Harriet L. Hardy '28

Alumnae Achievement Awards 1979

Harriet L. Hardy '28
Industrial Medicine Consultant

Harriet L. Hardy, a specialist in occupational medicine, graduated from Wellesley College in 1928. She had decided to become a doctor early in her education and was admitted to Cornell Medical School. She was one of six women in the class of 1932.

Dr. Hardy completed her residency at Philadelphia General Hospital, one of the few hospitals at the time that allowed women to serve as interns or residents. After a two-year rotating medical residency, Dr. Hardy worked at Northfield Academy as a school physician and as a teacher of health education classes. In 1939, she worked as a college physician at Radcliffe, and she took on a part-time appointment at Massachusetts General Hospital’s outpatient clinic. At MGH, Dr. Hardy developed her interest in occupational diseases, and in 1945, she started a job at the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Hygiene. This position allowed her to focus on workers’ health, and in her investigation of a lung disorder, she established the U.S. Beryllium Case Registry in 1952. This registry was one of the first to collect long-term data on a chronic disorder other than cancer.

Dr. Hardy studied a number of occupational disorders, such as coal workers’ lung disease, radiation injury, and mercury poisoning, and her papers and articles were widely used in Industrial Toxicology. In 1949, she opened a weekly occupational medicine clinic at MGH and became the head of the occupational medical service at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was often called on to advise committees, such as the United Mine Workers and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, on the control of industrial hazards.

Dr. Hardy received many honors due to the influence she had in her field. Some of her awards include the 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 Chadwick Medal of the Massachusetts Thoracic Society.

Dr. Harriet L. Hardy worked hard to improve the health of workers and to advocate the importance of workplace safety. She died at the age of 88 in 1993.


For more information about the Alumnae Achievement Awards, please contact us by email at specialprograms@alum.wellesley.edu or call the Alumnae Association at 781-283-2331.