Skip to main content

Lawrence A. Kohn, M.D.


Lawrence A. Kohn, M.D. (1894-1977) was a member of the Department of Medicine of the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry from its opening in 1926. The Kohn papers consist largely of correspondence, reprints, and materials gathered by Edward C. Atwater, M.D. for his 1984 biographical pamphlet "Kohn here." The general correspondence, clippings and other miscellaneous materials came to the Miner Library after Dr. Kohn's death. The reprints, Dr. Kohn's iodine correspondence, the "Kohn here" materials, and his correspondence with Morris Missal and David Haller were presented to the Miner Library by Dr. Atwater in 1988. Processing of the Kohn papers was completed on January 25, 1989. The collection is contained in three document boxes occupying 1.5 linear feet.

Biographical DataLawrence A. Kohn, M.D.

Lawrence Albert Kohn was born in New York City on June 19, 1894 to Albert Kohn, a New York jeweler, and Sophie Kupfer Kohn, of Cincinnati, Ohio. His mother was a medical graduate of the New York Infirmary Medical College for Women (June 1890), and practiced for a time in the city of New York.

LAK received his undergraduate degree from Williams College in 1914. He worked as an Assistant in Bacteriology for the Health Department of the City of New York from 1914 to 1917, and served as a second lieutenant with the Central Medical Department Laboratory of the American Expeditionary Force in 1918-19. LAK received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1923, and interned at Hopkins in 1923-24. The following year he was an Assistant Resident Physician at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, and in 1925 came to the newly formed University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry as the Department of Medicine's first chief resident. Remaining in Rochester, he was appointed Instructor in Medicine in 1926; Assistant Professor, 1929-41; Associate Professor, 1941-1958; and Clinical Professor, 1958-1962. LAK was made Clinical Professor of Medicine Emeritus in 1962.

In May 1956 LAK was presented the Award of Merit by the Rochester Academy of Medicine, and in October 1956 received the Gold Medal of the Rochester Medical Alumni Association. In 1965 he was awarded the Academy's Albert David Kaiser Medal.

In 1935(?), LAK married Sally Calkins Wood of Rochester, who authored mysteries under her maiden name. They had one son (Ted), who became a sculptor.

The Papers

The Kohn papers are one of the few faculty collections in the Archives originating from a clinician. The collection includes general correspondence (1913?-1977) and correspondence pertaining to his work on the relation between iodine and hyperthyroidism (1972-1977). It also includes an apparently complete set of reprints (much of which reflects his early interest in bacteriology); and materials collected by Edward C. Atwater for his biographical memoir on Dr. Kohn published in 1984. This latter group of materials consists of Dr. Atwater's correspondence with those associated with LAK, a large number of photographs, and Dr. Atwater's own notes, drafts, etc.

Of special interest is a typescript of Sophie Kupfer's journal of her medical journey to Paris from July through October, 1890 (Box 1, folder 1). Of particular interest to the history of the Medical and Nursing Center are LAK's reminiscences on its early years in "The medical service a half century ago" (Box 2, folder 12), and LAK's 1973 interview with E.C. Atwater (Box 2, folder 13).

Container List


  • Folder 1 - LAK's typescript of the Paris diary of his mother, Sophie Kupfer, M.D. (1890).
  • Folder 2 - Typescript copy ofletter from M. Putnam Jacobi to Sophie Kupfer.
  • Folder 3 - Notes on family history.
  • Folder 4 - Childhood poem.
  • Folder 5 - College essays, 1913.
  • Folder 6 - American Expeditionary Forces. Central Medical Department Laboratory. Reports, 1918-19.
  • Folder 7 - Autobiographical pieces.
  • Folder 8 - Stories and poems.
  • Folder 9 - Letters to the editor, non-medical articles, etc.
  • Folder 10 - Newspaper clippings, etc.
  • Folder 11 - Awards, certificates, etc.
  • Folder 12 - General correspondence, 1913?-1932.
  • Folder 13 - General correspondence, 1942-1959.
  • Folder 14 - General correspondence, 1961-1968.
  • Folder 15 - General correspondence, 1970-1977.
  • Folder 16 - Correspondence with David Haller, 1947-1968.
  • Folder 17 - Correspondence with Morris Missal, 1965-1977.
  • Folder 18 - Correspondence regarding Joseph Roby and antipneumococcus serum (1969).
  • Folder 19 - Iodine correspondence, Mar 1972-Mar 1973.
  • Folder 20 - Iodine correspondence, Apr 1973-Sep 1973.
  • Folder 21 - Iodine correspondence, Apr 1974-Apr 1975
  • Folder 22 - Iodine correspondence, May 1975-Jan 1977.


  • Folder 1 - "Charles Darwin's chronic ill health" (1963) -- correspondence.
  • Folder 2 - George Soper research.
  • Folder 3 - "A look at iodine induced hyperthyroidism: recognition" (1975) -- ms. & correspondence.
  • Folder 4 - Thyrotoxicosis in Tasmania.
  • Folder 5 - "Patient's dilemma" [unpublished] -- ms. & correspondence (1971-1972).
  • Folder 6 - Unpublished manuscripts.
  • Folder 7 - Reprints, 1916-1917.
  • Folder 15 -Atwater: "Kohn here" correspondence.
  • Folder 16 -Atwater: "Kohn here" ms. commentaries.
  • Folder 17 - Atwater: Notes, etc. for "Kohn here."
  • Folder 18 - Atwater: Journal Club notes.


  • Folder 1 - Atwater: "Kohn here" drafts.
  • Folder 2 - Atwater: "Kohn here" final typescript.
  • Folder 3 - Atwater: "Kohn here" mock-up.
  • Folder 4 - Atwater: "Kohn here" proof copy and final published versioo.
  • Folder 5 - Atwater: "Kohn here" post-publicatioo correspondence.
  • Folder 6 - Atwater: Kohn photographs.
  • Folder 7 - Atwater: Kohn photographs.