Samuel Proger Papers
Scope and Contents
This collection contains correspondence, subject files, and written works by and about Dr. Samuel Proger. A large portion of this collection comprises Dr. Proger’s notes from various research endeavors, including his published works, such as The Medicated Society, and unpublished works. Also included in this collection are correspondence to and from Dr. Proger and physicians, as well as an award for his achievements at the New England Medical Center. A wealth of research regarding primary medical care is also included in the Correspondence series. Articles published in medical journals and speeches given at medical conferences, as well as some of his other research notes, are documented in the General files series. Administrative reports are included in the Work files series. The physical collection documentation folder of this collection includes copies of Dave Nathan’s original finding aids as well as copies of the original acquisition records.
This collection suffered extensive water damage due to a flood before it was in the custody of DCA. It underwent conservation efforts before processing, but several materials, particularly folders, scrapbooks, and bound volumes, are still warped or retain a musty odor. In addition, almost of the material is in fragile condition, and must be handled carefully.
Consult the Photographs and audiovisual materials series of the New England Medical Center records (MS099.001) for images of Dr. Proger. In addition, the Pratt Clinic/New England Center records (MS222) contain material by Dr. Proger, as he worked closely with Dr. Pratt in expanding the hospital.
- Creation: 1930 -- 1990
- Pratt Clinic/New England Center Hospital (Organization)
- Proger, Samuel (Person)
- Boston Dispensary (Organization)
This collection contains some restricted material. Restrictions related to specific material are listed in the detailed contents list.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see “Reproductions and Use” on the Tufts Archival Research Center website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. Copyright to all materials created by Tufts University employees in the course of their work is held by the Trustees of Tufts University.
Biographical / Historical
Samuel Proger., M.D. was born on January 21, 1906. He received his MD in 1929 from Emory University, the same year he married Evelyn Levinson. Following graduation he moved to Massachusetts to work with Joseph H. Pratt at the Boston Dispensary (BD) for a year’s residency. He also completed fellowships at University of Heidelberg and Tufts College School of Medicine, where he worked in cardiology.
In addition to his physician duties and research, Dr. Proger played a critical role in the development of the New England Medical Center (NEMC). NEMC was established in 1930 as an overseer to individual medical institutions in Boston, including the BD, the Boston Floating Hospital for Infants and Children (BFH), and the Pratt Clinic/New England Center Hospital (PC/NECH). Under Proger’s guidance and tireless efforts, these institutions -- which, under NEMC, retained their own management structures, -- were integrated into a unified medical unit that partnered with the Tufts University School of Medicine.
After completing his fellowship at the School of Medicine, he was appointed Physician-In-Chief of the BD’s diagnostic ward, a 20-bed unit established in 1931. The Great Depression left the BD financially strained, so Dr. Proger, along with Dr. Pratt, facilitated the opening of the Joseph Pratt Diagnostic Hospital in 1938, a 100-bed diagnostic facility. Unlike a general hospital, the diagnostic hospital took on a more holistic approach. Dr. Proger recruited international doctors and faculty for the PC, as well as soliciting financial gifts via the Bingham program. This not only helped expand the PC, but also further develop a regional medical program in the United States. Though the BD, BFH, and Tufts College School of Medicine had signed an agreement to be run under the auspices of NEMC, the opening of the Pratt Clinic in 1938 was the catalyst for not only the integration of these institutions and their partnership with Tufts University, but also the approach to primary medical care in the United States.
This practice was augmented by the Bingham Associates Fund of Maine, of which Proger was one of its leaders. The Fund's goal was to modernize medical care in the state of Maine using the resources at NEMC and the Tufts College School of Medicine. Under Proger’s leadership, the BAF provided medical scholarships, supported continuing education, and funded diagnostic referral services. Dr. Proger also promoted the development of research and clinical laboratory programs.
In addition to his administrative accomplishments at NEMC, Dr. Proger was appointed chair of the Department of Medicine. He held these dual positions from 1948 until his retirement in 1971. He also made contributions to cardiology research. He pointed out the dangers of obesity in relationship to heart disease, and the relationship between blood fats, blood coagulation and effects on hardening of the arteries. These accomplishments were recognized with his appointments as president of the Massachusetts Heart Association and New England Cardiovascular Society.
Courtesy of his financial prowess and strong relationship with his patients, he was able to cultivate financial gifts which established the Ziskind Research Building, the Farnsworth Surgical Wing, the Biewend Building, and the Tupper Building, all facilities on the New England Medical Center campus. During his tenure, he also served in various capacities on the Board of Governors and Board of Trustees.
He was known not only for his recruitment of academics and clinicians, but also for being a role model to students for his high regard for ethics and patient relationships. His numerous contributions to administration, teaching, and patient care were honored with the opening of the Proger Health Services Building. Dr. Proger died in 1984.
6.2 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
This collection is organized into 9 series: Legacy collection documentation; Correspondence; General files; Written works; Sound recordings; Artifacts; Work files; Photographs; and Memorabilia.
This collection was originally part of the archives of the New England Medical Center (NEMC), which closed in 1990. The collection was processed by Dave Nathan, archivist at the NEMC archives, in June 1989, and had the following NEMC acquisition numbers: 84-23, 84-26, 84-37, 85-33, 86-43, 87-18, 87-20, 87-21, 87-29, 89-1, 89-2.
In spring 2013, NEMC material was transferred from NEMC to a restoration company for conservation treatment, and was then transferred to off-site storage in custody of Digital Collections and Archives (DCA). In December 2014 and January 2015, the material was transferred to DCA for processing. Some material originally in the NEMC archives was not transferred to DCA, due to either poor condition or loss.
In Fall 2022, materials from the former NEMC archives related to the career of Dr. Samuel Proger were transferred to the Tufts Archival Research Center by Dan Bird, Director of Volunteer Services for Tufts Medical Center. Also included in this accession was an original deed of gift from the NEMC Archives, signed by Dr. Proger's wife, Evelyn, in 1987. It is likely that these materials were separated from the other NEMC materials after the dissolution of that repository.
This collection was processed in September 2014 by Elizabeth Mc Gorty, Project Archivist, under the supervision of Liz Francis, Records Archivist.
This collection was previously processed by Dave Nathan. On transfer to DCA, received order was maintained at the series level. Collection and series description written by Dave Nathan was updated. Not all material listed in Dave Nathan's Guide to the NEMC Archives was transferred to DCA. According to Dave Nathan's Guide to the NEMC Archives, some items from certain series are missing. Such items have been noted at the series level.
Accession MS-2020-024, was added to the collection by Collections Management Archivist Adrienne Pruitt in Fall 2019. Folder level information was created and the finding aid was updated at the time of accession.
Accession MS-2023-047 was added to this collection by Kate McNally, Records and Accessioning Archivist, in Spring 2023. Folder and item level description was created and the finding aid was updated at the time of accession.
This collection is processed.
- Faculty papers
- Hospitals--Medical staff
- Medical care
- Medical history
- Medicine -- History
- Primary care (Medicine)
- Primary health care
- University history