Health & wellness


Tragedies to transplants, the history of Longwood

compiled by jeremiah manion/boston globe library


Ebenezer Francis buys a farm and mansion in Roxbury and, because of his wealth and prominence, the access to the southern edge of his property was named Francis Street. Although few could have envisioned it at the time, this purchase would represent the first crucial step in establishing the future site of Harvard Medical School and Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.


David Sears, prominent 19th-century Boston philanthropist, acquires his estate in Brookline and names it Longwood. Longwood was the home of Napoleon Bonaparte when the French emperor was exiled to the island of St. Helena, an English colony, after his defeat at Waterloo.

Globe File photo


Longwood Cricket Club is founded in 1877. The club grounds (above) were located in the Longwood district of Boston on land donated by the Sears family.



Great Britain, regarded as the world’s leading tennis power, sends three top British players to Boston in August 1900 to the Longwood Cricket Club to compete against an all-Harvard team captained by Dwight Davis. And the famous Davis Cup was born.

Tom Herde/Globe Staff


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The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum opens (above).


Simmons College constructs its main building next to Gardner’s Fenway Court to serve as the permanent site of the college


Harvard Medical School and its famed “great white quadrangle” opens on the Francis estate.


Deaconess Hospital moves to its current location.



The Museum of Fine Arts relocates to Huntington Avenue.


Winsor School moves to the Longwood area.


Harvard School of Public Health opens the nation’s first graduate training program in public health.

Peter Bent Brigham Hospital opens “for the care of sick persons in indigent circumstances” with a bequest from restaurateur and real estate baron Peter Bent Brigham.


Robert Breck Brigham Hospital, founded with a bequest from Peter Bent Brigham’s nephew, opens to serve patients with arthritis and other debilitating joint diseases.


Children’s Hospital moves to Longwood Avenue.

Wheelock College moves to the Riverway.


Beth Israel Hospital opens in Longwood.


Massachusetts College of Pharmacy moves across from Harvard Medical School on Longwood Avenue.


Emmanuel College is founded as New England’s first Roman Catholic women’s college.

Globe File


Boston Latin moves to its current location on Avenue Louis Pasteur (above).

Longwood Cricket Club moves to Chestnut Hill.

Boston Lying-In Hospital, founded in 1832, moves to 221 Longwood Ave. to allow clinical instruction for students at Harvard Medical School.


Longwood Towers opens as Alden Park Manor on the Brookline side of Longwood.


Dr. Robert Gross performs the world’s first successful surgical procedure to correct a congenital cardiovascular defect at Children’s Hospital, ushering in the era of modern pediatric cardiac surgery.


Researchers fertilize a human ovum in a test tube for the first time at the Free Hospital for Women.


Dr. Sidney Farber achieves the world’s first successful remission of acute leukemia. He goes on to cofound the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Longwood Pharmacy opens up after World War II at the corner of Brookline and Longwood avenues.


Einar Gustafson, a cancer patient at Children’s Hospital, is visited by members of the Boston Braves, and the national radio broadcast of their bedside meeting, at which Gustafson (above, with his family) is referred to as Jimmy, results in an outpouring of donations from across the country. The Jimmy Fund is born.


The first class of women graduates from Harvard Medical School.


Dr. Mildred Fay Jefferson is the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School.


In Operating Room 2 of the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Dr. Joseph E. Murray takes a healthy kidney of Ronald Herrick and sutures it into the donor’s dying identical twin, Richard (below). It is the world’s first successful organ transplant.



Dr. Bernard Lown becomes the first to use direct electric current to restore the rhythm of the heart. A DC electric current was used to restore normal rhythm to a heart at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.


The Boston Hospital for Women is established through a merger of the Boston Lying-In Hospital and the Free Hospital for Women.


The Boston Hospital for Women, the Peter Bent Brigham, and the Robert Breck Brigham Hospital merge to become the Affiliated Hospitals Center.


Sami Saba opens a 24-hour Lebanese food truck “Sami’s,” which stayed open continuously until Hurricane Gloria in 1985, which shut it down for 8 hours.


The Affiliated Hospitals Center is renamed The Brigham and Women’s Hospital and opens to a new, state-of-the-art facility on Francis street.


The first heart transplant in New England is performed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Howard Green and colleagues become the first to grow human skin in large quantities in the laboratory, enabling the skin replacement of patients with extensive burns.


Governor Michael Dukakis announces plans for a $117 million medical research and development facility to be built by Beth Israel at the site of the old Massachusetts College of Art in Boston at the corner of Brookline and Longwood avenues.


Brigham and Women’s Hospital opens the Center for Women and Newborns, a 12-story facility for obstetrical and newborn care, which eventually would be rededicated in 1999 as the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health.


Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers dramatically advance the understanding of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Science magazine heralds the discovery as its “Breakthrough of the Year.”

Beth Israel and Deaconess hospitals merge into one giant health care system.


In what is believed to be a “first” in organ transplantation, Brigham and Women’s performs a quadruple transplant. Harvesting four organs from a single donor — a kidney, two lungs, and a heart — hospital surgeons give new hope to four patients.


Brigham and Women’s achieves another transplant “first.” Hundreds of Brigham and Women’s staff — including doctors, nurses, and intensive care staff — participate in surgeries to make possible five lung transplants in 36 hours.


The first patients are welcomed to the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center, as the Watkins Cardiovascular Clinic, which now combines cardiovascular medicine, cardiac surgery, and vascular surgery in one location.

Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff


Brigham and Women’s performs the nation’s first full face transplant. More than 30 doctors, nurses, and other staff led by plastic surgeon Dr. Bohdan Pomahac perform the 15-hour operation on 25-year-old Dallas Wiens of Fort Worth.


Former mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston, whose 20-year tenure coincided with enormous development in the Longwood neighborhood, is treated for cancer and related side effects at Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women’s, before succumbing to his illness on Oct. 30. “I am hopeful and optimistic that one day the talented researchers, doctors, and medical professionals in this city will find a cure for this awful disease,” Menino said in his final days.

AP File