Helen Bulbrook Burch Papers


Reference code


Level of description



Helen Bulbrook Burch Papers


  • 1950-1986 (Creation)
  • 1950-1986 (Creation)


12.1 cubic feet (10 boxes)

Name of creator


Biographical history

Helen Bulbrook Burch was a professor emeritus of pharmacology at Washington University School of Medicine. She was born in Greenville, Texas in 1906. She received her undergraduate degree from Texas Women's University in 1926, and both her M.S. (1928) and Ph.D. (1935) in Chemistry from Iowa State University.

From 1929 to 1936, Burch served as assistant professor of Chemistry at Milwaukee-Downer College. She then moved to New York, where she spent seventeen years doing research and teaching at institutions such as Columbia University and the Public Health Research Institute. Next, Burch joined the faculty of the Washington University School of Medicine's Department of Pharmacology as a research associate in 1953. She was promoted to associate professor in 1957 and full professor in 1974. Burch retired as professor emeritus and lecturer in Pharmacology in 1975, though she remained active as a researcher until the day before her death in 1987.

During the course of her long career, Burch earned an international reputation for her unique studies of the metabolic differences among the various parts of the kidney and was the author of over 90 scientific papers in the field of nutrition and metabolism. In addition, Burch is well-known for her work with the Rice Enrichment Project in Bataan after WWII. In 1948, she conducted a nutritional survey on 202 persons, finding evidence of multiple dietary deficiencies in the levels of various nutrients in the blood or serum. In the survey results, Burch found a positive correlation between low blood thiamine and the diagnosis of beriberi, as well as wide-spread anemia due to chronic deficiencies of iron and B-vitamins. She returned to Bataan in 1950 under the auspices of the William-Waterman Fund and the Nutrition Foundation, Inc., resurveying the population to check on the nutritional improvement which the rice enrichment program and other efforts to elevate the state of nutrition of the population had effected. In the summers of 1952 and 1956, she served as a consultant for the World Health Organization at the Institute of Nutrition for Central America and Panama, traveling to Guatemala to further study malnutrition.

Scope and content

Reprints, abstracts, research notes covering Burch's work in the fields of nutrition and metabolism. Correspondence files are arranged chronologically.

System of arrangement

Organized in 9 series: 1. Personal files; 2. Correspondence; 3. Helen B. Burch abstracts and reprints; 4. Notes/Research files; 5. Notebooks; 6. Conferences and Symposia; 7. Department of Pharmacology reprints; 8. Pharmacology Department work files; 9. Oliver H. Lowry.

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

Transfer; Becker Library copy:Washington University School of Medicine Department of Pharmacology; 1990; (90-057).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Specialized notes

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.

Place access points

Accession area