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Strong Medicine Captures Medical Response to Boston Marathon Bombing

Stories, photos, cards, gifts and oral histories document medical community’s experience during and after 2013 attacks.


March 25, 2014—Strong Medicine, a digital archive, captures the Boston medical community’s experiences of and responses to the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing.

(See a slideshow featuring items in the collection below.)

Launched by the Center for the History of Medicine at Countway Library, Strong Medicine is collecting stories, photographs and other media from the Boston medical community and making them available to inform health care professionals, students and the general public. Strong Medicine is partnering with Our Marathon at Northeastern University, which is collecting from Greater Boston and beyond.

The project’s current activities include:

  • Seeking and accepting submissions from individuals in the medical community to create the most complete and useful documentary record possible. Stories and materials can be submitted here as well as at collection events held by Strong Medicine at medical institutions.
  • Interviews with key Boston health care professionals on duty that day, funded by the Boston Medical Library. Interview topics include disaster planning and preparedness, the awareness and presence of news media and social media, technologies and training and lessons learned. A summary of the first oral history, with Dr. Alasdair Conn, head of emergency services as Massachusetts General Hospital, can be found here.

Strong Medicine is managed by Joan Ilacqua, project coordinator, who can be contacted with any questions. 


Paper Crane Message

Messages of support written on paper cranes were sent to Brigham and Women's Hospital after the Boston Marathon bombing.

Love Hope Peace Comfort

This finger painting was made by students at Educational Playcare in Farmington, CT for those injured by the Boston Marathon bombing cared for at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Letter from a Young Amputee

A 10-year-old cancer survivor and amputee sent this letter to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing at Brigham and Women's Hospital. He wrote, "I remember how hard it was for me after I woke up after my leg surgery...(S)hortly after my dad said something to me that I'll never forget, "You can't direct the wind, but you can always adjust your sails." Since then, I have been trying hard to adjust my sails in this new breeze."

Jade Room

This hand-written card was sent by fourth, fifth and sixth grade students in the Jade Room at the Cambridge Montessori School to medical professionals caring for those injured in the Boston Marathon bombing. 

Handmade Blanket

This hand-crocheted blanket was made by a member of Blankies for Boston and sent to Brigham and Women's Hospital after the Boston Marathon bombing.

Get Whale Soon

This hand-made card was sent by Haley to those injured by the Boston Marathon bombing.