Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library
2.5 cubic feet
Personal papers of U.S. physician, Dickinson W. Richards (1895-1973), alumnus (M.A. 1922; M.D. 1923) and faculty member (1925-1973) of Columbia University's College of Physicians & Surgeons. Richards served as Intern (1924) and Resident (1925-1927) at Presbyterian Hospital, with later positions there (1928-1961) and at Bellevue Hospital (1933-1961), and consulted for Merck & Co. Richards received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1956, along with André Cournand and Werner Forssmann for their work relating to heart catheterization.
Gift of Mary Chamberlin (granddaughter), 2013 and 2017 (Accessions #2013.010; #2017.008). The 2017 was also the gift of Abigail Woodruff Russell Prior.
Dickinson Woodruff Richards, Jr. was born in Orange, New Jersey on
October 30, 1895 to his father, also D.W. Richards and mother, Sally. He had three sisters: Katherine, Josephine, Gertrude, and a brother Edward.
He attended Yale University (B.A. 1917) and upon graduation, joined the United States Army, serving as an artillery officer in France at the end of the First World War. In 1919, he was discharged and entered Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons (M.D. 1923). In addition to his medical degree, he also received a Master of Arts degree (1922) in physiology under the guidance of Professor Ernest L. Scott.
He taught at Columbia beginning in 1925 and served as Intern (1924) and Resident (1925-1927) at Presbyterian Hospital, with later positions there (1928-1961) and at Bellevue Hospital (1933- 1961). Before 1968, Bellevue Hospital’s First Medical Division was staffed by faculty from Columbia University’s College of Physicians & Surgeons. During this time, he collaborated with André Cournand at Bellevue Hospital in the fields of pulmonary and cardiac diseases. Dickinson, along with Cournand and German physician Werner Forssmann, received a Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1956 for “their discoveries concerning heart catheterization and pathological changes in the circulatory system.”
Richards also served as Scientific Director (1937-1950), among other roles, to the Merck Institute and edited the Merck Manual. The Merck Company Foundation endowed a professorship in medicine in his honor at Columbia University in 1968.
He co-authored the book, Circulation of the Blood: Men and Ideas (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964) with Alfred P. Fishman, and Medical Priesthoods and Other Essays (Connecticut Printers, 1970). He received the Trudeau Medal from the National Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association (1968), the Kober Medal from the Association of American Physicians (1970), and the Diamond Jubilee Medal from Bellevue Hospital (1973).
He retired from Presbyterian and Bellevue hospitals in 1961, serving as a medical consultant for a number of years. He died in Lakeville, Connecticut on February 23, 1973 at the age of 77.
These papers contain correspondence written during his military training
and deployment in France during the First World War, and correspondence, academic papers,
notes, films, and other material documenting his career as a physician and research physiologist
at Columbia University, Bellevue and Presbyterian Hospitals, and the Merck Institute.
Arranged into two accessions.
These records are open for research without restriction.
Open for research
Dickinson W. Richards Papers, Archives & Special Collections, Columbia University Health Sciences Library.
Date: 1933 - 1973
Correspondence; academic papers and talks in the form of manuscripts and reprints; notes, drawings, reports, a photograph album and films document the life and career of Richards. Of note are black and white photographs of Richards and colleagues housed in a custom-made album presented to Richards by Merck & Co; moving pictures depicting Richards and other recipients honored at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Sweden in 1956.
Date: 1916 - 1919
Correspondence from Dickinson Richards to his family members, the bulk being letters addressed to his mother, Sally Richards, living at 163 Irving Avenue South Orange, New Jersey; her summer residence at Sunapee, New Hampshire; and her New York City residence at 43 East 72nd Street. He also writes to his father, Dickinson W. Richard; his sisters Katherine, Josephine, and Gertrude; and his brother Edward. Included are postcards, telegrams, and accompanying photographs.
Date: 1916 - 1918
Date: 1917 - 1919
Date: September 5, 1918 - October 18, 1918