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Harry G. Becker collection

 Collection — Folder: S0089
Identifier: S0089

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of a 30 page typed, hand-corrected photocopy of a speech presented to the Civil War Round Table, 29 pages of speech and a 1 page listing of names of sources, including Dr. George Worthington [Whittington] Adams, H.H. Cunningham, Otto Eisenshiml [Isenshimel], and Bruce Catton, some of whom he quotes extensively.

The author begins with a brief definition of medicine. He mentions that the soldiers were faced with two medical problems; war wounds and diseases in camp. Dr. Adams said that wounds accounted for only one third of the federal troop deaths, unlike the Mexican War, when disease killed ten men for every man killed by the enemy. Dr. William A. Hammond, Surgeon General for a time, instituted many reforms, including a hospital with an extremely low mortality rate but was dismissed and went into private practice, proving the medical value of his progressive ideas. Based on the poor record and low expenditures for medical supplies and services, public demand created the United States Sanitary Commission, a boon for federal soldiers. Dr. Becker speaks extensively about the types and consequences of various wounds and medicines, briefly of medical war practices in other countries, and the difference in medical practices and availability of surgeons, medicines and medical supplies between the South and the North. The politics of medicine (what was done medically, who did it and the money to pay for it all) was dictated to a large extent by the President and Congress. Hospitals and medical laboratories are mentioned.


  • 1968/02/12


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Harry G. Becker was born Oct. 22, 1905, in Kampsville, IL, his parents being Henry and Lillian (Ansell) Becker. He was graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1933, served his internship at the Lutheran Deaconess Hospital in Chicago and his residency in surgery at the Indiana University Medical Center from 1946-1950. He served on the staffs of Methodist, Winona, St. Vincent, Community and Wishard Memorials Hospitals. He was also an industrial physician for the Allison Transmission. He served in World War II starting Sep. 30, 1946 and later joined the Army Reserves, becoming the commander of the Army Reserve 337th General Hospital at Fort Benjamin Harrison in 1952, retiring in 1965 as a colonel. He received the Reserve Officers’ Association’s (ROA) Distinguished Service Citation and was responsible for the creation of the ROA’s Uniformed Services University of the Health Services, Washington, D.C. Dr. Becker was associate professor in surgery four years for Indiana University School of Medicine and was named Clinical Associate Professor Emeritus in 1975. He received the Sagamore of the Wabash from Governor Otis R. Bowen in 1980 and was named a Kentucky Colonel. He died Jan. 19, 1996 in Indianapolis and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Dr. Becker’s wife, Thora, predeceased him, and he was survived by his daughter Nancy Sargent, 3 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren.


“Becker, Dr. Harry G.” (1996, Jan. 20), Indianapolis Star, p. C9.

“Becker, Harry G.” Social Security Death Index. Mar. 22, 2013.

“Becker, Harry G.” U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006. Mar. 22, 2013.

“Becker, Harry G.” Family Tree of Amy Carroll. Mar. 22, 2013.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Harry G. Becker on 1968/02/13.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing and finding aid completed by Edythe Huffman during March 2013. EAD finding aid completed by Bethany Fiechter on 2018/05/10.
Harry G. Becker collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.