Harvey Cushing’s Scrapbooks

December 1, 2016

As part of this semester's Student Research at Yale University Library exhibit, Rebecca Straub, a graduate student in the Department of the History of Art, presents her research on Medical Library founder, Harvey Cushing. Cushing, a Yale alumnus and professor, was also a groundbreaking neurosurgeon and a driving force behind the establishment of the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library at Yale. Straub’s research focuses on Cushing’s lifelong hobby of scrapbooking.


In her exhibit, Straub presents excerpts from Cushing’s scrapbooks that span a period of approximately thirty years. We observe moments from Cushing’s time at Yale, histories of notable patients, and documentation of wartime efforts. Straub also explores how Cushing used scrapbooking as a means of organizing information. She examines his scrapbooks and analyzes how his personal archives influenced his published materials.


Throughout Straub’s research process, Melissa Grafe, the John R. Bumstead Librarian for Medical History and head of the Medical Historical Library, was an invaluable resource. Straub describes Grafe’s guidance as both “indispensable” and “inspirational.” You can learn more about Straub’s research on Harvey Cushing by visiting her display in the SML Exhibition Corridor!

By Hilary Purrington