical School from 1816 to 1827 and also provide an overview of Warren's supervision of the anatomy room and museum at Harvard.
- 1814-1827 and undated.
- Warren, John Collins, 1778-1856. (Person)
Correspondence and reports by John Collins Warren, Hersey Professor of Anatomy and Surgery, are open for research. Access to fragile original documents may be restricted. Please consult the Public Services staff for further details.
Copying of fragile materials may be limited.
Extent.17 cubic feet (1 half-document box)
The records in this collection document the teaching and administrative activities of John Collins Warren, Hersey Professor of Anatomy and Surgery and Dean of the Harvard Medical School from 1816 to 1827 and also provide an overview of Warren's supervision of the anatomy room and museum at Harvard. Correspondence includes discussions of human dissection in the Medical School, the acquisition of the natural history collection of the Linnaean Society of New England, and routine administrative matters. Reports provide statistical information about Warren's classes and the Medical Department.
The records were assembled as an archival collection by the archivist at an unknown date from various sources without regard to original provenance in order to document University professorships.
Historical Note on John Collins Warren
John Collins Warren (1778-1856), a surgeon in Boston, Massachusetts, served as Adjunct Professor of Anatomy and Surgery at Harvard from 1809 to 1815; Dean of the Harvard Medical School from 1816 to 1819; Hersey Professor of Anatomy and Surgery from 1815-1847; and Hersey Professor Emeritus from 1847 to 1856. In collaboration with James Jackson, Hersey Professor of the Theory and Practice of Physic, Warren established the Massachusetts General Hospital, the plans for which were made in 1811, although it was not actually opened until 1821. Under Warren's guidance, the Harvard Medical School was moved from Cambridge to Boston in 1815, accommodating the needs of long-suffering professors who lived and practiced medicine in Boston and who found it increasingly difficult to travel between the two cities. In 1816, Warren was appointed the first Dean of the Harvard Medical School, a new office to oversee the institution and its faculty, and in 1819 he received the first honorary M.D. degree from Harvard. In 1847, Warren donated his anatomical and pathological specimens to Harvard University, forming the nucleus of what became the Warren Anatomical Museum at the Harvard Medical School.
Warren was the first surgeon to operate on a strangulated hernia in the United States and one of the first surgeons to perform operations on the hard and soft palates. He helped introduce a new operation for lithotrity and in 1837 published his landmark Surgical Observations on Tumours with Cases and Operations. Warren is probably most remembered as the surgeon who successfully operated on a patient during the first public demonstration of ether anesthesia in the United States at the Massachusetts General Hospital on October 16, 1846.
Historical Note on the Hersey Professorship of Anatomy and Surgery
The chair of Anatomy and Surgery at Harvard was established in 1782 but was not endowed as the Hersey Professorship until 1791 by the wills of Ezekiel Hersey, Sarah Derby, his widow, and Abner Hersey, his younger brother. The chair was known as the Hersey Professorship of Anatomy and Surgery until 1847 when "Surgery" was removed from the title and the professorship was transferred to the Department of Comparative Anatomy in the College. It was not until 1924, that the Hersey Professor of Anatomy was returned to the Medical School.
The records are arranged in two series:
- Correspondence, 1814-1827 and undated
- Reports, 1816, 1825-1827
The materials in this collection are University records and were acquired in the course of University business.
- Bentinck-Smith, William and Elizabeth Stouffer. "Hersey Professorship of Anatomy [and Surgery], 1791." In Harvard University, History of Named Chairs: Sketches of Donors and Donations. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Secretary to the University, 1991.
- Warren, J. Collins. "John Collins Warren." Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics (January 1924) : 142-147.
- Viets, Henry R. "Warren, John Collins." Dictionary of American Biography. Ed. Dumas Malone. Vol. XIX. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1943. 480-481.
This document last updated 2019 March 08.
This material was first classified and described in a Harvard University Archives shelflist prior to 1980. The material was re-processed in 2011. Re-processing involved a collection survey, enhanced description of items from the nineteenth century, and the creation of this finding aid.
This finding aid was created by Dominic P. Grandinetti in June 2011.
- Warren, John Collins, 1778-1856. (Person)
- Warren, John Collins, 1778-1856. Correspondence and reports by John Collins Warren, Hersey Professor of Anatomy and Surgery, 1814-1827 and undated: an inventory
- Language of description
- EAD ID
Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository
Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA