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George Rosen papers

Call Number: MS 862

Scope and Contents

The collection reflects the professional career of George Rosen and includes correspondence between Rosen and many of the major researchers in the field of public health and history of medicine. The papers also consist of editorial files from American Journal of Public Health, Ciba Symposia, and Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences and subject files documenting the American Public Health Association. Drafts and supporting correspondence and research files for his writings document Rosen's scholarly contributions.


  • 1912-1978


Conditions Governing Access

Student recommendations and evaluations in Series V, Box 36 are restricted until January 2053 as established by Yale Corporation regulations.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by George Rosen has been transferred to Yale University. These materials may be used for non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from Yale University as the copyright holder. For other uses of these materials, please contact

Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Beate Caspari-Rosen, 1978-1982, and 1991. Transfer from the Yale University Historical Medical Library, 1981, and the Section of the History of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, 1991.


Arranged in six series: I. Correspondence. II. American Public Health Association Files. III. Subject Files. IV. Writings. V. Yale University Files. VI. Personal Papers and Photographs.


15.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The papers consist of correspondence, subject files, writings, photographs, and other materials documenting the professional and scholarly career of George Rosen. Also included are files from the American Public Health Association and editorial files of the American Journal of Public Health and Ciba Symposia. Forms part of the Contemporary Medical Care and Health Policy Collection.

Biographical / Historical

George Rosen was born June 23, 1910 in Brooklyn, New York. He was educated in the public schools of New York City before attending the City College of New York, where he graduated in 1930 with a Bachelor of Science degree. Rosen acquired his M.D. from the University of Berlin in 1935. At the suggestion of Henry Sigerist, Rosen wrote a historical dissertation on the reception and influence in Europe of the research of William Beaumont, the American physician-physiologist. This work sparked a lifelong interest in the history of medicine.

With the rise of the Nazis, Rosen returned to the United States soon after obtaining his degree. He interned at Beth-El Hospital before starting a private practice in ophthalmology and otolaryngology. In 1941, he gave up his medical practice to work in the New York City Department of Public Health as a clinic physician in the Bureau of Tuberculosis. He later became a district health officer and then Director of the Bureau of Health Education.

While working in these capacities, Rosen also continued his research, writing, and studies. In the years 1938-1944, he edited the journal Ciba Symposiawith his wife, Beate Caspari-Rosen, and he published his first monograph, The History of Miners' Diseases: A Medical and Social Interpretation, in 1944. In 1941, he began graduate studies in sociology at Columbia University, where he was awarded a Ph.D. in 1947.

Rosen served in World War II as a medical intelligence officer in the Division of Preventative Medicine within the Surgeon General's office. Shortly after the war, he participated in the interrogation of Nazi generals in London as a translator.

Upon returning from Europe after the war, Rosen resumed his public health career and his studies at Columbia University, where he obtained a master's degree in public health in 1950. Also in that year, Rosen was appointed director of the Division of Health Education and Preventative Services of the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York, while he concurrently held the position of professor of public health education in the School of Public Health and Administrative Medicine at Columbia. In 1969, he devoted himself full-time to scholarly pursuits, joining the Department of History of Science and Medicine at Yale University, where he also taught courses in Yale College, the Graduate School, and the School of Medicine.

George Rosen was best known for the breadth and volume of his scholarly work which covered many topics and time periods. He published eleven books and over two hundred articles on topics relating to the history of medicine and public health. He also served as editor of the American Journal of Public Health (1957-1973) and Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (1946-1952), which he also helped to incorporate.

Rosen and his wife Beate met at the University of Berlin while both were medical students, and they were married in 1933. They had two children, Susan and Peter. George Rosen died on July 27, 1977 in Oxford, England.

Guide to the George Rosen Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Tom Hyry
October 1999
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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