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History of Public Health at Harvard

Manuscripts and archival collections for researching the history of public health, including resources related to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Faculty Collections & Resources

The following list of BIPOC faculty connect to archival holdings available at the Center for the History of Medicine. Additional resources authored by the Harvard Chan School have been included for context. Unless otherwise stated, all resources below are available online. To arrange for access to print materials, submit a request to the reference team at the Center for the History of Medicine.

This list will be periodically updated as additional research is conducted and collections are obtained by the Center. We recognize there is more work to be done, both in collecting and in research. We are eager to connect with our community to address these gaps. If you have ideas or questions, please contact the Harvard Chan Archivist.


Alonso, William; former director (1976-1978), Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Saltonstall Professor of Population Policy; a demographer and sociologist, his research focused on demographic changes, in particular in very urbanized areas. He developed a mathematical model, connecting migration and the evolution of the distribution of the population.


Hopkins, Donald; MPH, public health researcher in neglected diseases, member of the Institute of Medicine, Vice President, Health, at The Carter Center, overseeing international health and mental health programs in Africa and Latin America since 1997, Assistant Professor at the Department of Tropical Public Health, and recipient of 2012 Alumni Award of Merit, Harvard School of Public Health


Pierce, Chester M., papers, 1950-2015 (inclusive); H MS c523, 14 c.f., processed. (contact Public Services)

Chester Middlebook Pierce (born 1927), M.D., Harvard Medical School, 1952, A.B., Harvard College, 1948, was a senior psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, a psychiatrist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and professor of education at Harvard University. He also served on the faculty of the Harvard T.C. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Pierce held rank of Commander in the US Navy as well as senior consultant to the Surgeon General of the US Air Force, the Children’s Television Network, the US Arctic Research Commission, the Peace Corps, and NASA. Dr. Pierce was the president of both the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Orthopsychiatric Association. He was on the Carter Center Mental Health Task Force from 2001 to 2004, and was the founding president of the Black Psychiatrists of America Association and National Chairperson of the Child Development Associate Consortium. Dr. Pierce published more than 180 books, articles, and reviews during his life, primarily on extreme environments, racism, media, and sports medicine. He took many professional trips to Antarctica where a peak bears his name (Pierce Peak). Dr. Pierce organized an African Diaspora conference in 2002 that ultimately led to the Massachusetts General Hospital Division of International Psychiatry in 2003. The Division was renamed in 2009 as the Chester M. Pierce, MD Division of Global Psychiatry in Dr. Pierce’s honor. Records include annotated secondary sources, teaching records, manuscripts, correspondence, lectures, committee and task force records, biographical materials, professional headshots, newsletters, photographs, and research materials.

See also: Chester Pierce Honored in Campus Fitness Challenge (archived blog post)


Prothrow-Stith, Deborah, 1954-; papers, 1983-2009 (inclusive), H MS c595, 39 c.f., unprocessed (contact Public Services)

Deborah Prothrow-Stith (born 1954), B.A., 1975, Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia; M.D., 1979, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, was Henry Pickering Walcott Professor of Public Health Practice in the Department of Health Policy and Management and Director of the Division of Public Health Practice (DPHP) at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). She served two years as Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Health before joining HSPH as Assistant Dean for Government and Community Programs in 1990. She then served as founding director of the DPHP and Associate Dean for Diversity. Prothrow-Stith advocates for the treatment of violence as a public health issue, a view she helped popularize in her 1991 book Deadly Consequences. She specializes in community-based violence prevention and has authored several youth curricula. Records include committee records, teaching records, subject files, reference material, writings, research records, travel files, grant records, departmental administrative records, and biographical materials.

See also: Division of Public Health Practice (institutional collection):


Williams, Michelle A.; SM ’88, ScD ’91, Dean of the Faculty (2016- ), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development, a joint faculty appointment at the Harvard Chan School and Harvard Kennedy School. Harvard Chan School’s first female dean, and the first Black person to head a faculty at Harvard.


Yerby, Alonzo; chair, Department of Health Policy and Management (1966-1982), and the only Black tenured faculty member at the school at that time.

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