Cushing Memorabilia

Diaries, family photos, a well-used camera, baseballs are just a few of the items that you see in the memorabilia cases.

A white coat, cleaned and pressed, next to a bronze of his right hand, gives a sense of Cushing’s physical stature. Some items from his office – a nameplate, the Cushing Medallion commemorating his retirement from Harvard in 1932 – are displayed next to a picture of Cushing doing a back flip during his undergraduate days at Yale.

A photograph of HC and Ivan Petrovich Pavlov and a specimen jar sit on a shelf. The specimen jar contains a steak “signed by Ivan Petrovich Pavlov using the Bovie instrument”; the liver was preserved in alcohol at the HCs request. Cushing writes “so a lobe of calf’s liver was secured from the hospital kitchen. After he tested to his own satisfaction the difference between cutting and coagulation current, Pavlov triumphantly wrote his name on the smooth surface. I asked him whether he wanted me to eat the meat in the hope of improving my conditional reflexes or whether we could keep it in the museum…”

Below the jar are some samples of the famous “black book”. This “confounded black book” ferociously guarded by Dr. Louise Eisenhardt, recorded all his surgeries. His final report on 2000 verified brain tumors carried a mortality rate of 11.8%.