The University's present Medical Library was founded in 1941, largely due to the efforts of Dr. Harvey Cushing and two other renowned medical specialists, Dr. Arnold C. Klebs and Dr. John F. Fulton. Calling themselves "The Trinitarians", these three great figures of twentieth-century medicine gave their extensive library collections to Yale to form the nucleus of one of the great medical historical libraries of the world. Dr. Cushing, neurosurgeon and collector of the works of the early anatomists and surgeons; Dr Klebs, physician, bibliographer, and incunabulist; and Dr. Fulton, physiologist and collector of medical literature, spearheaded the development of medical history as a major field of study and made a significant contribution to the understanding of medicine and the history of culture.
After graduating from Yale, Dr. Cushing received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1895 and taught at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Medical School before accepting appointment as Mosely Professor of Surgery at Harvard in 1912. His career at Harvard was interrupted by overseas service, during which he directed base hospitals in Europe during World War I.
Dr. Cushing returned to Yale in 1933, serving as Sterling Professor of Neurology in the School of Medicine and as Director of Studies in the History of Medicine from 1933 to 1937, and as Sterling Professor Emeritus until his death on October 7, 1939. He was married to Kate Crowell Cushing for more than thirty years. Mrs. Cushing took a great interest in her husband's students and hosted teas for them at the Medical School.
Dr. Cushing received many honors, including more than twenty honorary degrees, and was one of six individuals, and the only surgeon, to be elected to Honorary Fellowship in the British Royal College of Physicians. His biography of Sir William Osler was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1926.