Harriet Hardy Biography

Harriet Hardy

specialist in occupational medicine
Born: 9/23/1906
Birthplace: Arlington, Massachusetts

An advocate for the control of industrial hazards, Hardy was brought up in New Jersey and educated at Wellesley College and at Cornell Medical School. While working at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in the early 40s, she was encouraged to study the lung disease afflicting fluorescent lamp workers in Salem, Mass. Her research led to the condition being rapidly controlled. Invited by Dr. Alice Hamilton (1869–1970), a pioneer in industrial toxicology, to work on the 1949 edition of Hamilton's seminal work, Industrial Toxicology, Hardy eventually became its major author. Retaining her appointment at MGH, Hardy became head of the occupational medical service at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1949–70) and moved on to study other occupational hazards such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and mercury poisoning. Despite being afflicted with bouts of depression all her life she also served on the Atomic Energy Commission, the United Mine Workers, and a variety of safety boards. She received many honors and awards, including Medical Woman of the Year of the American Medical Women's Association, the Award of Merit of the American Academy of Occupational Medicine, and the Alice Hamilton Award of the New York Academy of Science.

Died: 10/13/1993