Lot 33: Rare Harvey Cushing Note Sending Thanks for (His Last) Birthday Wishes
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
October 26, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: CUSHING, HARVEY. (1869-1939). Pioneering neurosurgeon and William Osler’s biographer. TPCS. (“Harvey Cushing”). 1p. Oblong 12mo. New Haven, April 25, 1939. On his Yale University School of Medicine stationery. To notable Civil War scholar and autograph collector ARNOLD F. GATES (1914-1993). ********** “Thanks for your pleasant note with its felicitations on my birthday. I appreciate it greatly…”********** A pioneer in neurosurgery, Cushing’s most notable achievement was to reduce the mortality rate of patients undergoing the surgical removal of brain tumors from approximately 90 percent to 8 percent. His many innovations include the Cushing clip to control hemorrhaging during surgery, the use of suction and X-rays in surgery, monitoring blood pressure, and developing a safer method of administering anesthesia. ********** His original research in brain surgery led to the establishment of the Hunterian Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard’s Laboratory of Surgical Research. Cushing trained scores of surgeons as a professor at both Harvard and Yale, where he taught from 1933 until his death, six months after signing this card. A serious bibliophile, Cushing’s collection of books and papers forms the nucleus of Yale’s holdings on medical history, called the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Historical Library founded in 1941. ********** Gates, a well-respected amateur historian of the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln, devoted 50 years to researching those subjects, reviewing books for the Lincoln Herald and contributing to such works as the anthology Lincoln for the Ages. He was an avid letter writer and “friend and unofficial agent of many a noted author,” (“Autographica Curiosa: How Not to Impress Emily Post,” Autograph Magazine, Butts). ********** Letters of Cushing are uncommon. Fine.