Medicine at Yale, 1910 - 1960

War Years and Early Postwar Period , 1935-1952

The 1930s saw the growth and extensive publications of the Institute of Human Relations and Harvey Cushing's return to Yale. In 1935, Stanhope Bayne-Jones replaced Winternitz as dean. At the end of the decade, additional funds from the Sterling bequest built the Yale Medical Library with its magnificent Historical Library. The Library was dedicated in 1941 under the deanship of Francis Blake, dean from 1940 to 1947.

In 1942, the Yale Medical School again mobilized for war. It was actively engaged in World War II through organizing a unit for military hospital service and through numerous war research projects. The curriculum was temporarily altered to accelerate production of physicians for the war effort.

After the war, the Medical School, though it remained one of the top schools in the country, faced financial difficulty. In 1946, New Haven Hospital merged with Grace Hospital to form the Grace-New Haven Community Hospital. The University was subsidizing the deficit of the Medical School as well as making a substantial contribution each year to the Hospital to offset the costs of teaching. At this time, only ward beds were used for teaching, and the rate for ward patients didn't cover the cost of their care. Federal research grants had begun to come in but the overhead on the early grants was much less than the actual costs to the University. This situation was soon to change with a new agreement with the Hospital and expanded federal support.

 

Stanhope Bayne-Jones, Dean of the School of Medicine 1935-40

Stanhope Bayne-Jones graduated from Yale University in 1910 and received his M.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1914. After studying bacteriology at Columbia University as well as abroad, he joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins and later at the newly established School of Medicine in Rochester, New York. In 1932, he came to Yale as professor of bacteriology. From 1935 to 1940 he served as Dean of the School of Medicine. During his tenure, the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research and the Institute of Human Nutrition were established. Bayne-Jones, who had a long interest in the history of medicine, oversaw the building of the Yale Medical Library and supported the efforts of John Fulton to create the Historical Library. After stepping down as dean, he served in administrative posts in the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General during World War II, as president of the board of the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, and on numerous national committees. He contributed to the planning and execution of the massive series of historical volumes on the medical history of World War II.

 

Department of Physiology, 1936

Winternitz had recruited John F. Fulton to be Sterling professor of physiology in 1929. A graduate of Harvard Medical School and a resident under Harvey Cushing, Fulton had also obtained a D.Sc. working with Charles Sherrington at Oxford. At Yale, Fulton set up one of the first primate laboratories. He gathered around him a group of associates, especially Margaret Kennard, Theodore C. Ruch and Carlyle Jacobsen, to investigate such problems as the cortical control of muscular contraction in primates and the relation of the frontal lobes to behavior. Fulton's research interests focussed initially on the cerebral cortex, but he went on to do work on the hypothalamus, the autonomic nervous system, the cerebellum, the vestibular system, spinal cord, temporal lobe, and limbic system. In 1951, Fulton became the first professor of History of Medicine.

From top row left: Harvey Days, Dr. Overdraw, Earl Walker, Dr. Bolwell, Kenneth Thompson, Dr. Rish, --. Middle row: Miss Bereltee, Mrs. Peters, Louis Nahum, Ebbe C. Hoff, John F. Fulton, Dr. Green, Theodore C. Ruch, --, --.
Front row: Clif Clark?, Carl Clark?, Kerby (the keeper, with chimpanzee), Al Cappola, --, --.

 

Cooperative Research at the Institute of Human Relations

After the appointment of Mark May to be Director of the Institute of Human Relations in 1935, the Institute embarked on a series of interdisciplinary projects in the social sciences. This book is one of the many fruits of collaboration among psychiatrists, psychologists, physiologists, sociologists, and others, published in the 1930s and 1940s.

Frustration and aggression, by John Dollard, Neal E. Miller, Leonard W. Doob, O.H. Mowrer [and] Robert T. Sears, in collaboration with Clellan S. Ford, Carl Iver Hovland, Richard T. Sollenberger, Institute of Human Relations,Yale University. New Haven : Published for the Institute of Human Relations by Yale University Press, 1939.

 

Robert Mearns Yerkes, Professor of Psychobiology

Robert M. Yerkes, a pioneer in primate research, received a Ph.D. in zoology from Harvard in 1902. After holding major posts at the National Research Council and other Washington institutions, he came to Yale in 1924 as Professor of Psychology. From 1929 to 1944 he was Professor of Psychobiology at the Medical School. He was initially associated with the Institute of Human Relations. Yerkes directed the celebrated Laboratories of Primate Biology (Yerkes Laboratory) in New Haven and in Orange Park, Florida. His life work was the study of the evolution of learning and behavior in animals.

