Cushing, Harvey, 1869-1939

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1869-04-08
Death 1939-10-08
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Harvey Williams Cushing was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 8, 1869. He graduated from Yale College in 1891 and in 1895 received his M.D. and A.M. degrees from the Harvard Medical School. He served on the staff of the Johns Hopkins University Hospital from 1901 to 1912, where he devoted himself to neurological surgery. In 1912 he was appointed professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and in 1913 surgeon-in-chief of the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, posts which he held until 1932. During World War I Cushing served with medical units in France, where he advanced the treatment of gunshot wounds of the head. Later he developed methods for the study and treatment of intracranial tumors. He was also an ardent bibliophile and prolific writer, winning a Pulitzer Prize in biography in 1926. Cushing died in New Haven, Connecticut on October 7, 1939.

From the description of Harvey Williams Cushing papers, 1745-1965 (inclusive), 1887-1939 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702167575

George Washington Corner worked as an anatomist, endocrinologist, and medical historian.

From the guide to the George Washington Corner papers, 1889-1981, 1903-1982, (American Philosophical Society)

American neurological surgeon.

From the description of Typewritten letters signed (7) : New Haven, to Curt. F. Bühler, 1937 Oct. 20-1939 July 15. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270539384

Harvey Williams Cushing was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 8, 1869. He graduated from Yale College in 1891 and in 1895 received his M.D. and A.M. degrees from the Harvard Medical School. He served on the staff of the Johns Hopkins University Hospital from 1901-1912 where he devoted himself to neurological surgery. In 1912 he was appointed professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and in 1913 surgeon-in-chief of the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, posts which he held until 1932. During World War I Cushing served with medical units in France, where he advanced the treatment of gunshot wounds of the head. Cushing developed methods for the study and treatment of intracranial tumors and was a pioneer in using x-rays and blood-pressure monitoring in his work. He was also an ardent bibliophile and prolific writer, winning a Pulitzer Prize in biography in 1926. Cushing died in New Haven, Connecticut on October 7, 1939.

From the description of Harvey Williams Cushing papers, 1780-1988 (inclusive), 1888-1939 (bulk). (Yale University). WorldCat record id: 702204388

Harvey Williams Cushing was born in Cleveland, Ohio on April 8, 1869. He graduated from Yale College in 1891 and in 1895 received his M.D. and A.M. degrees from Harvard Medical School. He served on the staff of the Johns Hopkins University Hospital from 1901-1912, where he devoted himself to neurological surgery. In 1912 he was appointed professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and in 1913 surgeon-in-chief of the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, posts which he held until 1932. During World War I Cushing advanced the treatment of gunshot wounds of the head. Later he developed methods for the study and treatment of intracranial tumors. He was also an ardent bibliophile and prolific writer, winning a Pulitzer Prize in biography in 1926. Cushing died in New Haven, Connecticut on October 7, 1939.

From the description of Harvey Williams Cushing papers in the Yale University Library, 1745-1965 (inclusive), [microform]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702206914

Cushing (Harvard, M.D. 1895) was Mosely Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and surgeon-in-chief at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Mass. from 1912 to 1932, when he became Sterling Professor at Yale Medical School until retirement in 1936. He developed refined techniques of operating during his military experiences with the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, where he served as senior consultant for all neurological wounds. His contributions to medical literature were prodigious and include extensive study of pituitary dysfunction, intracranial tumors, meningiomas, and the invention of techniques to improve brain surgery, such as the pneumatic cranial tourniquet and, with Bovie in 1926, an electrosurgical unit for cutting and coagulating tissue. Cushing also wrote biographies of Osler and Vesalius. His reputation as a surgeon and a teacher was international.

From the description of Papers of Harvey William Cushing, 1923-1940 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 281431794

Rufus Ivory Cole served as the the director and physician-in-charge (1909-1937) of the Hospital of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, the first hospital in the United States devoted primarily to the investigation of disease. Cole's medical research centered on problems relating to immunity to diseases of the respiratory system, particularly pneumonia

From the guide to the Rufus Ivory Cole papers, ca. 1900-1966, 1900-1966, (American Philosophical Society)

U.S. neurosurgeon (b. April 8, 1869, Cleveland, Ohio; d. October 7, 1939, New Haven, Connecticut); expert in surgery of intercranial tumors. Ascribed to a pituitary malfunction the disease now known as Cushing's syndrome. Member of faculty at Harvard University (1912-1932) and Yale University (1933-1939). Won Pulitzer Prize for his The life of Sir William Osler (Oxford, 1925).

