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Walter Hughson papers

Identifier: MSS 2/077

Scope and Contents

This collection of Walter Hughson's papers, 1921-1945, including his correspondence, records of research and work on special projects, writings, and lectures, documents his professional work in otology, particularly the aural rehabilitation of soldiers deafened in war and hearing aid development.

The collection is divided into four series. Series 1 contains Hughson's correspondence with colleagues on various otological or surgical matters, including the treatment of headaches with sodium chloride and the relationship of mumps to deafness. Notable items in the series are correspondence with the American Hearing Aid Association and the American Society for the Hard of Hearing; a letter, 7 November 1928, from J. F. Baldwin discussing pre operative and post operative surgical care; and six folders of correspondence with Antonio Ciocco of the U.S. Public Health Service concerning the prevention of deafness in children and clinical studies of children at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia.

Records of Hughson's work on certain projects and research programs, 1935-1945, are contained in Series 2. The series includes Hughson's speech sound analysis research at Abington Memorial Hospital; correspondence with the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, its Committee on the Conservation of Hearing, and Pennsylvania Subcommittee concerning the rehabilitation of soldiers deafened in war; correspondence, particularly with Howard A. Carter, reports, and research data from Hughson's evaluations of hearing aids for the American Medical Association's Council on Physical Therapy; correspondence and a manual concerning the prevention of deafness in children from the Committee on Deafness Prevention and Amelioration of the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania; and a hearing survey performed at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. Due to Hughson's sudden demise in 1944, the information on many of these projects, although extensive, is incomplete.

An assortment of Walter Hughson's manuscripts, 1922-1944, generally on otological subjects, such as audiometry and ear examination, is preserved in Series 3; some related correspondence is included. The series also contains bibliographies, a book review, and Hughson's discussions of papers by Edmund Prince Fowler and K. M. Day.

Series 4 contains notes, outlines, lists of slides, and abstracts of individual lectures delivered by Hughson on otological subjects, 1936-1944; several of these lectures were given to the Section on Otolaryngology of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The series also containsjoutlines and general information on lecture courses on audiometry, hearing aids, and the teaching of deaf children, 1936-1944, given by Hughson at Abington Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University, the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, and the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Medicine.


  • 1921 - 1945


Biographical / Historical

Walter Hughson, otologist and surgeon, was born in East Orange, New Jersey, in 1891. He was the son of Walter Hughson and Mary Herbert (Marcus) Hughson. He married Mildred Curtis in 1917; the Hughsons had four children. Walter Hughson died from pneumococcic meningitis on 13 September 1944 in Abington, Pennsylvania.

Hughson received his B.S. from Princeton University in 1914. He received his M.D. from the Medical School of Johns Hopkins University in 1918. Hughson served internships at the Hospital of Johns Hopkins University and the Union Protestant Infirmary, then, at Johns Hopkins, was Assistant and Instructor in Anatomy, Associate in Applied Anatomy and Surgery, Associate Professor of Surgery and Associate Surgeon, Associate in Clinical Surgery, Associate in Research Otology, and, finally, Associate Professor of Otology.

In 1935, Hughson came to Philadelphia as Director of the Otological Research Laboratory at Abington Memorial Hospital. He was also instructor in otology at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine and associate in otology at the Graduate School of Medicine. Hughson served as a consultant to the Bureau of Child Hygiene, the U.S. Public Health Service, the U.S. Navy Aural Rehabilitation Program, and the Department of Psychology at Princeton University. He was also associated with the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. He was instrumental in establishing a center for aural rehabilitation at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Philadelphia. Hughson was known for his development of the round window graft operation for deafness.

Walter Hughson was a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, American Laryngological, Rhinological, and Otological Society, American Medical Association, American Otological Society, the Baltimore City Medical Society, the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, and the Southern Surgical Association. He was elected to fellowship in the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1937.


1.5 Cubic Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Notes on several of the collection's original folders indicated that M.C.H. [Mildred Curtis Hughson?] reviewed the material in July 1946; the papers were later sent to the Historical Library of the Yale University School of Medicine. In 1971, Mrs. Walter Hughson approached the College of Physicians concerning the donation of her husband's papers, as Yale wished to dispose of the collection. The papers were received by the College of Physicians circa 8 June 1971; at that time, Walter Hughson's patient records were removed from the collection and assumed by his former associate, Dr. Joseph Sataloff of Philadelphia.

The collection was isolated on the 7th floor of the Library Cage in 1988 and processed and catalogued in 1990.
Walter Hughson papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Repository

19 S. 22nd Street
Philadelphia PA 19103 United States