 

Arnold Gesell and the Clinic of Child Development

Arnold Gesell received his Ph.D. in psychology from Clark University in 1906 and his M.D. from Yale in 1915. In 1911, soon after his arrival, he set up a "psycho-clinic" at the New Haven Dispensary, later known as the Clinic of Child Development, which he directed from 1930 to 1948. From 1915 to 1948, Gesell was Professor of Child Hygiene at Yale. He and his associates were initially part of the Institute of Human Relations. Gesell's area of research was the development of the normal pre-school child, a subject on which he authored a number of influential works. Gesell's Clinic was the forerunner of the Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine.

 

Harvey Cushing at Yale

After a distinguished career as America's foremost neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins and the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital at Harvard, Cushing, forced to retire from Harvard, was invited to Yale as Sterling Professor of Neurology in 1933. He brought with him Louise Eisenstadt and the Brain Tumor Registry which she managed; Madeline Stanton, his secretary, later Librarian of the Historical Library; and his magnificent collection of rare books and manuscripts. As a Sterling professor at Yale, Cushing did not hold classes or operate. He had a large office in the hospital where he worked on several major writing projects including From a Surgeon's Journal, Meningiomas with Louis Eisenhardt, A Medical Career, and Bio-bibliography of Andreas Vesalius. He was an active member of the Beaumnont Medical Club and devoted much time to his passion for books and history of medicine.

In 1934 Cushing proposed a plan whereby he, John F. Fulton, and Arnold Klebs would donate their rare books to Yale if Yale would build a Medical Library. Cushing died in October 1939 knowing that the Library would be built. This photograph shows Cushing with his book collection, bequeathed to Yale in 1939.

 

Doctors for America, 1939

The Depression had curtailed the building boom of the 1920s. This illustrated booklet, intended for development purposes, described the progress of Medical School and its needs. At this time the Administration was contemplating a two-million dollar building to house a library and a large auditorium. A much more modest building was decided upon in 1939.

Doctors for America. New Haven, Yale University, The President's Committee on University Development, Division of Medicine and Public Health [1939].

 

Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research, established 1937

This endowment fund, initially valued at $3.5 million dollars, has long provided funds for cancer research to Yale and other institutions. It was established in 1937 by a gift in trust to Yale University by Starling W. Childs and Alice C. Coffin in memory of their daughter Jane Coffin Childs who died of cancer. The grant recipients were selected by a Board of Scientific Advisors, under the directorship of Stanhope Bayne-Jones. In its first three years, the Fund made grants for cancer research totaling $138,000. Today the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund, which is housed in Sterling Hall of Medicine, awards fellowships for cancer research to recent M.D.s and Ph.D.s.

The photograph shows the Managers of the Fund in 1938.
First row: Frederic C. Walcott, U.S. Senator from Connecticut; Starling W. Childs, founder of the Fund; Charles Seymour, President of Yale.
Second row: Christie P. Hamilton; Stanhope Bayne-Jones, first Director of the Fund and Dean of the Medical School; George Parmly Day, Secretary of Yale.

 

Aerial View of the Medical School and Hospital, 1940

In the foreground is the entrance to the Hospital (Clinical Building), built in 1929 and facing Howard Street. Behind it is the Sterling Hall of Medicine.

 

Francis Gilman Blake, Dean of the School of Medicine, 1941-47

Francis Gilman Blake graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1913. After completing his internship and residency at the Brigham Hospital in Boston, he spent a year at the Rockefeller Institute. In 1921, he came to Yale as John Slade Ely professor of medicine and, in 1927, he was appointed Sterling professor of medicine, a position he held until his death in 1952. Blake was a superb clinician with a broad knowledge of medicine and an astute diagnostic ability. Nationally recognized for his work on epidemic diseases, he directed some of the first clinical tests on penicillin and the sulfa drugs. Blake served as acting dean of the School of Medicine from 1940 to 1941 and as dean from 1941 to 1947. An effective and innovative administrator, he led the School of Medicine during the critical period of World War II. During his tenure, clinical clerkships were transferred from the fourth to the third year, a practice that was adopted by other leading medical schools; lectures were reduced to a minimum and medical students were encouraged to become independent thinkers. With James Trask, he developed the Division for the Investigation and Treatment of Infectious Diseases.

