May 9, 2008
Start the presses: MGH history book in the works

As part of the MGH's upcoming bicentennial celebrations in 2011, two books covering the hospital's history currently are being written. The first, which will serve as an authoritative history of the hospital from its founding to the current day, will examine many aspects of the MGH's evolution. The second book will tell the story of the MGH's people and voices through photographs and personal accounts.

bulfinch buildingWebster Bull, the founder of Memoirs Unlimited — the publishing company hired following a search process to research and write the books — is thrilled to take on the project. "I love history, and I love Boston," he says. "The story of the MGH is inextricably linked with that of Boston. In 1811, Boston was still a peninsula surrounded by water, and the MGH was the hospital for that little community. Now, it's a hospital for the world."

Much of the content of the book will be drawn from interviews with longtime MGH staff in addition to historical records, minutes of trustees meetings and archival material. "We're trying to capture the incredible sense of loyalty that attracts and keeps people at this place," says Bull. "Many of the hospital's leaders have watched the latest chapters of the institution's history unfold before their eyes."

Work on the books has been underway for several months, with a first draft scheduled to be completed this fall. Once compiled, the first book will be approximately 100,000 words in length. Says Bull, "I don't think even that will cover it."

A Bicentennial Book Advisory Committee, led by Paul Russell, MD, chairman of the MGH History Committee, and John Stoeckle, MD, of the John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation, is aiding Bull in navigating the nearly two hundred years worth of archival material. "This is a perfect time to take stock of our great hospital, and Webster Bull has already proven to be the talented and devoted person who can assume the important and interesting task of telling the full story of the MGH's accomplishments," says Russell. Adds Stoeckle, "This project, upon completion, will be a rich telling of our history."

For more information about the books or the bicentennial celebrations, contact Lynn Dale, director of Bicentennial Planning, Programming and Special Events, at (617) 726-0954 or, or e-mail

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