Michael M. Karl Oral History (OH106)


Reference code


Level of description



Michael M. Karl Oral History (OH106)


  • July 24, 1990 (Creation)


0.05 Linear Feet

Name of creator


Biographical history

Michael M. Karl was born in 1915 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received his MD from the University of Louisville in 1938, and the following year, he married Irene E. Karl, Ph.D., one of the first female biochemists in the United States.

Karl joined the faculty of Washington University's department of medicine in 1941, where he was widely viewed as an outstanding teacher. Karl was one of few general internists to become a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He was a master of the American College of Physicians (ACP), governor of the ACP for the State of Missouri and received the ACP Laureate Award in 1988. President Jimmy Carter appointed Karl to the national advisory committee of the White House Conference on the Family from 1978-1980, where he was among the first to call for family leave protections for working parents.

Active in national health policy and medical education, Karl worked for the establishment of national health insurance for all people regardless of their capacity to pay. In St. Louis, he was the co-organizer of one of the first health services for the poor, the Jeff-Vander-Lou Medical Clinic.

The Karls were the first married couple at Washington University to be honored with a named professorship, which was set up in 1983 by gifts from friends and patients. The Michael and Irene Karl Lectureship, part of the Masters in Medicine series, also honors them.

Scope and content

An interview of the Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project, conducted by Edwin W. McCleskey and associates, 1990. Approximate Length: 11 minutes.

See (PC054) Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project Records: Michael M. Karl Oral History for the contents of the oral history collection.

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

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

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Archivist's note

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

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