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Harvey Cushing Gallery

Harvey Cushing and Ivan Pavlov

"Two Physiologists, Harvey Cushing and Ivan Pavlov"
Donor: Dr. and Mrs. Richard Newquist (1995)

24 October, 1994


Some years ago I commissioned a sculpture for my medical office, where I wanted Harvey Cushing represented. Enclosed is a plate of the Fulton biography showing Cushing and Pavlov on a park bench. I commissioned a local sculptor, James Lawrence, who struck in wood and paint, his likeness of Harvey Cushing. The two sit on a park bench. I am closing my practice. If the Museum has any interest ...

Sincerely yours, Richard E. Newquist, M.D."

Archivist Note: Sadly, Dr. Newquist passed away before the piece was shipped from California to the National Office outside of Chicago. Mrs. Newquist completed the donation in honor of her husband's wishes.

The artist was contacted with questions about the woodcarving, specifically why Pavlov has 2 different color eyes. Unfortunately the piece had been executed more than 10 years earlier and the artist had no records to supply answers to the question. Please note the lack of hands on both subjects, an interesting presentation of two personalities for which manual dexterity was essential.


Cast of Harvey Cushing's Hand
Donor: Richard U. Light (1990)

Dr. Cushing was age 53 when this cast was made.

The following excerpt from Journal of Neurosurgery, April 1969 describes Dr. Cushing's interest in "hands".

"This story, told by Dr. Leo Davidoff, reminds us not only of the steady stream of internationally famous surgeons that trooped through the Brigham, but of the sly humor and vanity of their famous host.

'While I was resident in neurosurgery at the Brigham I puttered around with the acromegaly cases and was seeking some what in which we could demonstrate objectively the changes that take place in these patients following the removal of the pituitary tumor. This led me to make plaster casts of one of the patients' hands before and after operation, and thus demonstrate the appreciable loss of soft tissue edema. Dr. Cushing was interested and went further by applying the same technique to a little idea of his own. He had made the first cast of his own hand way back in his medical school days. You see, he was inordinately proud of his hands; as a matter of fact, they were the most virile pair of hands that I have every seen, strong, muscular, dexterous, and skillful. He now wondered whether other great surgeons also had unusual hands and decided to collect some plaster samples.

'Sooner or later most famous surgeons in the world visited Dr. Cushing; it was, therefore, quite easy to have access to the hands. But the way he went about obtaining the casts was characteristic. He would take his guest for a short walk down Huntington Avenue where they would eventually come to the display window of an Italian sculptor. When Dr. Cushing and his guest reached this window, the Chief would say casually, 'This looks like a rather interesting place, why don't we go in for a few minutes?' So, in they went. As they began to look at the Roman replicas the storeowner would approach them to ask if they wanted anything particular. Dr. Cushing would reply, 'Oh, no, we're just looking around.' The storeowner would then invite them to look all they wanted, but would immediately turn to the visitor and exclaim, 'Sir, you must be a surgeon!' The visitor would be somewhat surprised and say, 'How do you know that?' And the owner would state that he thought his hands were unique. 'In fact,' he would go on to say, 'I have made it a hobby to collect plaster casts of the hands of great surgeons and I wonder if you would permit me to do yours. There is no charge, of course; it is for my own amusement.' The visitor would look to Dr. Cushing, who would urge him to go ahead and do it. This took only a few minutes and they would then continue with their walk. Later, of course, the plaster cast was delivered to Dr. Cushing.'"

Lab Coat

Harvey Cushing's Lab Coat (1995)
Donor: Lycurgus M. Davey (1988)

"9 September 1988

Dear Mr. Hauber:

Dr. Cushing's office coat from the Brigham Hospital in my possession somewhere for half a century was finally located and is forwarded to be included among the Cushing Memorabilia. Although yellowed from unprotected storage, there appears to have been some effort a preservation as evidenced by my initials, "LMD", and a modernistic laundry number stencilled on the collar.

How Harvey Cushing's coat ended up in my closet stands in need of a personal explanation. My contact with Dr. Cushing came in 1937 while I was an undergraduate at Yale College. Through the Bursary office which aided self-supporting students, I was assigned to Dr. Cushing because my linguistic skills matched his requirements. Thus occurred the first of a series of uncanny coincidences in my life for only the year before as part of an English course I had devoured with consuming fascination the two volumes of ""he Life of Sir William Osler", Cushing's Pulitzer Prize biography. And now to be working for this heroic figure!

At the initial interview I was overwhelmed by 4 solid walls of books. After he had explained the project of cataloguing these books he generously added: "Davey, if you come upon a book that attracts your interest, do stop and read it." Cataloguing in his library opened up whole new vistas of historical worlds and proved to be a reading course in the history of medicine such as nowhere existed formally at that time.

Dr. Cushing died in October 1939, my first year at the Yale Medical School, but I stayed on with the Cushing collection which has been bequeathed to Yale.

His white coat usually hanging on the library door attracted my acquisitive attention. I asked my supervisor, Miss Madeline Stanton, Dr. Cushing's secretary from 1919 to his death, if I might have the coat. Her answer, though hardly permissive was not entirely dismissive so at the lazy end of a warm fall afternoon, I succumbed to the temptation of a bit of larceny, which culminates now in restoring the coat to Cushing, hopefully, and acceptable expiation of my youthful, but retrospectively propitious transgression.

Yours sincerely,
L. M. Davey, M.D."

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