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Harvey Cushing

Harvey Williams Cushing

Harvey Cushing (c.1900)
BornApril 8 1869(1869-04-08)
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
DiedOctober 07 1939 (aged 70)
New Haven, Connecticut, United States
InstitutionsMassachusetts General Hospital
Johns Hopkins Hospital
Peter Bent Brigham Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Yale University School of Medicine
Specialism Neurosurgery
Known forPioneering brain surgery
Years active1895-1935
EducationYale University
Harvard Medical School

Harvey Williams Cushing (April 8, 1869 - October 7, 1939) was an American neurosurgeon and a pioneer of brain surgery. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest neurosurgeons of the 20th century.

Additional recommended knowledge



Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Cushing graduated from Yale, where he was a member of Scroll and Key and Delta Kappa Epsilon, studied medicine at Harvard Medical School and graduated in 1895. He completed his internship at Massachusetts General Hospital and then studied surgery under the guidance of a famous surgeon, William Stewart Halsted, at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, in Baltimore. During his medical career he was a surgeon at this hospital, at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston and as professor of surgery at the Harvard Medical School. From 1933, until his death, he worked at Yale University School of Medicine. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps as a surgeon with the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War I.

He married Katharine Stone Crowell on June 10, 1902. They had five children: William Harvey Cushing; Mary Benedict Cushing (who married Vincent Astor and painter James Whitney Fosburgh); Betsey Cushing, wife successively of James Roosevelt and John Hay Whitney; Henry Kirke Cushing; and Barbara Cushing, socialite wife of Stanley Grafton Mortimer and William S. Paley.


In the beginning of the 20th century he developed many of the basic surgical techniques for operating on the brain. This established him as one of the foremost leaders and experts in the field. Under his influence neurosurgery became a new and autonomous surgical discipline.   His achievements include:

  • improved considerably the survival of patients after difficult brain operations for intracranial tumors
  • used x-rays to diagnose brain tumors
  • used electrical stimuli for study of the human sensory cortex
  • was the world's leading teacher of neurosurgeons in the first decades of 20th century

Cushing's name is commonly associated with his most famous discovery - the Cushing's disease. In 1912 he discovered an endocrinological syndrome caused by a malfunction of the pituitary gland. He described it in his work The Pituitary Body and its Disorders. Cushing was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1926, for a biography of one of the fathers of modern medicine - Sir William Osler. He died in 1939 in New Haven, Connecticut, and was interred in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland.

Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library

The Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library[1] at Yale University contains extensive collections in the field of medicine and the history of medicine. In 2005, the library released portions of its collection online, including the Peter Parker Collection which consists of a collection of portrait engravings and 83 mid-19th century oil paintings rendered by artist Lam Qua of Chinese tumor patients, and a biography of Harvey Cushing by John F. Fulton.

See also

Sources and External links

  • Fulton, John F. Biography of Harvey Cushing John F. Fulton’s biography of Harvey Cushing, was the first book-length biography of Cushing and has remained the standard source on his life. It is now avalialable in its entirety in digital form at the website of the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University.
  • Guide to the Harvey Williams Cushing Papers, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library
  • Harvey Cushing : a Life in Surgery, by Michael Bliss (Oxford University Press, 2005)
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Harvey_Cushing". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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