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Harold Lamport Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS C 337

Abstract

Correspondence, laboratory notebooks, research manuscripts, reprints, reports, aviation industry publications, photographs, slides, newsclippings, and artifacts document the distinguished medical research career of Harold Lamport, best known for his groundbreaking work in hemodynamics and the improvement of antigravity flight suits, iron lung devices, and high-frequency sound wave devices for fragmenting kidney and gall stones.

Dates

  • 1925-1979

Extent

30.58 Linear Feet (80 boxes)

Creator

Physical Location

Materials stored onsite. History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine

Language of Materials

Collection materials primarily in English

Restrictions

Collection is not restricted. Contact the Reference Staff for information regarding access.

Copyright and Re-use Information

Donor's copyrights were transferred to the public domain. Archival collections often contain mixed copyrights; while NLM is the owner of the physical items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. It is the user's responsibility to research and understand any applicable copyright and re-publication rights not allowed by fair use. NLM does not grant permissions to publish.

Privacy Information

Archives and manuscript collections may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in any collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications for which the National Library of Medicine assumes no responsibility.

Biographical Note

Harold Lamport was born on February 16, 1908 in New York City to Arthur M. and Sadie Lamport. His initial life's goal was to become a mathematical physicist and his academic course took him to Harvard University where he majored in mathematics and physics. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1929 and was elected Phi Beta Kappa. Lamport completed post-graduate work in physics and mathematics at the University of Göttingen (Germany) before studying medicine at Columbia University, where he graduated in 1934. After his residency at Bethel Israel Hospital in New York City, he became Director of the Richard Koster Research Laboratory from 1937 to 1939. Then from 1939 to 1942 he was a member of Columbia University's Medical School in the Department of Neurology. He joined the faculty of the Department of Physiology at Yale University's School of Medicine in 1942, lecturing on the application of mathematics and physics to physiology and medicine. Lamport was appointed research professor of physiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Graduate School of Biological Sciences at City University of New York in 1966 and remained there until his death.

During his tenure at Yale during World War II, he worked on the pneumatic lever suit, an improved anti-gravity suite worn by airplane pilots to prevent blackouts at high speeds. The technology was later improved into the suits worn by NASA astronauts. Lamport's high altitude flying suits (Anti-G suits) used in World War II by U.S. Air Force pilots were displayed at the Smithsonian Institution's Air and Space Museum in 1976. Another outgrowth of this work was a portable iron lung/emergency respirator developed with his colleague Ralph D. Eichorn. It was made of rubberized cloth for military use in the battlefield. Also during World War II, he worked as a research associate and as a medical director of military research projects at the Pierce Foundation Laboratory of Hygiene in New Haven, CT. Here he was responsible for research on government contracts involving aviation blackout protection, concussions, and ultrasound and wound ballistics.

In the 1950s Lamport, along with Eichorn and Herbert F. Newman, pioneered the use of high-frequency sound waves to disintegrate gall stones, thus eliminating the need for surgery. He repeated this success with kidney stones in 1955. For this work he received the ultrasonic research award from the Bircher Foundation in 1955, and the Medical Ultrasonics Award from the American Institute of Ultrasonics in 1956.

Lamport was not only known as an excellent medical researcher, but also as a highly sought after professor and writer. His prolific work in the field of hemodynamics, or the study of pressure and rate of the flow of blood in small bloodvessels using mathematical applications, can be found in a vast array of physiology textbooks and professional journals. At the time of his death, he was investigating the study of abortifacients and pre-conceptual gender determination. His was an attitude of the renaissance thinker, of mastering areas of pathology and physiology through scientific study and methodological rigor.

A distinguished scientist and educator, Lamport many professional affiliations included membership in the American Association of the Advancement of Science (Life Fellow); New York Academy of Medicine (Life Fellow); American Engineering Society; American Heart Association; and the New York Academy of Science. He served on several medical and scientific boards and maintained a close relationship with Mount Sinai Medical School and its Academic Council until his death on December 27, 1975. Several prestigious physiology and medicine awards are given in his honor.

Collection Summary

Correspondence, laboratory notebooks, research manuscripts, reprints, reports, aviation industry publications, photographs, slides, newsclippings, and artifacts (1925-1979; 36 linear feet) document the distinguished medical research career of Harold Lamport, best known for his groundbreaking work in hemodynamics and the improvement of antigravity flight suits, iron lung devices, and high-frequency sound wave devices for fragmenting kidney and gall stones.

The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence and subject files, Series 2 and 6-7. Lamport maintained three different filing structures for his correspondence: alphabetical by individual name; general chronological; and general alphabetical. This series contains information about all aspects of his research. Lamport's subject files were also maintained in two unidentifiable portions. The supplied subtitles, Active and Inactive Research, are a best-guess at the function of the two series. Both series contain similar information and arrangement structures. Each subject file series contains correspondence, published materials, newsclippings, manufacturer's advertising, and other types of background information covering all areas of Lamport's research interests. Likewise, Series 4 contains a wealth of supplies and equipment information used in his experiments. Series 10 contains reprints from colleagues and other scientists working in the same fields as Lamport.

The collection lacks a large amount of Lamport's actual research data. Series 3, Lab Notebooks, primarily documents his bench research in the hemodynamics associated with hypertension and his work on ultrasonic solutions for kidney and gall stone ailments. Series 6, Active Research subject files also contains his work as principal investigator for the PHS contract at Yale, involving research on ultrasonic therapeutic fragmentation of calculi. Series 7, Presentations also contains research dealing with ultrasonic lithotresis in the ureter. Series 12, Photographs, also contains images of many experimental devices and artifacts from this research can be found in Series 13.

His role in developing the anti-gravity suit is best documented in Series 5, Meetings and Reports. This series documents Lamport's meetings with national organizations, such as the National Research Council (Committee on Aviation Medicine), Yale Aeromedical Research Unit, and Air Materiel Command. The Reports subseries details findings on the efficiency of a bladder in transmitting pressure through a garment and how it is affected by both friction and curvature. These findings were result of Lamport and his colleagues in testing the anti-acceleration suits presented to the Acceleration Committee in Washington, DC on September 17, 1943. Likewise significant information can also be found in the Publications, Correspondence, and Subject Files series.

Abstract

Correspondence, laboratory notebooks, research manuscripts, reprints, reports, aviation industry publications, photographs, slides, newsclippings, and artifacts document the distinguished medical research career of Harold Lamport, best known for his groundbreaking work in hemodynamics and the improvement of antigravity flight suits, iron lung devices, and high-frequency sound wave devices for fragmenting kidney and gall stones.

Physical Location

Materials stored onsite. History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine

Provenance

Gift, Mrs. Harold Lamport, 3/11/1977, Acc #244, and deaccessioned gift, University of Wyoming American Heritage Center, 11/11/2003, Acc #2003-48.

General

Processed by
Z. Netosh Jones
Processing Completed
May 2004
Encoded by
John P. Rees
Title
Finding Aid to the Harold Lamport Papers, 1925-1979
Status
Unverified Partial Draft
Author
Z. Netosh Jones
Date
May 2004
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latn
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English
Edition statement
1.0

Revision Statements

  • July 2004: PUBLIC "-//National Library of Medicine::History of Medicine Division//TEXT (US::DNLM::MS C 337::Harold Lamport Papers)//EN" "lamport" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Archives and Modern Manuscripts Collection Collecting Area

Contact:
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