Manuscript Collection MS COLL 00334 - Elizabeth Hughes Papers

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Elizabeth Hughes Papers


  • 1907-1951 (bulk 1921-1923). (Creation)

Level of description

Manuscript Collection

Extent and medium

3 boxes

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Elizabeth Hughes was born in 1907. Her father, Charles E. Hughes, was U.S. Secretary of State (1921-1925) and later Chief Justice of the United States (1930-1941). She contacted severe diabetes in 1919 at age 11, and by the winter of 1921/22, her health was deteriorating seriously. In 1922, her mother contacted F.G. Banting in Toronto and managed to have Elizabeth accepted as one of his private patients. When she came to Toronto in August of that year, she began receiving insulin from Dr. Banting immediately. She stayed in Toronto until November 1922, making excellent progress and becoming Banting's star pupil. Elizabeth's health continued to improve with continued insulin treatment. She returned to school in 1923 and graduated from Barnard College in 1929. She married William Gossett, who became a vice-president and general counsel of the Ford Motor Company as well president of the American Bar Association, and went on to be active in civil affairs in the Detroit area. She died April 21, 1981, of pneumonia at the age of seventy-three.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gift of William T. Gossett, 1996

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection largely consists of letters written by Hughes to her mother describing her activities and giving information about her health and diabetic condition. The letters dating from August to November 1922 describe Hughes' experiences in Toronto where she was treated with insulin by F.G. Banting. The collection also contains photographs of Hughes and her family, dating from 1907 to 1951.

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Material may be requested in person at the Fisher Library Reference Desk, or in advance using our online stack retrieval request form:

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  • English

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View the Discovery and Early Development of Insulin digital collection at

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Institution identifier

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

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