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Archival description
Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission Nagasaki, Japan
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Howard B. Hamilton, MD papers

  • MS 066
  • Collection
  • 1945-1997

The Howard B. Hamilton, MD, papers, MS 066, includes material from 1945-1997 related to the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) and the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF). Hamilton was the Chief of Clinical Laboratories for the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission from 1956 until its dissolution in 1975. He served in the same capacity for the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, which succeeded the ABCC, until 1984. This collection encompasses this period of time in Dr. Hamilton's career, as well as his related scholarly work after his retirement from RERF. Dr. Hamilton donated his collection of letters, reprints, newspaper articles, photographs, memos, and ephemera to the John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center between 1985 and 2002. The collection is in good condition and consists of 3.75 cubic feet (8 boxes).

This collection contains eight series: I. Correspondence; II. Memorandum, Notes, Books; III. Conferences, Congresses, Manuscripts; IV. Reprints; V. Newspaper Articles; VI. Akio Awa Cartoons; VII. Additional Correspondence; VIII. Addendum Series. This collection contains many reprints of articles Hamilton wrote or co-wrote on topics including the structure and function of hemoglobin, biochemical genetics, and the long term after-effects of exposure to ionizing radiation. One highlight of the collection is a series of cartoons, Series VI, created by Hamilton's friend Dr. Akio Awa that gives a unique look into the daily goings-on of the ABCC and RERF. Another collection highlight is the photographs in the Addendum Series, Series VIII, which includes images of former United States Senator Ted Kennedy who visited RERF in the late 1970s. Photos also include group photos from many ABCC and RERF conferences and events.

This collection was donated to the Historical Research Center over a number of years, and the material was processed at different times by different people, which resulted in several different organizational schemes being used. During the most recent processing of the collection the arrangement of the material was left unchanged to maintain continuity and for the sake of scholarly citations that may have been made previously

Hamilton was born in Oak Park Illinois on December 4, 1918. He graduated from the University of Rochester in New York in 1941 and from Yale University School of Medicine in 1945. Hamilton served in the United States Navy from 1942-1945, during World War II. In the late 1940s and early 1950s Hamilton conducted research at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, the Long Island School of Medicine, the New York College of Surgeons, and the University of Tokyo in Japan.

In 1956 Hamilton moved to Hiroshima, Japan, where he lived for the next thirty years. After his move to Japan, Hamilton served as the Chief of Clinical Laboratories for the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) from 1956 until its dissolution in 1975. Hamilton worked in the same capacity for the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF), which succeeded the ABCC, until 1984. Between 1984 and 1986 Dr. Hamilton began transitioning into retirement; he continued to work as a consultant for the RERF during this time.

Hamilton was a consummate scholar and published extensively thoughout his career. Hamilton published papers on topics including endocrinology, steroid chemistry, enzyme kinetics, hemoglobinopathies, the structure and function of hemoglobin, genetic polymorphisms, biochemical genetics, the long term after-effects of exposure to ionizing radiation, and epidemiology of cardio-vascular disease.

Hamilton's hobbies included playing tennis and practicing the Japanese theatrical art of Noh, which features dramatic masks and carefully defined movements. After his retirement, Dr. Hamilton catalogued Noh and Kabuki works and published Noh plays. In some circles, Dr. Hamilton was known as much for his enthusiastic patronage and participation in Noh as he was for his work with the ABCC and RERF. (Source: Washington Post, May 9, 2007)

Hamilton died on May 9, 2007 at his home in Falls Church, Virginia. He was 88 years old.

The collection is in good to excellent condition depending on the age of the individual item and how carefully it was stored and preserved in the years before it entered the HRC's collection. Dr. Hamilton donated his large collection of letters, reprints, newspaper articles, photographs, memos, and ephemera to the John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center between about 1985 and 2002. The collection consists of 3.75 cubic feet (8 boxes) and is collection MS 066.

Hamilton, Howard B.

Marvin A. Kastenbaum, Ph.D., papers.

  • MS 093
  • Collection
  • 1950-1997

The Marvin A. Kastenbaum, PhD, papers, MS 93, 1950-1997, contains materials related to the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC), including audio-visual materials, photographs, artifacts, personal cards, clippings, and statistical analyses compilied by the ABCC. Kastenbaum worked for 17 months as a statistician with the ABCC.

Kastenbaum's first contribution to the archive in March 1994 was a set of photographs of ABCC employees. Later, he made additional donations of artifacts, audio-visual materials and more photographs.

Kastenbaum was born in New York City on January 16, 1926. During World War II, he served with the the 124th Cavalry Regiment and later in the 613th Field Artillery Battalion. Kastenbaum was stationed in Burma, and the units he was stationed with participated in the reopening the Burma Road, a vital supply route from Burma to China.

After the war, Kastenbaum returned to his studies and graduated from the City College of New York with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics in 1948. He received his Master's degree in statistics from North Carolina State College in 1950 and his PhD from the same institution in 1956.

In January 1953, during a hiatus from his studies, Kastenbaum took a post as statistician in the Biostatistics Department of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission in Hiroshima, Japan. While with ABCC he had occasion to review much of the medical data which had been collected by the commission between 1947 and 1954. He and Dr. William C. Moloney wrote a study of A-bomb radiation on humans. Upon completion of the final report, Marvin A. Kastenbaum decided he would make a career of medical statistics. In September of 1954 he returned to Chapel Hill to complete the requirements for his doctorate in statistics at the University of North Carolina. While there Marvin A. Kastenbaum worked as a statistician for the University's Department of Public Health.

During his 17-month affiliation with the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, Kastenbaum recorded some of his experiences on film. He donated three reels of 8 mm film to the archive in 1995. This film is a unique visual history. He filmed ABCC events in Japan, highlights from festivals, and scenes of daily life. Approximately one-third of the footage is devoted to ABCC personnel, activities and sites. The latter part of the film includes scenes of Hong Kong, Bangkok, India, Pakistan, Israel and Greece that Dr. Kastenbaum filmed after leaving Tokyo, Japan in May 1954. The collection is 1.75 cubic feet (3 boxes).

Dr. Kastenbaum's photographs have been rehoused and cataloged as single items and in sets. The bibliographic records and holdings are in machine readable format and can be found in the online catalog of the Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library. The finding aids for the photographs are as follows: traditional card files and computerized bibliographic records in the online catalogs. All the photographs are black and white in a variety of sizes.

Some of the material in this collection appears to have been water damaged. This is especially apparent in box 2. Extra care should be taken when handling these materials. Notify an archivist if any of the material appears to be disintegrating.

This collection is 1.75 cubic feet (3 boxes.)

Kastenbaum, Marvin A., Ph.D.