 

General Hospital 39, Yale military unit in World War II

This unit, consisting of physicians and nurses from the Medical School and the Yale School of Nursing, was assembled at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts and formed on July 12, 1942. The unit served at the New Zealand Army Hospital which treated the wounded from South Pacific battle zones.

During the war, the Medical School temporarily increased class size, admitted some students with two years of college, shortened the program leading to a degree to three years, and made the thesis requirement optional, all in an effort to increase the output of physicians.

 

Wartime Research

Numerous medical faculty made significant contributions to war-related research including John F. Fulton's studies of aviation medicine, John Paul's work on encephalitis, and the studies of Ashley Oughterson and Averill Liebow on the effects of radiation from the atomic bombs dropped in Japan. Of especial significance was the research on mustard gas by Yale pharmacologists Alfred Gilman and Louis Goodman and physician Gustav Lindskog. They discovered the use of nitrogen mustard to destroy tumors of cancer patients in 1942. This has been considered by many to be the beginning of cancer chemotherapy.

In addition, penicillin was first used in the U.S. at New Haven Hospital in 1942 to treat the life-threatening high fever of Ann Miller, the wife of Yale's athletic director Ogden Miller. The penicillin was procured from Florey's laboratory through the auspices of his friend John Fulton and administered by fourth-year medical student Rocko Fasanella, later chairman of the Section of Ophthalmology.

 

Cyril Norman Hugh Long. Dean of the School of Medicine, 1947-52

C.N.H. Long was born in England and educated as an organic chemist at the University of Manchester. He received his M.D. from McGill University in 1928. After serving as director of the George S. Cox Medical Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, Long was appointed professor and chairman of the Department of Physiological Chemistry at Yale in 1936. His research over the next three decades centered around the effects of pituitary and adrenal extracts on the metabolism or carbohydrates, and he was recognized as one of the leading investigators of his generation in the field of endocrinology. As an administrator, he served as Director of the Division of Biological Sciences (1939-42), Dean of the School of Medicine (1947-52), and Chairman of the Department of Physiology (1951-64). During his tenure as dean, he led the school through the difficult period of adjustment following the end of World War II and the beginning of the period of expansion of academic medicine.

 

John Punnett Peters, John Slade Ely Professor of Medicine, 1927-1955

John Punnett Peters graduated from Yale in 1908 and received his M.D. degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in 1913. He served as a captain in France during World Was I. In 1921, he became associate professor of internal medicine at Yale and, in 1927, he was promoted to the John Slade Ely Professorship, a position he held until his death in 1955. Peters was noted for his work in the field of metabolism and he created a superb renal center at Grace-New Haven Community Hospital, ideal for clinical and laboratory research. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Known for his integrity and his concern for the over-all care of the patient, Peters was outspoken on the need for comprehensive medical coverage.

 

John Rodman Paul, Professor of Preventive Medicine, 1940-61

John Rodman Paul received his M.D. degree from Johns Hopkins in 1919 and served as director of the Ayer Clinical Laboratories of the Pennsylvania Hospital before joining the Department of Medicine in 1928. In 1940 he was promoted to Professor of Preventive Medicine. He made significant contributions to the study of infectious mononucleosis, hepatitis, and rheumatic fever, but he is especially noted for his work on poliomyelitis. With his close friend and collaborator James Trask, he established the Yale Poliomyelitis Study Unit and together they received the first research grant awarded by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. Paul and his colleagues in the Section of Preventive Medicine made many of the fundamental contributions to our understanding of poliomyelitis on which the subsequent immunization programs were based. He was one of 15 persons named to the Polio Hall of Fame established in Warm Springs in 1958. After his retirement in 1961, he was named director of the Yale Serum Bank.

 

Edith B. Jackson and the Rooming-In Project, 1949

Edith B. Jackson received her M.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1921 and came to Yale in 1923 as an assistant in Pediatrics. She rose (slowly, as was typical of women's careers at the time) through the ranks to become Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry in 1949. In the 1930s she obtained training in psychiatry and psychoanalysis at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C. and in Vienna. On her return, she directed the Child Welfare Research Unit in the Department of Pediatrics. From 1949 on, she directed the pioneering Rooming-In Project at Grace-New Haven Community Hospital whereby mothers had the option of keeping their infants in their room instead of in the hospital nursery. The Project, in which a number of Rooming-In fellows participated, included contact with both parents during the prenatal period and follow-up. Jackson provided guidance as rooming-in spread all over the country. Associated with rooming-in at Grace-New Haven was "natural childbirth," promoted and studied by Herbert Thoms of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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