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Alice Hamilton papers

Identifier: MS-031


Manuscripts, publications, correspondence, photographs, and ephemera of the American public health researcher and activist Alice Hamilton.


  • Creation: 1893 - 1961


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright of these materials may not be held by Connecticut College. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Researchers are responsible for identifying the copyright holder and securing permission to reproduce copyrighted materials beyond “fair use” before publishing.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Alice Hamilton (1869 – 1970) was a leading expert in the field of occupational health. She was born in New York New York, was homeschooled and completed her early education at a finishing school - Miss Porter’s School. She received her medical degree from the University of Michigan medical school in 1896.

Hamilton studied bacteriology and pathology at universities in Munich and Leipzig from 1895 to 1897, when she returned to the U.S., she continued her postgraduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School. In 1897 she moved to Chicago, where she became a professor of pathology at the Woman's Medical School of Northwestern University.

Soon after moving to Chicago, Hamilton became a member and resident of Hull House, the settlement house founded by social reformer Jane Addams. Living side by side with the poor residents of the community, she became increasingly interested in the problems workers faced, especially occupational injuries and illnesses. The study of 'industrial medicine' (the illnesses caused by certain jobs) had become increasingly important since the Industrial Revolution of the late nineteenth century had led to new dangers in the workplace.

In 1907, Hamilton began exploring existing literature from abroad, noticing that industrial medicine was not being studied much in America. She set out t to change this, and in 1908 published her first article on the topic.

Dr. Hamilton visited factories all over the United States and throughout the world in an effort to gauge working conditions and possible contamination to industrial toxins. Her reports and writings reflect a deep desire to help to the workers and improve their lives. Dr. Hamilton also wrote extensively about social causes, such as birth control and women in the workforce.

Upon her return from a 10 day trip to Hitler’s Nazi Germany in 1933, Dr. Hamilton wrote several articles criticizing the changes taking place in the country due to the Nazi regime.

In 1919, Hamilton was hired as assistant professor in a new Department of Industrial Medicine at Harvard Medical School, making her the first woman appointed to the faculty there.

Sources: Linda Lear Library, Alice Hamilton Papers;


2.0 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged into the following six series: Series I. Manuscripts, 1910-1942; Series II. Publications, 1911-1925, undated; Series III. Photographs and Ephemera; Series IV. Official Bulletins and reports, 1911-1912; Series V. Correspondence, 1912-1961; and Series VI. Materials related to trip to Germany in 1933

Guide to the Alice Hamilton papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • May 2020: Revised and migrated into ArchivesSpace by Rose Oliveira, Lear Center Staff, and Javin Astacio, student assistant.

Repository Details

Part of the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives Repository

Connecticut College
270 Mohegan Ave
New London CT 06320 United States