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George B. Darling papers

Call Number: MS 770

Scope and Contents

The George Bapst Darling Papers consist of correspondence, memoranda, reports, notes, and writings, which document Darling's service with the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, his role as head of the Division of Medicine at Yale University, 1946-1953, and his extended term as director of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, 1957-1972. The papers also include files from Darling's participation in Operation Crossroads as a civilian observer of the atomic testing at Bikini Atoll, photographs from personal travel around the world, and papers of various members ofthe Darling, Smith, and Shaw families.

The papers are arranged in six series, but no one series contains all materials relating to a particular phase of Darling's career. In many instances, when material is divided between series cross references in the series listings direct the reader to other relevant material. Series I, General Files, includes materials, predominately correspondence, from all of Darling's adult life, and includes documents relating to both personal and professional matters. Series II, Yale Files, includes those files specifically created while Darling served as head of the Division of Medicine and while teaching at Yale University, while Series III, Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission Files, contains those files Darling retained from his fifteen years in Japan. Nevertheless, correspondence with personal friends and colleagues in Series I may also be of interest to those studying both the Yale years and ABCC assignment. Series IV, Writings, contains manuscripts, printed copies, and speech notes of Darling's authorship, but correspondence with publishers or concerning arrangements for a speech are found in the first three series. Series V includes personal papers of both George and Ann Darling, as well as papers from other members of both their families. Diaries and memorabilia in this series may be of use to those studying the Darlings' years in Japan, as may be the extensive collection of photographs found in Series VI.


  • 1805-1995


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by George B. Darling has been transferred to Yale University.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 George B. Darling, 1976-1987, and the estate of George B. Darling, 1995.


Arranged in six series: I. General Files, 1927-1991. II. Yale Files, 1945-1957. III. Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission Files, 1948-1972. IV. Writings, 1920s-1979. V. Family and Personal Papers, 1805-1995. VI. Photographs, 1813-1995.


30 Linear Feet (74 boxes)

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, memoranda, reports, notes, and writings which document the professional career of George B. Darling. The papers highlight Darling's role as head of the Division of Medicine at Yale University, 1946-1953, and as director of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, 1957-1972. The papers also include files from Darling's participation in Operation Crossroads as a civilian observer of the atomic testing at Bikini Atoll. There are also photographs from personal travel around the world and papers of various members of the Darling, Smith, and Shaw families. These papers form part of the Contemporary Medical Care and Health Policy Collection.

Biographical / Historical

George Bapst Darling, the son of George Bapst and Alice Emma Smith Darling, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 30, 1905. He attended Boston English High School and Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. In 1927, he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed work for his doctorate in public health at the University of Michigan in 1931. He married Ann Flora Shaw on June 24, 1931.

Darling worked as a research associate and assistant epidemiologist for the Detroit Department of Health from 1927 until 1932. He then joined the W. K. Kellogg Foundation as associate executive director and served in successively more responsible positions until he was made president of the foundation in 1940, in which capacity he served until 1943. In that year he moved to Washington, D.C. where he became an expert in the administration of medical and scientific affairs. He served as executive secretary of the Committee on Military Medicine of the National Research Council. From 1944-1945, he also served as its vice-chairman of the Division of Medical Sciences. He became executive secretary of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council in 1945.

In February 1946, Yale University President Charles Seymour asked Darling to accept a new position at the university as director of medical affairs. Seymour envisioned that the director would be a central university administrative officer, with responsibility for the conduct of all university interests represented in its medical school, school of nursing, department of public health, and hospital. The director would be responsible for the budgets of those units and would sit with the Educational Policy Committee of the Corporation, whenever matters ofmedical education were under consideration. Darling accepted this position, but, before moving to New Haven, he went as a non-military observer of Operation Crossroads to witness the atomic bomb testing being conducted on Bikini Atoll during the summer of 1946.

The post-war years were a time of upheaval and reorganization in medicine and health care delivery in the United States. In his years as director of medical affairs at Yale, Darling was confronted with the high costs of medical education and the possibility that the Medical School might not have the funding to function. He lobbied for federal government funding for research and development of medical facilities. There were also discussions of Yale's role in filling the need for training for Connecticut physicians and the desire of some to establish a medical school at the University of Connecticut. Yale needed to redefine its financial relationship with Grace-New Haven Community Hospital (which would become Yale-New Haven Hospital) and help develop methods to provide medical care for indigent patients. On both issues, he worked and became close friends with the hospital's new executive director Albert Snoke. There was also concern in the medical profession over the ethics of Yale School of Medicine faculty treating patients in the various hospital clinics and collecting fees for their services. During the Korean War, Darling sought ways to balance the need to provide medical personnel for the armed forces without disrupting medical education by drafting faculty and students.

Following the hiring of a new dean of the Medical School and the assumption of the Yale presidency by A. Whitney Griswold, the oversight of medical affairs at Yale was reconfigured. With his position eliminated in 1952, Darling became professor of human ecology, a title he held until his retirement in 1974. Darling, however, only taught unti1 1957. In that year, he took what was intended to be a temporary leave of absence from Yale to become the director of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) in Hiroshima, Japan. Darling served in this capacity until 1972.

The ABCC was a joint undertaking of the National Academy of Sciences and the Japanese Government. It had been collecting data and publishing reports on the health of atomic bomb survivors since 1948. Darling became the chief administrator for a team of Japanese and American scientists carrying out extensive research on how the atomic bomb blasts over Hiroshima and Nagasaki continued to affect the health and life spans of residents. Periodically, the researchers examined radiation bum survivors, and the results ofthese studies shed new light on the behavior of genes and cancer cells.

Darling stressed the importance of harmony and diversity in this undertaking and believed that the cooperation of the local community was an absolute prerequisite to the ABCC program. Reports and other publications of the commission were published in bi-lingual format. During his tenure, there was an increase in mutual assistance and exchange of personnel with Japanese universities and medical institutions. As director, Darling was involved in labor disputes and negotiations over the share of funding to be provided by each ofthe commission's sponsors, as well as efforts to publicize the commission's work. He was often called upon to appear at ceremonial functions and to escort visiting dignitaries. He and his wife Ann became familiar with Japanese customs and life style and were successful in attracting, acclimating, and retaining young American scientists for the commission's work. In order to further this work, Mrs. Darling co-authored a small book on mastering the art ofthe Japanese tea ceremony.

In recognition of his efforts, Darling was honored with the Japan Medical Association's Supreme Award of Golden Orchid in 1967. He received the United States Atomic Energy Commission citation for meritorious contributions to the nation's atomic energy program in 1970. On leaving Japan in 1972, he returned to Washington, D.C. as a scholar in residence at the John E. Fogarty International Center for Advanced Studies in the Health Sciences, which was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

The Darlings were masterful at entertaining guests. They enjoyed travel and visited six of the seven continents. A bon vivant, George Darling attended Rotary International meetings wherever he went. In 1968, Darling was named a Paul Harris Fellow ofthe Rotary Foundation of Rotary International in recognition of his contributions to the international program. For several years the Darlings also enjoyed a summer retreat on Cut-in-Two Island, one of the Thimble Islands off-shore from Branford, Connecticut. In retirement, the couple returned to Hamden, Connecticut, where Darling died at age 89, on March 30, 1995.

Guide to the George B. Darling Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Diane E. Kaplan
June 1997
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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