Edward W. Dempsey Papers


Reference code


Level of description



Edward W. Dempsey Papers


  • 1958-1975 (Creation)


0.2 cubic feet (1 box)

Name of creator


Biographical history

Dr. Edward Wheeler Dempsey was Dean of the Washington University School of Medicine from 1958-1964. Dr. Dempsey served during a turbulent time when the medical school administration was involved in a dispute with the strong-willed president of the Board of Trustees of Barnes Hospital, Edgar Monsanto Queeny. At the time, it was feared by some observers that a schism would result between the two institutions that would threaten the continued growth of the medical school.

Dr. Dempsey was a graduate of Marietta College (Marietta, Ohio) and received master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in biology from Brown University. He was a member of the faculty of the Harvard Medical School from 1938 until coming to Washington University as Professor and Head of the Department of Anatomy in 1950. He continued as Head of Anatomy after being named Dean, and retained that appointment until 1966.

In 1964, Dr. Dempsey resigned from the deanship to serve in President Lyndon B. Johnson's administration as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. Upon his return from Washington in 1966, he was appointed to the Chair of Anatomy at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He later served as a visiting professor at Stanford University. The many honors given to Dr. Dempsey and the offices he held in professional organizations are detailed in this collection.

Scope and content

This collection consists of material mostly from the year 1964, which was the year when the dispute between the medical school and Edgar M. Queeny, speaking for the Barnes Hospital Trustees, reached a point when there was practically no area of the joint operation on which the two institutions could agree.

Material regarding Carl V. Moore’s appointment as the first Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs is included, as well as correspondence from M. Kenton King, Dr. Dempsey’s successor as Dean. The text of Dr. Dempsey’s resignation as Dean, his curriculum vitae and his obituary from 1975 are also included in the papers.

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

The items in this collection were transferred to the Medical Library Archives by former WUSM Dean Kenton King. Accessions 1994-036 and 1994-047.

Immediate source of acquisition

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