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papers of harry l. segal

Biographical Information

photo of Harry SegalHarry L. Segal (1900-1990) was born in Philadalphia 13 June 1900. At age three, his family moved to Rome, New York. After graduating from the Rome Free Academy in 1917, Segal obtained work as a timekeeper in a local factory. With the entry of the United States into war in 1918, Segal took advantage of the financial inducements of the newly formed Student Army Training Company to attend nearby Syracuse University, which he entered in September 1918. He received his undergraduate degree from Syracuse in 1922, and his medical degree from the same university in 1924. From 1924 to 1926 Dr. Segal was an intern at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, where in 1926/27 he was chief resident (medicine). After a year as a Fellow in Research Medicine at the Nelson Morris Institute in Chicago, Dr. Segal spent September 1928-May 1929 in the clinics of the University of Vienna.

In 1929 Dr. Segal was appointed Assistant in Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry. He remained with the University of Rochester his entire career, where, in 1970, he was made Professor of Medicine, Emeritus. In 1930 Dr. Segal had joined the staff of the Genesee Hospital. He served as its Physician-in-Chief from 1956 to 1967, and Coordinator of Medical Education from 1970 to 1973.

In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Segal did extensive research in the field of gastroenterology (he was the author of 78 scientific articles and three book chapters on the topic). Dr. Segal's investigations at the University of Rochester resulted in the first successful application of color photography through the semi-flexible gastroscope, the introduction of tubeless gastric analysis, and the separation by column chromotography of varying numbers of human pepsinogens.

Dr. Segal was also intensely interested in medical education in developing countries. He was deeply involved in the exchange program between the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry and the Medical College of the University of Lagos, Nigeria. Following the establishment of the Commonwealth Fund sponsored program in 1962, Dr. Segal made eight three-to-four month sojourns in Lagos as a visiting professor.

Dr. Segal was married to the abstract painter Evelyn Buff Segal. They had no children. He died in Rochester in 1990.

The Papers

The bulk of the papers in the Harry L. Segal collection span the period 1941-1987. They were presented to the Rare Books & Manuscripts section of the Edward G. Miner Library in the autumn of 1991 by Dr. Segal's widow, Evelyn Buff Segal. Processing of the collection was completed on 13 July 1992. The Segal papers are contained in twenty-eight boxes and occupy eighteen linear feet.

The Papers of Harry L. Segal, M.D. are arranged as follows:

  • General files (Boxes 1-4)
  • Correspondence, 1941-1987 (Boxes 5-6)
  • Research notes (Boxes 7-8)
  • Reprints and lecture manuscripts (Boxes 9-10)
  • Rochester/Lagos Exchange Program (Boxes 11-15)
  • Segal Medical Research Fund (Boxes 16-19)
  • Evelyn Buff Segal material (Box 20)
  • Photographs and memorabilia (Boxes 21-26)
  • Patient records (Boxes 27-28)

Considering the extent of his research activity, the files pertaining to Dr. Segal's research (boxes 7-8) are rather scant, i.e., not representative of his laboratory work. A good idea of the work in which Dr. Segal and his colleagues were engaged may be derived from the files of the Segal Medical Research Fund, which was established in 1946 under the directorship of HLS.

The largest and in many respects the most interesting series in the collection is the material pertaining to the Rochester/Lagos Exchange Program -- a project of great personal importance to Dr. Segal. Among the Nigeria files are nine folders of correspondence by-or-to Evelyn Buff Segal, which paint a sensitive portrait of the life of foreign visitors in the Nigerian capital.

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