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Caroline Bedell Thomas papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00162

Scope and Contents

The papers of Caroline Bedell Thomas include correspondence, published articles and newspaper clippings, and photographs. The bulk of the collection consists of family correspondence, including two volumes of privately published World War II letters between Bedell Thomas and her husband, as well as a series of letters between Bedell Thomas and Dorothy Dushkin.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1917 - 1985


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Caroline Cunningham Bedell was born in Ithaca, NY on 29 Nov 1904, the daughter of Mary Louise Crehore (Smith College 1892) and Frederick Bedell, a physics professor at Cornell University. She graduate summa cum laude from Smith College in 1925 and from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1930. She married Dr. Henry Thomas (1891-1966) in 1934 and together they had three children, Henry III (b. 1935), Eleanor (b. 1939), and Mary (b. 1940). Caroline Thomas was simultaneously building an impressive medical career devoted to cardiovascular research. She joined the teaching staff of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1935 and was on the clinic staff. At the same time, she served as physician at the Bryn Mawr School for Girls, 1935-38 and as a civilian consultant to the Army Surgeon General during World War II. She also maintained a private practice, 1938-70. Dr. Thomas was best known for her research. She proposed and demonstrated the prophylactic value of sulfanilamide for rheumatic heart disease and in 1946 began the longitudinal study of predictors of heart disease, cancer, and suicide known as the Precursors Study. She directed the Study until 1984. Throughout a long and distinguished career she won many fellowships and awards including an honorary Sc.D. from Smith College (1955), and had the distinction of being one of the first named to the Johns Hopkins Alumnae Association Hall of Fame (1993). She died 14 Dec 1997.


0.667 linear feet (2 containers)

Language of Materials



Caroline Bedell Thomas was a physician, researcher, and professor. Papers include family and professional correspondence, articles, newspaper clippings, and photographs. There are also two volumes of privately published World War II letters between Bedell Thomas and her husband, as well as a series of letters between Bedell Thomas and Dorothy Dushkin.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source unknown.

Related Material

Professional papers are at Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives, Johns Hopkins University.

Caroline Bedell Thomas is also featured in the National Library of Medicine's exhibit, Changing the Face of Medicine.

Finding aid to the Caroline Bedell Thomas papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:24-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2019-03-18: Added information from paper finding aid and updated.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063