Benjamin Castleman

Benjamin Castleman


Born: 17 May 1906, Everett, Massachusetts

Died: June 1982, Boston, Massachusetts

Academic Degrees

  • BA: Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1927
  • MD: Yale University Medical School, New Haven, Connecticut 1931
  • MD (Honorary): University of Gothenburg, Sweden 1966

Academic Positions

  • 1935 - 1972 Instructor, Associate, Assistant Professor, Clinical Professor then Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School
  • 1970 Shattuck Professor of Pathological Anatomy, Harvard Medical School
  • 1935 - 1974 Assistant Pathologist, Pathologist, then Chief, Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • 1974 Lecturer in Pathology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1974 - 1976 Senior Consulting Pathologist, Massachusetts General Hospital; then Honorary Pathologist


  • Massachusetts General Hospital (under Dr. Tracy Mallory) and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

Selected Career Highlights

  • In his fourth year of residency, published the classic treatise: "The Pathology of the Parathyroid Gland in Hyperparathyroidism" with Dr. Mallory as his junior author; he continued to elucidate the clinicopathologic features of parathyroid disease until he wrote his final article 38 years later, an analysis of 70 cases of parathyroid carcinoma.

  • First edition of the AFIP Fascicle on Tumors of the Parathyroid Glands (1955) (second edition co-authored with Sanford I. Roth (1975).

  • Another major interest was pathology of the thymus: in 1949 he was the senior author of a lengthy article on pathology of the thymus in myasthenia gravis (Medicine), and in 1955 published his AFIP Fascicle on Thymic Tumors.

  • Published major works on pulmonary infarcts, sympathectomy in patients with hypertension and arteriolosclerosis, renal atheromatous embolism during operations of the abdominal aorta, and new diseases and lesions including pulmonary alveolar proteinosis, multiple pulmonary chemodectomas, and giant lymph node hyperplasia (Castleman's Disease).

  • As a Champion of the CPC, he became universally known for being Editor of the Case Records of the Massachusetts General Hospital, the Clinicopathologic conference reports appearing weekly in the New England Journal of Medicine (some 2000 Case Records over a period of 23 years), and in most of these covered the entire field of pathology presenting himself.

  • Over two-thirds of the 200 residents he trained obtained appointments in academic institutions, and fifteen or more have been Chairmen of university departments of Pathology.

  • Devoted 2 hours every day to conducting autopsy and surgical pathology conferences for his residents, students, and associates.

  • Only 2 weeks before his death, he attended a ceremony establishing the Benjamin Castleman Professorship of Pathology at Harvard Medical School (awarding it to his successor at Massachusetts General Hospital, Robert T. McCluskey).

  • On the occasion of his 75th birthday, an interviewer asked him to identify the highlight of his distinguished career. He immediately responded, "The creation of the Castleman Award (at the IAP/USCAP)" and then he elaborated. He said, "There are two reasons - first, it was created spontaneously by my boys - my former trainees and colleagues. But, more importantly, the Award honors a young pathologist who has made a significant contribution to our understanding of disease, and hopefully, to patient care."


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