From the description of Homo chirurgicus, 1933. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 706071369

Harvey Cushing, 1869-1939, is considered a pioneer in neurosurgery. From 1910 to 1932 he was Mosley professor at Harvard, surgeon-in-chief at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. After his retirement, Cushing served at Yale as Sterling Professor of Neurology from 1933-1937 and also was made Director of Studies in the History of Medicine. The Yale Library of Medicine was established in 1941 largely as a result of his efforts. Cushing was also a medical historian. He wrote a notable biography of his friend, William Osler.

From the guide to the Harvey Cushing Correspondence, 1930-1939, (History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine)

Harvey Williams Cushing was born in Cleveland, Ohio on April 8, 1869. He graduated from Yale College in 1891 and in 1895 received his M.D. and A.M. degrees from the Harvard Medical School. He served on the staff of the Johns Hopkins University Hospital from 1901 to 1912, where he devoted himself to neurological surgery. In 1912 he was appointed professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and in 1913 surgeon-in-chief of the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, posts which he held until 1932. During World War I Cushing served with medical units in France, where he advanced the treatment of gunshot wounds of the head. Later he developed methods for the study and treatment of intracranial tumors. He was also an ardent bibliophile and prolific writer, winning a Pulitzer Prize in biography in 1926. Cushing died in New Haven, Connecticut on October 7, 1939.

From the description of Harvey Williams Cushing papers, 1745-1965 (inclusive), 1887-1939 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122562838

After attending local schools in Cleveland, Cushing was admitted to Yale College, where he was stimulated by his work with Russell H. Chittenden, Yale's first physiological chemist, and developed a serious interest in medicine. After receiving his B.A. degree from Yale in 1891, Cushing entered the Harvard Medical School. In 1895, he graduated A.M. and M.D. cum laude . Drawn to surgery by his work with Maurice H. Richardson, whom he assisted as early as 1892, he spent the year following his graduation as an intern in surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, working under Richardson, John Homans, C. B. Porter, and J. W. Elliot. While still in medical school Cushing had developed, with his classmate E. A. Codman, the "ether charts", on which pulse, respiration, and, subsequently, blood pressure were plotted, enabling the surgeon to gauge the patient's condition throughout the operation.

In the summer of 1896 Cushing became an assistant resident in surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, then under the direction of William Osler and William H. Welch. Cushing served as surgical assistant to William Stewart Halsted. It was Halsted who taught Cushing his slow, meticulous technique.

On the recommendation of Osler and Welch, Cushing spent the year of 1900-1901 abroad. He went first to England, where Osler introduced him to Victor Horsley, the founder of neurosurgery. Cushing decided to go to Bern, where he worked for some six months with the physiologist Hugo Kronecker and with Halsted's friend, the surgeon Theodor Kocher, on problems of intracranial pressure and cerebral circulation. Early in 1901 he went to Italy and, still pursuing his experiments on intracranial pressure, worked for a month in the laboratory of Angelo Mosso, the eminent altitude physiologist. At Pavia he saw the blood-pressure apparatus of Scipione Riva-Rocci and succeeded in obtaining a replica of it which he eventually carried back to the United States, thereby introducing blood pressure determinations into American operating rooms and into American clinical medicine. Upon his return to England, again on Osler's advice, he spent some time with Charles S. Sherrington, at the University of Liverpool. Sherrington at this time was commencing his experiments on the motor cortex of the anthropoids, and Cushing was able to assist in these historic studies. Besides strengthening his inclination toward surgery of the central nervous system, Cushing's year abroad aroused his interest in the history of his profession.

