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Handed Down
Autumn 2013

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collections in countway

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a silver baby's rattle presented to John Warren  in 1874, at his birth
FAMILY PRACTICE: This silver baby’s rattle was presented to John Warren, Class of 1900, on his birth in 1874, by Benjamin Eddy Cotting. The engraving reads, “B.E.C. to J.W., the present to the future president, Mass. Med. Soc., Sixth Sept. A.D. 1874.” A gift of Richard Warren, courtesy of the Boston Medical Library at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

 

Habits, words and phrases, keepsakes, and, sometimes, even real estate, are the stuff family legacies are made of. The ubiquity of the phrase “leaving a legacy” hints at the wide acceptance of the concept of passing something on to the next generation.

two pages from a photo album assembled by J. Collins Warren
PEOPLE AND PLACES: A selection from a photo album assembled by J. Collins Warren showing some of the family members, physicians, and others he encountered during travels in Europe. A bequest of John Warren to the Library of Harvard Medical School.

 

Even medical schools rely on legacies. Among the several legacy-minded families to whom HMS owes its rich tradition—the Channings, the Shattucks, and the Bigelows, as examples—the Warren family stands out, for it is the one credited with building a foundation and structure upon which the School still relies. From John Warren (1753-1815) to his great-great grandson of the same name (1874-1928), five generations of Warrens handed to future generations of physicians not only medical knowledge, but also a school in which to pass that knowledge along. They also handed down more than 2,000 books, pamphlets, and manuscripts on medicine and surgery, a collection sufficient to start a library. Today, the collections of the Warren Library, a bequest of John Warren, Class of 1900, on his death in 1928, stand as one testament to this family’s dedication to medicine and medical education.

two pages from a photo album assembled by J. Collins Warren
FRONT AND CENTER: Photographs of the three Guiteau siblings (from left), John, Charles (President Garfield’s assassin), and Frances M. Scoville, circa 1882, were meant to show how psychological tendencies manifest in facial features. A bequest of Joseph Anton Denkinger to the Boston Medical Library at the Countway.

 

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Issue

Handed Down
Autumn 2013

Topics

collections in countway

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