Henry G. Schwartz Papers


Reference code


Level of description



Henry G. Schwartz Papers


  • 1943-1986 (Creation)
  • 1943-1986 (Creation)


8.00 Linear Feet

Name of creator


Biographical history

Henry Gerard Schwartz (1909-1998) is remembered as one most important and influential American figures in the field of neurosurgery. His primary research interests were focused in anatomy, surgery, and physiology of the nervous system. Dr. Schwartz made important clinical contributions to neurosurgery in pain, intracranial aneurysms, and pituitary and cerbellopontine angle tumors. He designed one of the first spring vascular clips for aneurysm surgery and refined open surgical techniques for cervical cordotomy.

Born in New York City on March 11, 1909, he obtained a bachelor's degree in 1928 from Princeton University. He then earned a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1932. Dr. Schwartz began his career as a surgical house officer at Johns Hopkins. He then studied anatomy and neuroanatomy at Harvard University for three years as a National Research Council fellow. Upon completion of his fellowship, he served as an anatomy instructor at Harvard Medical School before joining Washington University School of Medicine in 1936.

Dr. Schwartz spent the larger part of his career at Washington University, serving in a number of different positions: Fellow in Neurosurgery (1936-1937), Instructor (1937-1942), Assistant Professor in Neurosurgery (1942-1945), Associate Professor (1945-1946), Professor (1946-1970), Chairman of the Division of Neurological Surgery (1946-1974), and August A. Busch, Jr. Professor of Neurological Surgery (1970-1985). In addition to his academic appointments, Dr. Schwartz was acting Surgeon-in-Chief at Barnes Hospital from 1965 to 1967 and Chief Neurosurgeon at Barnes and St. Louis Children's Hospital from 1946 to 1974. As a well-respected educator, his training program attracted many talented students to Washington University.

During World War II, Dr. Schwartz served as Assistant Chief of Surgery and Chief of Neurosurgery in the U.S. Army's 21st General Hospital. During his service, he developed a method for handling wounds to the head and nerves that became standard procedure for the military. For this accomplishment, he received the prestigious Legion of Merit in 1945. Dr. Schwartz was honored numerous times throughout his career for his contributions to neurosurgery. Among his many other awards are the Harvey Cushing Medal from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Distinguished Service Award from the American Board of Neurological Surgery.

In 1985, Dr. Schwartz was elected Honorary President of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies. He also served as Chairman of the American Board of Neurological Surgery (1968-1970) and as President of the Southern Neurosurgical Society (1952-1953), the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons (1967-1968), and the Society of Neurological Surgeons (1968-1969).

Scope and content

The items in this collection represent different aspects of Dr. Schwartz’s personal and professional life. Series 1 (General Hospital 21) and Series 2 (Consultant in Neurosurgery, Vietnam) contain files relating to Dr. Schwartz’s military service. Another important segment of this collection is comprised of his lecture notes in Series 3. The remaining series include photographs, certificates, films and videotapes, memorabilia, and the many awards Dr. Schwartz received throughout his lifetime.

System of arrangement

Conditions governing access

The collection is open and accessible for research.

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Users of the collection should read and abide by the Rights and Permissions guidelines at the Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives.

Users of the collection who wish to cite items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication must request, sign, and return a Statement of Use form to the Archives.

For detailed information regarding use of this collection, contact the Archives and Rare Book Department of the Becker Library (arb@wusm.wustl.edu).

Preferred Citation:

Item description, Reference Code, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Custodial history

Becker Library copy:The Henry G. Schwartz Papers were donated to the Becker Medical Library Archives in three different accessions. The items in this collection were the gift of Dr. Henry G. Schwartz (Acc. 1993-048), the Department of Neurosurgery at Washington University (Acc. 1995-010), and the Henry G. Schwartz estate (Acc. 2000-006).

Immediate source of acquisition

Gift: Becker Library copy:Henry G. Schwartz, MD, Department of Neurosurgery; 1993 April. (1993-048: FC112 (Henry G. Schwartz papers): Series relating to surgical service with the 21st General Hospital, 1943-1945 (some files including material created after the latter date), 1 linear ft. Series relating to service as a consultant to the Surgeon General, Vietnam and other Asian countries, 14 January to 18 February 1967, 1 file.)

Gift, Becker Library copy:Henry G. Schwartz, MD, Department of Neurosurgery; 1994 September 7 (1995-010: FC112 (Henry G. Schwartz papers): The American Association of Neurological Surgeons presents an interview with Henry G. Schwartz, M. D. Sidney Goldring, MD, interviewer. (Interview is the AOA interview for the series Leaders in American Medicine.) Videotape, .5 inch vhs, 1976.)

Gift/Transfer, Becker Library copy:Estate of Henry G. Schwartz, MD, Department of Neurosurgery; 1999 August (2000-006: FC112 (Henry G. Schwartz papers): correspondence files, photographs, certificates, and other memorabilia. Ca. 6 linear ft.)

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)

Rules or conventions

"Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition (DACS), 2013."

Sources used

Archivist's note

© Copyright 2019 Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives. All rights reserved.

Place access points

Name access points

Accession area