Upon his return to Baltimore in the summer of 1901, Cushing began a general surgical practice and received an appointment in surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He gradually directed his attention more and more exclusively, first to the surgery of the pituitary gland and later to the many other branches of neurological surgery. Cushing's early operations for brain tumors were disappointing. In February, 1910, however, he successfully removed a tumor from the right parietal hemisphere of General Leonard Wood. This operation, on one of the most influential figures of his time, did much for Cushing's reputation as a neurological surgeon.

Cushing turned down various calls to other medical schools. Hopkins offered unusual opportunities for giving his students training in practical operative surgery at its Hunterian Laboratory of Experimental Medicine, which Cushing helped to establish in 1905. The decision, however, to build the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston opposite the Harvard Medical School, with close liaison between the two institutions, led Cushing to accept an appointment as surgeon-in-chief of the hospital and professor of surgery in the school, and in September, 1912, he moved to Boston. He took an active part in drawing up specifications for the hospital, both the physical plant and the charter on which it was to operate.

Before his clinic in Boston was fully organized World War I broke out. In January, 1915, Cushing took one of the early volunteer groups from Harvard to work at the Ambulance Américaine at Neuilly, France, for several months. On his return he organized Base Hospital No. 5, a large army medical unit recruited largely from Harvard and the vicinity, which served with the British and later with the American forces until after the Armistice. During the winter of 1917 Cushing operated almost incessantly. He subsequently suffered from an attack of polyneuritis, the results of which were to plague him the rest of his life. On the basis of his experiences he published a classic paper on wartime injuries of the brain.

Upon the death of Sir William Osler, in December, 1919, Lady Osler invited Cushing to write her husband's biography. This task was to take much of his time for the next five years. The Life of Sir William Osler, published in two volumes in 1925, won a Pulitzer Prize.

Some of Cushing's most important publications appeared during the period between 1925 and the time of his formal retirement in 1932. His monograph, A Classification of the Tumors of the Glioma Group, based on work commenced with Percival Bailey in 1922, was published in 1926. In the same year he also published a short monograph, Studies in Intracranial Physiology and Surgery . In 1927, he published a monograph with Leo M. Davidoff on acromegaly. A second volume with Percival Bailey, Tumors Arising from the Blood-Vessels of the Brain (1928), described twenty-nine cases of one of the rarest groups of intracranial tumors. A collection of essays, Consecratio Medici (1928), was followed by two monographs: Intracranial Tumors: Notes upon a Series of Two Thousand Verified Cases with Surgical-Mortality Percentages Pertaining Thereto and Papers Relating to the Pituitary Body, Hypothalamus and Parasympathetic Nervous System .

After his retirement from Harvard, Cushing moved to New Haven to become Sterling Professor of Neurology (1933-1937) and later director of studies in the history of medicine at Yale. He managed to do considerable writing during this period. A condensation of his war diary, From a Surgeon's Journal, 1915-1918, illustrated by his own photographs and pencil sketches, came out in 1936. In 1938 he published the monograph Meningiomas, in collaboration with his associate Dr. Louise Eisenhardt. A last group of essays, The Medical Career and Other Papers (1940), was in the press at the time of his death. And, by the end of the summer of 1939, he had largely completed the text of his Bio-bibliography of Andreas Vesalius, for which he had been gathering material for over forty years. Finished by various friends, it appeared in 1943.

Cushing bequeathed his extensive collection of rare medical and scientific books to Yale. He also persuaded various friends to give their collections, and in this manner the Medical Historical Library came into existence as a wing of the new Yale Medical Library in June, 1941.

On June 10, 1902, Cushing married Katherine Stone Crowell of Cleveland. They had five children: William, Mary Benedict (who first married Vincent Astor and later married James Fosburgh), Betsey (who first married James Roosevelt, son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and later became Mrs. John Hay Whitney), Henry Kirke, and Barbara (whose first marriage was to Stanley Grafton Mortimer and whose second marriage was to William S. Paley, head of the Columbia Broadcasting System). Cushing died at the New Haven Hospital on October 7, 1939.

Excerpted from: Dictionary of American Biography, Volume XXII, Supplement Two (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958).

From the guide to the Harvey Williams Cushing Papers in the Yale University Library, no date, (Manuscripts and Archives)

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