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Julius B. Richmond Papers

Identifier: MS C 383


Julius B. Richmond Papers (1941-2004) document the career of the pediatrician and public health advocate. The collection highlights his time as the U.S. Surgeon General as well as his academic career at the State University of New York at Syracuse and Harvard Medical School. It also details important programs which Richmond help establish, such as Head Start.


  • 1941-2004; bulk 1968-1997


92 Linear Feet (124 boxes)


Physical Location

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

Language of Materials

Collection materials primarily in English


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

Julius Benjamin Richmond was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 26, 1916. During the Great Depression, he attended the University of Illinois at Urbana where he received his B.S. Richmond earned an M.S. in physiology and his MD from Illinois's College of Medicine in Chicago in 1939. He performed an 18-month rotating internship at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. After completing his internship, Richmond started two residencies in pediatrics: the first at Chicago's Municipal Contagious Disease Hospital (1941-1942); the second at Cook County Hospital. When the United States entered into World War II, he left Cook to volunteer for the war efforts and was inducted into the Army Air Corps in February 1942. Richmond served as a flight surgeon with the Air Force's Flying Training Command until 1946. After the war ended he returned to Cook to complete his residency.

The time spent in the war inspired Richmond to remain in public service. In 1946, he returned to the University of Illinois to become a professor in pediatrics. He was also active in nonprofit organizations to aid children's welfare as well as the Institute for Psychoanalysis in Chicago. In 1953, Richmond left his alma mater for a position at the State University of New York at Syracuse College of Medicine (now the Upstate Medical Center). He and fellow colleague Bettye Caldwell were inspired by the Supreme Court's decision in the Brown v. Board of Education case to focus their research on how environmental conditions affected child learning and development.

Richmond's work at Syracuse received the attention of Sargent Shriver, who was then head of the Kennedy Foundation. Shriver had been appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to head a new agency, the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) and asked Richmond to join. In 1964, Richmond took a leave of absence from Syracuse and joined Shriver at OEO. Richmond created two important public health programs under the mandate of the OEO to directly aid local groups. The first was Project Head Start in 1965. Head Start, a school readiness program that provides services for children from low-income families, is still running today. The second program was the Neighborhood Health Centers, which brought together economic development and local oversight for health delivery services.

Returning to Syracuse in 1967, Richmond became Dean of the program, but left in 1971 for Harvard Medical School. Richmond took on the challenge of being a professor for two departments, Child Psychiatry and Human Development (1971-1973) and Preventive and Social Medicine (1971-1979). Besides his duties at Harvard, he also immersed himself in helping the youth of Boston. He directed the Judge Baker Guidance Center (1971-1977) and served as Chief of Psychiatry at the Children's Hospital.

In 1977, Richmond was approached by his former OEO colleague Joseph Califano, now President Jimmy Carter's Secretary of the Department of Health Education, to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Health. Having dedicated his life to health promotion, Richmond accepted on the condition that he also be appointed Surgeon General, the most prominent spokesperson for public health. Califano agreed, and Richmond became the 12th Surgeon General of the United States.

Throughout his tenure as Surgeon General, Richmond continued to champion programs that he had helped launch during his time at OEO and continued his leadership in devising and implementing quantitative goals for public health. In 1979, Richmond issued his Healthy People: The Surgeon General's Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention known as the Healthy People Report. The report's importance is reflected in the strategic change by which the PHS sought to influence public opinion about health promotion and disease prevention by getting out information through journalists, local health departments, and other local information outlets. Since it was first introduced, the Healthy People program continues to set national health goals for each decade.

Richmond stepped down from his dual role in 1981 and returned to Harvard. He served as Professor of Health Policy until he retired in 1988 as Professor Emeritus. Although officially in retirement Richmond has remained active in public health, serving as steering committee chair for the National Academy of Science's Forum on the Future of Children and Families.

Collection Summary

Administrative material, correspondence, reports, publications, minutes, and personal items (92 linear feet; 1941-2004) document the career of Julius B. Richmond, pediatrician, public health official, and university professor. The papers are a complete and comprehensive documentary record of his service and activities. The main focus of the collection is on his career in the academic world as well as service to the public, including his tenure as the U.S. Surgeon General (1977-1981). The health and well-being of children were of particular concern and dominated his career. The bulk of the material in the collection relates to his career after 1965, which includes his time as Surgeon General and Harvard Medical School (1971-1988), as well as the various programs he helped implement, such as Head Start (1965) and Healthy People.

