Highlights From the Warren Anatomical Museum- page 8 | History | Smithsonian
An 1868 surgery kit, part of Harvard's Warren Anatomical Museum. (Warren Anatomical Museum)

Highlights From the Warren Anatomical Museum

The collections inside this museum hold intriguing objects that tell the story of 19th century American medicine

Five of a series of ten plaster hand cast created by brain surgery pioneer Harvey Cushing of his surgical peers, 1920s

Five of a series of ten plaster hand cast created by brain surgery pioneer Harvey Cushing of his surgical peers, 1920s
(Warren Anatomical Museum)
Dr. Harvey Cushing, a Harvard Medical School teacher and chief of surgery at Boston’s Brigham Hospital in the 1920s, is considered the “father of neurosurgery.” When other surgeons, his peers, would come to Boston, he sent them to Caproni Casts to have their hands cast in plaster, all of their right (dominant hands). He would keep one and give one to the physician. It is a peculiar preoccupation, considering that Cushing was a brain surgeon, but Hall speculates that maybe Cushing saw something in the “hand of the great surgeon.”

The above casts are of Dr. George W. Crile, founder of the Cleveland Clinic, Italian physician Dr. Vittorio Putti, Italian surgeon Raggaele Bastianelli, and brothers W.J. and C.H. Mayo, the founders of the Mayo Clinic.

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