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Anatomy and Neurobiology Department RecordsAdd to your cart. | Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives

Title: Anatomy and Neurobiology Department RecordsAdd to your cart.
ID: RG/RG003
Extent: 27.5 Linear Feet
expand icon Biographical/Historical Note

The study of anatomy at Washington University began in 1891 when the Saint Louis Medical College agreed to provide the medical faculty for the University. In 1899 the Missouri Medical College and the Saint Louis Medical College merged into the Washington University Medical Department. In the merger a young assistant professor of anatomy, Robert J. Terry, joined the University's faculty. The following year, Terry became the first Chair of the Department of Anatomy, a position he maintained until his retirement in 1941. Dr. Terry was the only department head to keep his position following the reorganization of the school’s medical department in 1910. The Anatomy Department moved from the Locust Street Building in downtown St. Louis into the North Building on Washington University’s medical campus in 1914.

When Dr. Terry retired, E. V. Cowdry became the Chairman of the Department of Anatomy in 1942. He served in this position until 1950 when he left to direct the Wernse Laboratory of Cancer Research, and Edward Dempsey took over as head of the department. In addition to his duties as head of the Anatomy Department, Dr. Dempsey served as Dean of the School of Medicine from 1958-1964. Dr. Dempsey left Washington University for a position at Columbia in 1966. Sarah Luce served for a short time as the Acting Head of the Department when Dr. Dempsey left, followed by Sam Clark who served for a year as Acting Head. In 1968, W. Maxwell Cowan became the Chairman of the Department of Anatomy. Under Dr. Cowan, the department changed its name to the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology in 1975.

When Dr. Cowan left the department in 1979, Roy Peterson served as Acting Head the following year. Gerald Fischbach became Chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, and served from 1981-1990. Nigel Daw served as Acting Head for two years until David Van Essen became Chairman of the Department in 1992. Dr. Van Essen served as the Department Head until 2012.

In 2016, the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology again changed its name under the leadership of Azad Bonni, who has served in the role of Chairman since 2012. The department is now known as The Department of Neuroscience.

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 guidelines of the Use of Archival Collections policy 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 (

Preferred Citation: [Item description, Box number, Folder number], Anatomy and Neurobiology Department Records, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University School of Medicine.
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