9 Replies Latest reply on Jun 21, 2021 3:37 PM by Arthur Lawrence

    Seeking records about the US Marine Hospital Service

    Arthur Lawrence Wayfarer

      I am interested in locating local or community organizations that have archives, photos, information, etc., about US Marine Hospitals (clinics, etc. included) or activity of the US Marine Hospital Service.  As an additional sub-set, I am interested in records, photos, information, etc., from communities where the Marine Hospitals and Public Health Service established hospitals when they operated the predecessor facilities to today's VA Health System under the War Risk Insurance program.  Any tips or helps would be appreciated.

        • Re: Seeking records about the US Marine Hospital Service
          Jason Atkinson Guide

          Dear Mr. Lawrence,

           

          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located 101 record series related to the Marine Hospital Service in various record groups. For more information about individual series, please email the reference units listed as the contacts in the individual Catalog descriptions.

           

          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from various NARA units. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.

           

          We also searched online and located information about the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital (Marine Hospital) Archives in the custody of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s Park Archives and Records Center.

           

          Additionally, we searched the website Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC) and located 5 authorities relating to the Marine Hospital Service. Clicking each authority will bring up a list of related collections and the names of the repositories where those collections are kept. Next, we searched WorldCat for archival materials related to the Marine Hospital Service and turned up 90 results.

           

          There may be additional collections not listed on SNAC or WorldCat. We suggest that you begin by identifying the specific hospitals you wish to research, and then directly contacting the relevant state libraries, state archives, state historical societies and history museums, public libraries, university libraries, and the local historical societies.

           

          The collections formerly held by the Office of the Public Health Service Historian have been transferred to the National Library of Medicine.

           

          Also, the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Libraries Social Welfare History Project has a brief article on the history of the Public Health Service and the Marine Hospital Service. They may have collections that are relevant to your research, or information about holdings in other repositories. VCU Libraries may be contacted at LibSWHP@vcu.edu.

           

          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

          2 people found this helpful
            • Re: Seeking records about the US Marine Hospital Service
              Arthur Lawrence Wayfarer

              Thank you, Mr. Atkinson.  I guess that I should have anticipated that records were scattered.  The MHS (nee PHS/MHS) has an amazing story.  While many researchers seem to circle around the current big agencies, such as the NIH, CDC, and FDA, the pre-1950's hold the most amazing of amazing "local" stories rarely told.  I guess that I am going to have to create a data base and send letters to multiple locations, but that is the nature of research, isn't it?  I appreciate your help.

              • Re: Seeking records about the US Marine Hospital Service
                David Green Wayfarer

                What a comprehensive answer to  Mr. Lawrence's question! I too am trying to find some records relating to a Marine Hospital, specifically the one that was in Port Townshend, Washington, and hopefully will find some records regarding a long-lost family member who died there Christmas Day, 1929. Long shot, but one never knows.

                  • Re: Seeking records about the US Marine Hospital Service
                    Arthur Lawrence Wayfarer

                    Dear Mr. Green - all of the Port Townsend records transferred to the "new" Seattle Marine Hospital when the Seattle site opened.  It is my understanding that whatever inactive patient records remained from Port were transferred were soon destroyed.  However, all Marine Hospitals were required to file death certificates with the respective state vital statistics authorities.  On a related matter, several hospitals utilized a combination of contractor cemeteries and cemeteries on the hospital grounds.  I looked at a couple of the Surgeon General Reports from 1920's and did not see interment commentaries about Port, so I am unsure whether an on compound cemetery existed.  In general, burials were handled via local contract mortuary services with interment in non-federal, local cemeteries.  When I can get at other materials about Port and SG Reports, I will see if there is anything different.  To be candid, I would not be surprised to find that an on-compound cemetery existed, but that like the other "modernized" Marine Hospitals, interments ceased in the late 1890's.   

                    • Re: Seeking records about the US Marine Hospital Service
                      Alice Lane Pioneer

                      Hello Arthur,

                      Welcome to History Hub

                       

                      This might help

                      List of U.S. Marine Hospitals - Wikipedia

                       

                      Alice Lane

                      Research Volunteer

                      • Re: Seeking records about the US Marine Hospital Service
                        Alice Lane Pioneer

                        Hi David,

                        Welcome to History Hub

                        Would you like to share the name of your lost family member? Perhaps a death certificate could be found.

                         

                        Alice Lane

                        Research Volunteer

                          • Re: Seeking records about the US Marine Hospital Service
                            David Green Wayfarer

                            Hello Alice

                             

                            Thanks very much for your response. I do have some details about him, his name was Andrew Graham, b. 11 Feb 1882 in Liverpool, England, d. Dec. 25, 1929 in Port Townsend, Washington. I did come across a death certificate for him, though I can't put my hands on it, or the link to it at the moment (I think it's on my work computer); he died from TB and tertiary syphillis (sailors!). My interest in the hospital records is just to see if there is any additional info held in the hospital records, such as an address, or next of kin as apparently he was married at some point, or a list of effects or anything like that. He was interred in Redmens Cemetary in Port Townsend https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/29765781/andrew-graham. A descendant of his sister came across that info and shared it with me, so I've since been able to find out a bit more about him. He was long lost and nothing was known so it's interesting to be able to piece together a history. I'm trying to find out when he became a naturalised American and hopefully find records of that.

                             

                            Kind regards,

                            David Green