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Founded in 1980

he first state-level medical history society to have a website.  Our goal is to promote interest, research, and writing in medical history, and we are dedicated to the discussion and enjoyment of the history of medicine and allied fields.


Biography of Morris H. Saffron, MD

Dr. Morris H. Saffron (1905-1993), a practicing dermatologist and noted medical historian, was one of the principal founders of the Medical History Society of New Jersey. Renowned as an academician, educator, and author, Dr. Saffron is regarded as one of New Jersey’s leading medical historians. In his honor, the Society established an annual lectureship, delivered since 1980, typically in the Spring of every year.

Dr. Saffron, a native of Passaic, NJ, practiced in both New York and New Jersey. He graduated from Columbia University in 1925 and received his MD from the University of Maryland. He served in World War II as a flight surgeon, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel. Later, he served as chief medical officer of the New York Aviation Cadet Examining Board. In the 1960s, Dr. Saffron returned to Columbia to earn an MA in history and a PhD, at the age of 63, in 1968.

Dr. Saffron taught at Seton Hall College of Medicine, Kean College, Rutgers Medical School and the New Jersey College of Medicine. He was an active participant in several professional organizations, including serving as president of the New Jersey Dermatological Society and President of the Academy of Medicine of New Jersey. He served as a trustee of the New Jersey Historical Society.

Dr. Saffron became an authority on colonial American medicine and authored several books, including Surgeon to Washington (Columbia University Press, 1977). He published many articles on medical history topics. In 1958, Dr. Saffron was hired as professor by the new Seton Hall College of Medicine to deliver the first formal series of lectures on medical history offered in the state. He subsequently taught medical history at Kean College (now Kean University) and the former medical schools, Rutgers Medical School and New Jersey College of Medicine (now Rutgers New Jersey Medical School).

Dr. Saffron was chair of the Library Committee of the Academy of Medicine of New Jersey and was instrumental in influencing the Academy to donate its closing library to the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School).

The collection includes rare books and serves as the basis for the University Libraries’ Special Collections. In his honor, the collection has been named the Morris H. Saffron Collection of Books on Historical Medicine. Dr. Saffron further supported the University by establishing endowments for the acquisition of rare and antiquarian library materials and for the study of history of medicine by University students.

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