By J. Adebukola Awosogba
From 19th century farmland to the to site of the nation’s first full face transplant, the Longwood Area embodies 180 years of Bostonian history.
Named after the home of Nepolean Bonaparte, Longwood circa 1877 was a place where New England aristocrats enjoyed the occasional tennis or cricket match. However, the twentieth century ushered in a new era of art and education. By 1920, Longwood was home to the Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Simmons, Emmanuel and Wheelock Colleges, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and the Harvard Schools of Medicine and Public Health. These institutions were among those to educate women and minority students.
It was not long before Longwood became synonymous with groundbreaking medical innovation. In 1938, pediatric surgery pioneer, Dr. Robert Gross, became the first surgeon to successfully correct a congenital heart defect. This procedure became the first in a long line of medical breakthroughs.
Researchers at the Free Hospital for Women fertilized the first human ovum in vitro in 1944. Three years later, Dr. Sidney Farber, founder of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, achieved the world’s first remission of acute leukemia. Most famously, surgeons at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now a part of Brigham and Woman’s Hospital) completed the world’s first successful organ transplant in 1954, and New England’s first full heart transplant in 1984. Brigham and Women’s Hospital went on to host several organ transplant firsts in the decades to follow, including a quadruple transplant and the nation’s first full face transplant.
For a full account of Longwood’s history, click here.