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Anne Ramsay Somers papers

Call Number: MS 1237

Scope and Contents

The Anne Ramsay Somers Papers consist of 10 linear feet of office files which contain correspondence, project files, and writings. They extend from 1955 to 1978, although the bulk of the papers covers the years 1960 to 1978.

The Somers Papers are incomplete; they contain no material documenting her academic appointments. In addition, they provide only limited information on her service in professional organizations, on her work as a consultant, and on her membership on the Health Insurance Benefits Advisory Council. The papers do, however, contain correspondence with a number of significant figures in health care and health policy, and they provide extensive coverage of her publications and speeches. The papers are organized in three series: GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE, WRITINGS, and PROJECT FILES.

Series I GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE is arranged alphabetically and dates primarily from the mid 1960s through 1978. The series contains exchanges with acquaintances, colleagues, professional organizations, public officials and others, and it covers a wide range of areas in health and health policy. Somers corresponded with important figures in public health and health economics such as: Odin W. Anderson, Robert M. Ball, Frederick W. Brown, Wilbur J. Cohen, Melvin A. Glasser, Philip R. Lee, James Mackenzie, Robert J. Myers, Ernest W. Saward, Robert M. Sigmond. Her exchanges with Brown, Du Val, Glasser, Lee and Myers contain lengthy, informal discussions of her views on health care and health insurance. However, most of the series is limited to one or a few exchanges with specific correspondents or is routine in nature.

Series II, WRITINGS, is divided into two sections,MonographsandSpeeches and Shorter Writings.Monographsis arranged chronologically by title and covers books and book chapters which Somers authored or co-authored between 1960 and 1977. The section includes drafts, outlines, correspondence, reviews and other items.

TheSpeeches and Shorter Writingssection spans the years 1968 to 1977, although most of the material dates from 1969 to 1974. The section is arranged chronologically by the date papers were first presented or published. Revisions of papers which were subsequently published or presented (including those with variant titles) are filed with the original version of the paper. The section includes speech texts, reprints, tear sheets, and correspondence. The major topics represented are hospital administration, the role of hospitals in health care, consumer health education, and health insurance.

Series III, PROJECT FILES, dates from 1966 to 1979 and covers a variety of Somers' professional activities, including organizations, conferences, and panels on which she served; consulting work; informal consultations with colleagues; and production of a television series on health services organization, financing and health consumerism. The series also includes a few materials from her appointment to the Health Insurance Benefits Advisory Council.

The series includes more than twenty separate organizations and projects, although the coverage for each is very limited. Most of the activities described in the series relate to consumer health education.

The papers are part of the Contemporary Medical Care and Health Policy Collection, which also includes the papers of Somers' husband, Herman M. Somers (Ms. Group No. 1238).


  • 1955-2006


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by Anne Ramsay Somers 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 Anne Ramsay Somers, 1980, 1983, and 1989. Gift of Margaret Somers, 2007.


Arranged in three series and additions: I. General Correspondence. II. Writings. III. Project Files.


26.26 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, project files, speeches and presentations, writings and topical files all relating to health insurance and health care, particularly in its financial aspects in the United States, geriatric medicine, and long-term care financing. Important correspondents include Odin W. Anderson, Robert M. Ball, Frederick W. Brown, Wilbur J. Cohen, Merlin K. DuVal, Melvin A. Glasser, Philip R. Lee, James Mackenzie, Robert J. Myers, Ernest W. Saward, and Robert M. Sigmond. The writings include texts articles, letters to the editor, and reviews of published monographs. Also included are speeches, presentations, and essays written between 1968 and 2003. The project and topical files contain memoranda, reports, clippings, research notes, and correspondence from government agencies, individuals, and private groups. There are also several reports on the New Jersey Department of Health in 1974 and a script for a series of television programs featuring health and hospital programs in New Jersey (1970). In addition there are chronological files of professional meetings attended by Somers with related correspondence, printed matter, and writings. These papers form part of the Contemporary Medical Care and Health Policy Collection.

Biographical / Historical

Anne Ramsay Somers, educator, author, and consultant, has been an influential figure in American public health policy, hospital administration, prepaid health insurance plans, and consumer health education. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1913, she was educated at Vassar College (B.A., 1935) and the University of North Carolina (1939-1940). Her early interests were labor economics and industrial relations, and she served as educational director of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union from 1937 to 1942 and as a labor economist with the U.S. Department of Labor from 1943 to 1946.

In 1947, she married Herman Miles Somers, then an economist at the U.S. Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, and spent the next seven years studying and raising a family. In 1954 she and her husband published Workmen's Compensation, their first collaborative work. The study was the first to fully emphasize the importance of the health benefits provided under Workmen's Compensation. After 1954 the Somers became gradually more involved in the area of health economics and in 1957 Anne was appointed a research associate (1957-1963) at Haverford College, where her husband was professor and chairman of the Department of Political Science (1948-1963).

They published a second joint work on health care, Doctors, Patients, and Health Insurance, in 1961. As the first modern full-scale exposition of the organization and financing of health care in the United States, the monograph was widely acclaimed and brought them a great deal of recognition.

During the 1960s and 1970s Anne Somers published a succession of incisive and influential studies of American health care and health policy: Medicare and the Hospitals, 1967, with Herman Somers; Health Care in Transition, 1971; and Health and Health Care: Policies in Perspective, 1977, with Herman Somers. Anne Somers has also published in the field of hospital administration and has conducted studies exploring new areas of health policy such as geriatrics, health education, violence, and various aspects of preventive medicine.

Besides her extensive work as a consultant in the public and private sectors, Somers has served as a research associate in the Industrial Relations Section, Princeton University, since 1964 and as professor of community and family medicine, College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Rutgers Medical School since 1971. From 1972 to 1974 she was also director of the Office of Consumer Health Education, College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and she has participated in policy making and administration in a variety of other positions, including one term as a member of the Health Insurance Benefits Advisory Council (1972-1975).


Forms part of the Contemporary Medical Care and Health Policy Collection, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Guide to the Anne Ramsay Somers Papers
Under Revision
by R. Joseph Anderson, Jo-Anne Woolner, Lee Smith, and Kirstin Kay
November 1981
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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