Leonard Berg Papers


Reference code


Level of description



Leonard Berg Papers


  • 1946-1948 (Creation)


0.8 cubic feet (2 boxes)

Name of creator


Biographical history

As a leading figure in the study of Alzheimer's disease, Leonard Berg's contributions to the field of neurology are immense. Berg's intellectual acumen was evident early in his life. Born in St. Louis on July 17, 1927, he graduated from high school at the age of 15 and earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Washington University before he turned 22. He held internships and residencies at Barnes Hospital, the Neurological Institute in New York, and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, before joining the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine in 1955. Berg taught in the Neurology Department of Washington University while also maintaining a private practice with Irwin Levy, Professor of Clinical Neurology at Washington University.

Through the course of his research, Berg developed a test to differentiate early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease from normal aging. The Clinical Dementia Rating is now the international standard for diagnosing and assessing Alzheimer's disease. In 1979, Berg began the Memory and Aging Project, a long-term study of Alzheimer's patients that followed more than 3,000 volunteers over 30 years and showed researchers that Alzheimer's disease affects the brain decades before symptoms appear. With the help of two major grants from the National Institute on Aging, the Memory and Aging Project morphed into the Healthy Aging and Senile Dementia program and the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, both still operating at Washington University. Berg served as director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center until his retirement in 1998.

In addition to his groundbreaking research, Berg also, at various times, headed the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Missouri State Advisory Board on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders, and the National Alzheimer's Association's Medical and Scientific Advisory Council. He also served on a Congressional Advisory Panel on Alzheimer's Disease. Berg died on January 15, 2007, following a stroke.

Scope and content

This small collection comprises a number of Dr. Berg’s notebooks.  They include his typed and handwritten notes on topics such as anatomy, bacteriology, chemistry, and pharmacology.  Of particular note is the “Guide to the Study of Neurology” (Box 2, Folder 4) which was produced by the WUSM Department of Anatomy, but includes notes and drawings added by Berg.

System of arrangement

Conditions governing access

The collection is open and accessible for research.

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

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 (arb@wusm.wustl.edu).

Preferred Citation:

Item description, Reference Code, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Gift; Leonard Berg; 1975.

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Alternative identifier(s)

Rules or conventions

"Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition (DACS), 2013."

Sources used

Archivist's note

© Copyright 2019 Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives. All rights reserved.

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