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Jessie L. Ternberg PapersAdd to your cart. | Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives

Title: Jessie L. Ternberg PapersAdd to your cart.
ID: FC/FC116
Extent: 0.05 Linear Feet
expand icon Biographical/Historical Note

Jessie L. Ternberg, PhD, MD, received her undergraduate degree from Grinnell College in 1946 and her doctorate in biochemistry from University of Texas in 1950. During her time at Texas, she and Robert Eakin discovered the mechanism by which the vitamin B-12 is absorbed in the intestine. She received her medical degree from Washington University in 1953 and interned at Boston City Hospital after graduation. Ternberg returned to Washington University for her research fellowship and surgery residency at Barnes Hospital becoming the first female resident in surgery at Barnes Hospital and Washington University. She joined the faculty in 1959 as an instructor of surgery, eventually reaching full professorship in 1971 as professor of surgery and associate professory of surgery in pediatrics. She was the first female surgeon on the faculty of the Washington University School of Medicine. In 1972, Ternberg was appointed as the chief of the newly created Division of Pediatric Surgery. She was the first woman to be elected head of the faculty council. On her retirement in 1996 she was made professor emerita of surgery and surgery in pediatrics.

Throughout her career, Ternberg made significant contributions to medicine in her research. Her best-known study is the appliance of electron spin resonance spectrometry to the investigation of free radicals. She also published A Handbook of Pediatric Surgery in 1980, which became a standard reference book for doctors due to its emphasis that children must be treated different from adults since diseases take different form in adolescents. Ternberg received wide recognition, including awards such as the Washington University Alumni Award, the International Women's Year Award for Health Care, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat Woman of Achievement Award and membership in Alpha Omega Alpha. Washington University School of Medicine established the Jessie L. Ternberg Award in 1998, which is given annually to a female medical school graduate who best exemplifies Ternberg's "indomitable spirit of determination, perseverance and dedication to her patients."

expand icon Access and Use Restrictions
Restrictions: The collection is open and accessible for research.

Users of the collection should read and abide by the Rights and Permissions guidelines at the Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives.

Users of the collection who wish to cite items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication must request, sign, and return a Statement of Use form to the Archives.

For detailed information regarding use of this collection, contact the Archives and Rare Book Department of the Becker Library (

Related Materials: See small collections (SC).
Preferred Citation: [Item description, Box number, Folder number], Jessie L. Ternberg Papers, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University School of Medicine.
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