Exhibits @ Medical Historical Library
Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library

Harvey Cushing: A Journey Through His Life

Education at Yale, Harvard, and MGH, 1887-1896

Cushing attended Yale College from 1887 to 1891. In his first year he rented rooms with his cousin Perry W. Harvey in a rooming house at 166 York Street, a building that is still standing. He soon became a fervent Eli who played on the baseball team for four years, rooted for the Yale football team, was tapped for the secret society Scroll and Key, and served on committees to plan Class of ’91 special events.

In contrast to his four years of social life at Yale, Cushing’s next four years at Harvard Medical School were devoted to hard work. Even as a medical student, he assisted in operations, especially by administering ether. After receiving his M.D. in 1895, he stayed on for another year as a house officer at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

 

Letter Home

Harvey to Bessie Cushing, October 4, 1887.

The drawing shows the fireplace in his rented freshman rooms at 166 York St., a building still standing.

Courtesy of Manuscripts & Archives, Sterling Memorial Library. Harvey Williams Cushing Papers.

Cushing as a Sophomore at Yale

 

 

 




Cushing (right) and Classmate on the Old Yale Campus

 

Yale Baseball Team

Cushing is third from the right on the top row. Kirke Cushing objected to Harvey playing college sports, but eventually became resigned. In his senior year, Cushing was captain of the team.

 

 

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Cushing’s Yale Scrapbook

Cushing filled two scrapbooks with newspaper clippings on Ivy League sports teams, concerts, social events, and other memorabilia. The photograph on the right page shows Alfred W. Coats, Perry W. Harvey (cousin and roommate), Harvey Cushing, and G. Beekman Hoppin. Cushing retained a very strong attachment to Yale, keeping in touch with classmates and attending reunions and games all his life.

. Yale Examination Schedule, 1890

Cushing’s courses are checked off. Added in pencil was Cushing’s course on physiological psychology with G.T. Ladd. He also took a course on physiological chemistry with Russell Chittenden.

 

 

 

Physiology Notes, Harvard Medical School, 1891

At Harvard Medical School from 1891 to 1895, Cushing began his lifelong habit of working long hours. He kept careful records from all his courses. These notes are from an advanced physiology course taught by Henry P. Bowditch. Even as a medical student, Cushing’s artistic talent was evident.

 

 

Columbian Exposition Diary, 1893

In September 1893, before beginning his third year at Harvard Medical School, Harvey and his physician brother Ned, visited the great Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Harvey's diary records great interest in all the sights. In these pages, Cushing has drawn the Santa Maria and the “Convent where Columbus was Educated.” Cushing went on several early vacations or medical tours with his brother, who was also a graduate of Harvard Medical School.

 

 

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Invitation to an Operation, 1895

Postcard from Harvard Medical School Professor John Homans to Harvey Cushing, March 6, 1895, informing him of an “Abdominal hysterectomy for fibroid tumor in Ward E. Sat. morning March 9, at 10 A.M."

 

 

 

Bermuda Diary, 1895

Harvey Cushing and his brother, Ned, took a steamship from Manhattan to Bermuda for a few weeks of vacation in the spring of 1895.

 

 

 

Cushing in Atlantic City, Postcard ca. 1895

On the back Cushing wrote to his sister, Alice, “Here is the proud likeness you asked for, showing the effects of Atlantic City on a meagre Yank.”

 

House officers, “South Side,” Massachusetts General Hospital,
July 1896

Cushing stayed on for a year as an intern at Massachusetts General Hospital, loosely connected with Harvard Medical School. He was assigned to the new “south side” of the Hospital.

Left to right: Harvey Cushing (senior), J.W. Cummin (externe), Dr. William M. Conant (visiting surgeon), J.C. Hubbard, F.S. Newell (junior).

 

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