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Institute for Innovative Education

papers of george hoyt whipple


photo of George Hoyt WhippleGeorge Hoyt Whipple (1878-1976) was the founding dean of the University of Rochester School of Medicine (1921-1953) and chairman of the Dept. of Pathology. A scientist of international standing, Whipple shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine & Physiology in 1934 for his work on the treatment of anemia.

The bulk of the material in the Papers of George Hoyt Whipple span the period 1915-1976. They are almost wholely devoted to Whipple's role as a scientist and as an educator, that is, with the work of his laboratory at the University of Rochester, and with his organizational activities outside the Medical Center. There is very little "internal" material in this collection. Documentation of his role as dean remain in the possession of the Dean's office. Nevertheless this collection in the Rare Books & Manuscripts section of the Edward G. Miner Library remains an invaluable source of information on the work and the times of one of the major figures in 20th-century American pathology. Included among the papers are extensive series of both professional and personal correspondence (1921-1976); laboratory work data (1915-1950); reprints; and memorabilia.

The collection was brought together from several sources: personal correspondence formerly housed in the Whipple Museum; scientific correspondence and work data discovered in the summer of 1989 in two filing cabinets forgotten in a room adjacent to Dr. Whipple's old office; miscellaneous materials long in possession of the Miner Library; and several boxes of additional files transferred from the Dean's office in 1989. Processing of the collection was completed in July 1989.

In November 1993, Roger Terry, M.D. presented his files of correspondence with/or regarding Dr. Whipple to the Rare Books and Manuscripts department. These materials were processed and added to the collection (Boxes 82-83). Among the more interesting materials in this gift are Dr. Terry's 1958-1963 correspondence with George Washington Corner during the latter's authorship of George Hoyt Whipple and His Friends (1963).

The Papers of George Hoyt Whipple are contained in eighty-three document boxes, and occupy ninety-nine linear feet in the Archives.

Biographical Data & Sources

George Hoyt Whipple was born in Ashland, New Hampshire 28 August 1878 to Ashley Cooper Whipple and Frances Anna Hoyt Whipple. He received his A.B. from Yale University in 1900, and his M.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1905. Following graduation he remained in the pathology department at Hopkins, until he went to Panama as pathologist to the Ancon Hospital in 1907-08. Whipple returned to Hopkins as an Associate in Pathology in 1909. He remained in Baltimore until 1914, when he became Director of the Hooper Foundation for Medical Research at the University of Calfornia, and Dean of the University of California Medical School (1920- 1921). In 1921, at the urging of Abraham Flexner and University of Rochester President Rush Rhees, Whipple agreed to become Dean of the newly funded and yet to be built medical school in Rochester, New York.

A full account of his work and achievements is contained in George Washington Corner's authoritative 1963 biography George Hoyt Whipple and His Friends. It may be supplemented by Dr. Whipple's own "Autobiographical Sketch," published in Perspectives in Biology & Medicine, 1959, 2:253-289, and by Leon Miller's "George Hoyt Whipple (1878-1976)," published in the Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, 1995, 66:371-393.

The Papers

Scientific & External Correspondence (Boxes 1-28)

  • Among the materials included in this series are Whipple's correspondence with colleagues and commercial laboratories on his scientific work. Of particular interest among these materials is his correspondence with the Eli Lilly Co. between 1928 and 1956 (boxes 6-7) regarding liver extracts. Also among these materials is a considerable body of correspondence describing the response of the medical community to the anti-vivisection movement between 1921 & 1952 (boxes 2-4); materials on Whipples involvement with the National Academy of Sciences (boxes 13-14); a large collection of documents and correspondence from the New York State Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University, 1946-1948 (boxes 15-17), which resulted in the formation of the SUNY system; three boxes of Nobel prize correspondence (boxes 18- 20); and minutes, correspondence, etc. from Whipple's long association with the Rockefeller Foundation (1927-1970) and Rockfeller Institute (1935-1974).

Laboratory Data (Boxes 29-47)

  • The bulk of this series is comprised of the record of Whipple's dog experiments (1916-1950), beginning with his work at the Hooper Foundation in San Francisco, and including the data that led to his conclusions on the treatment of anemia.

Bound Reprints (17 volumes)

  • An apparently complete set of reprints from Whipple's laboratory at the Hooper Foundation, and from the Dept. of Pathology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry.

University of Rochester files (Boxes 48-53)

  • These six boxes are the only files in the collection pertaining to the University of Rochester Medical Center per se. Of particular interest in this small series are Whipple's correspondence with Rush Rhees (1920-1936) and with George Eastman (1920-1931). There is also a set of minutes of the Executive Hospital Committee for Strong Memorial Hospital (1935-42, 1953-55) which nicely complements the set in the archives among the Papers of John Romano (1946-70).

Personal Correspondence (Boxes 54-72)

  • Whipple's personal correspondence is largely devoted to friendly exchanges among colleagues and friends. Often, however, topics are discussed which pertain to professional matters. This correspondence is therefore well worth looking into for more casual asides on the correspondents' views on scientific and academic matters. On the other hand, Whipple's extensive correspondence (1925-1969) with Johns Hopkins pediatrician Edwards A. Park is almost wholely devoted to their shared passion for fishing the Margaree River in Nova Scotia.
  • The personal correspondence series is divided into two sub- series: correspondence arranged chronologically, 1921-1976 (boxes 54-65); and correspondence arranged alphabetically by correspondent (boxes 66-72).

Memorabilia (Boxes 73-81)

  • Includes award certificates, medals, scrapbooks, photo albums, and other memorabilia.

Terry Correspondence with Corner and Whipple (Boxes 82-83)

Container List (pdf format)

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