The correspondence series (Series 2) comprises the bulk of the collection and contains documents all areas of his professional life. This series has been subdivided into three subseries: individuals, institutions/subjects, and other. Communication between individuals such Joseph Califano, Edward Kennedy, Sargent Shriver, and Benjamin Spock as well as institutions such as the Department of Health and Human Services, Harvard University, and the National Library of Medicine are contained in this series.

Series 3 contains material documenting his time as Surgeon General and focuses on his administrative, program development, and public outreach work rather than his individual research which is better reflected in Series 5: Child Development. The Head Start and Healthy People programs have their own series (Series 6 and 7) separate from the Surgeon General series.

Series 5: Child Development is the second largest series in the collection and the most complex, serving as the main subject files series for this topic. This series is subdivided into 7 subseries, all being further subdivided. Each subseries highlights a particular phase of physiological growth or a specific research issue regarding child development and covers his work from all stages of his professional life. These subseries include: prenatal, infant mortality, infant development, children, adolescents, family, and special needs. Reports, minutes, proposals, publication reprints, papers, and speeches document topics that also include children of alcoholics, poverty, and mental health.

Richmond's work in the mental health and psychiatry arenas is reflected in Series 8 and 11 (Mental Health and Carter Center). The Mental Health series particularly emphasizes his work with national professional organizations. It is subdivided into 9 subseries: American Psychiatric Association (APA), American Psychosomatic Society (APS), Mind/Body Medical Institute, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, publication/papers, meetings, reports, mental retardation, and general. His work for the Carter Center focuses on mental health's impact on families and children, as well as another indicator of Richmond's career-long mission for the development of local health care services and capacities.

Series 4: Harvard University again contains much of the same subject material as other series but only during his service under the auspices as an employee of Harvard; there is little documentation about his teaching activities. The bulk of the series documents his post-Surgeon General career at Harvard of the 1980s-1990s, yet reflects his continued work towards public health awareness and building local services. It includes material such as reports, proposals, minutes, and papers.

Series 8: International Projects documents Richmond's efforts to spread his messages to an international audience about global health care. This series highlights trips, conferences and work in and for international locations. It has been subdivided into 11 subseries, including specific locations like Egypt as well as international organizations like Trust Through Health. Items include minutes, correspondence, proposals, papers, minutes, and ephemeral material.

Richmond's participation in conferences and meetings is concentrated in Series 14 although similar materials can be found is the specific topical series throughout the collection. The same can be said for locating his publications and reprints, although there is also a separate Publications series (15).

Two other small series document Richmond's work with cancer awareness and prevention and child dental care. Materials related to Richmond's service with the Institute of Medicine is also present.


Julius B. Richmond Papers (1941-2004) document the career of the pediatrician and public health advocate. The collection highlights his time as the U.S. Surgeon General as well as his academic career at the State University of New York at Syracuse and Harvard Medical School. It also details important programs which Richmond help establish, such as Head Start.

Physical Location

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


Gift, Julius Richmond, 1981 and subsequent. Accessions 706, 797, 2000-9, 2004-28/32, 2006-5.


Processed by
HMD Staff; Lloyd S. Williams (History Associates, Inc.)
Processing Completed
1985; 2006
Encoded by
Lloyd S. Williams

Processing Information

The Richmond Papers are comprised of two efforts. The original donations, which were made during the 1980s, had been previously processed and arranged with no further work performed on them. The second effort, which makes up the bulk of the collection, has been arranged and processed. Box numbers for this effort picked up where the previous left off. While no physical arrangement was performed to the original collection, it has been arranged by series in the folder list. Researchers should take note of this. It should also be noted that 9 film reels, 1 VHS tape, and audiotapes are included with this collection. Please see curator for further information.

Finding Aid to the Julius B. Richmond Papers, 1941-2004; bulk 1968-1997
Unverified Partial Draft
HMD Staff; Lloyd S. Williams (History Associates, Inc.)
1985; 2006
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English
Edition statement

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Archives and Modern Manuscripts Collection Collecting Area

8600 Rockville Pike
Bldg 38/1E-21, MSC 3819
Bethesda MD 20894 US
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