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Herbert Thoms collection

Call Number: Ms Coll 14

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of correspondence, particularly a set of letters from Grantly Dick-Read; a nearly full set of articles by Thoms; and 11 scrapbooks and photograph albums concerning his years as a Yale medical student and early faculty member, his work on natural childbirth and rooming-in, and his interest in the history of Connecticut medicine.


  • 1906-1971


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Yale does not own copyright to these materials.


11 boxes (4 archival letter boxes, 3 tall legal boxes, and 4 flat boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Biographical / Historical

Herbert King Thoms, M.D. was a Yale obstetrician, historian of medicine, and artist/engraver. Born in 1885 in Waterbury, Connecticut, his early education was acquired at the Vermont Academy and the Waterbury High School. He received his M.D. from Yale in 1910. Following internships at the Backus Hospital in Norwich and Memorial Hospital in New London, he served as an assistant resident at the Sloane Hospital for Women in New York City. Then, having decided to specialize in obstetrics, he spent a year at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 1915, he returned to New Haven where he began an active practice in obstetrics. He was appointed an associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale, and in 1927 he became a member of the full-time faculty. He became chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1947, a position he held until his retirement in 1953. During his academic career, he made many important contributions in his field including studies in pelvimetry, the plan for infant “rooming-in” after delivery in conjunction with Dr. Edith Jackson and members of the Department of Pediatrics, the “natural child birth” program, and studies in the Yale infertility clinic which he established. As a teacher, he was influential in bringing to the attention of his students the importance of a humanistic approach to medicine. Throughout his career he was a prolific author of books and articles on the history of medicine. His special interest was the early history of Connecticut medicine. In addition to his clinical and historical activities, he found the time to become an accomplished artist and engraver.

Custodial History

The collection was donated at various times by Herbert Thoms.

Herbert Thoms collection
Toby A. Appel
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Medical Historical Library, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library Repository

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