Collection VC128 - Joseph Erlanger Certificates and Artifacts

Missouri State Medical Association 50-year Club lapel pin. St. Louis Medical Society Award for Scientific Accomplishment. Study and Frienship Medal, Societe Philomathique de Paris. National Academy of Sciences Centennial Medallion. 13th International Physiological Congress Medallion. 14th International Physiological Congress Medallion. Heart-block research clamp. Joseph Erlenger's I.D. badge from when he was conducting instrument (blind landing) experiments d... Nicholson "Princo" Sphygmomanometer. Honorary Doctor of Science degree, University of Michigan. Universite Libre de Bruxelles Medallion. Honorary Doctor of Science degree, University of Wisconsin. Phi Sigma Biological Society membership certificate. Certificate from a dinner commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1910 reorginization of Washin... Announcement of the Presentation of Scientific Papers, Correspondance, and Memorabilia of Dr. Jos... Letter from Joseph Erlanger to the Honorable A.P. Kaufmann, Mayor, St. Louis Missouri. Letter to the Editors of the Journal of Neurophysiology from Joseph Erlanger. Sportsman's Force Gauge.

Description

Reference code

VC128

Level of description

Collection

Title

Joseph Erlanger Certificates and Artifacts

Date(s)

Extent

10.50 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 includes 37 certificates and artifacts documenting the professional and scientific achievements of Joseph Erlanger. Certificates and medallians include various honorary degree diplomas, award certificates and medallions, and scientific society membership certificates. The collection also includes various academic hoods, an academic gown, Erlanger, Gasser and Bishop's home-made cathode ray tube, and the death mask of Erlanger.

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

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Immediate source of acquisition

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

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Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

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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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