Collection VC027 - Joseph Erlanger Photographs

Studio portrait of Joseph Erlanger as a young boy. Studio portrait of Joseph Erlanger as a young man. Joseph Erlanger as a young man. Studio portrait of Joseph Erlanger as a young man. Joseph Erlanger playing softball at Washington University School of Medicine. Group portrait of the Johns Hopkins Medical Class of 1899. Portrait of Joseph Erlanger writing at his desk. Portrait of Joseph Erlanger seated at his desk. Joseph Erlanger receiving an honorary degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Portrait of Joseph Erlanger in his office. Portrait of Joseph Erlanger. Studio portrait of Joseph Erlanger. Blood pressure testing apparatus used in experiments. Joseph Erlanger seated at a cathode ray oscillograph. Group portrait of Joseph Erlanger with 6 unidentified men. Joseph Erlanger receiving the Nobel Prize Medal from Harry Brookings Wallace, chancellor of Washi... Joseph Erlanger with and unidentified woman. Etelle Brodman and Joseph Erlanger at the presentation of his papers to the Washington University... Joseph Erlanger at his 89th birthday party. Joseph Erlanger shaking hands with an unidentified man at his 89th birthday party.
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Description

Reference code

VC027

Level of description

Collection

Title

Joseph Erlanger Photographs

Date(s)

Extent

0.55 Linear Feet

Name of creator

(1874-1965)

Biographical history

Joseph Erlanger (1874-1965) was born in San Francisco, studied at the University of California (B.S., 1895) and received his medical education at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (M.D., 1899). He was an intern at the Johns Hopkins University Hospital under William Osler, 1899-1900. From 1900 to 1906, Erlanger was an assistant in physiology at Johns Hopkins under William H. Howell. He became professor of physiology at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1906. In 1910, he accepted an appointment as professor and head of physiology at Washington University in St. Louis. Erlanger retained this position until retirement in 1946, continuing in research at the university for several years afterward. In 1944, he and Herbert S. Gasser were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for discoveries relating to the highly differentiated functions of nerve fibres."

Erlanger's chief contributions to physiology can be divided into two distinct phases. Until 1921, he concentrated on problems relating to the cardiovascular system, developing an improved sphygmomanometer, and making important discoveries about the relation of blood pressure and the conduction of electrical impulses in the heart. The second phase of his research career began in collaboration with Gasser, a former student. The two adapted a cathode-ray oscillograph for the purpose of amplifying and recording electrical conduction, or action potentials, of the nervous system. Using this instrument, they analyzed and compared action potentials of different portions of the nervous system, determining that the speed of conduction is proportional to the diameter of the nerve fiber. Erlanger's later research built upon this key electrophysiological discovery, with studies of excitation and polarization of nerve fibers, among other investigations. Throughout his tenure at Washington University, Erlanger played an important role in the governance of the medical school through its Executive Faculty council. He also made important contributions to the American Physiological Society and other scientific organizations.

Scope and content

This collection consists of 54 photographs and 2 postcards depicting the professional life and scientific achievements of Dr. Joseph Erlanger. Depicted subjects include formal portraits of Erlanger, scenes from a dinner hosted by President John F. and Jackie Kennedy at the White House for Nobel Laureates, studio views of Erlanger's Nobel Prize medal and certificate, and scenes from the presentation of Erlanger's papers to Washington University School of Medicine's Library in 1963.

System of arrangement

One set of duplicate prints has been removed from this collection.

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

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

Accruals

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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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.

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