E.V. Cowdry Photographs, Negatives, and Lantern Slides

Studio portrait of Leo Loeb. Studio portrait of Leo Loeb. Portrait of Leo Loeb seated in front of a microscope in a laboratory. Davidson Black seated at a desk measuring a human skull. Studio portrait of Perihan Cambel. Studio portrait of E.V. Cowdry. Studio portrait of Nathaniel Harrington Cowdry sitting a chair and gazing off into space. Portrait of Nathaniel Harrington Cowdry sitting in front of a microscope in a laboratory. Studio portrait of Nathaniel Harrington Cowdry. Group portrait of Nathaniel Harrington Cowdry and two unidentified men. Group portrait of men and women, including Nathaniel Harrington Cowdry. E.V. Cowdry in a class portrait, possibly Upper Canada College. Portrait of Alice Cowdry picnicking in China with a hamper, thermos, and small dog. Studio portrait of Alice Cowdry wearing a hat. Portrait of Alice Cowdry in a white dress, standing on a patio in China. Portrait of Alice Cowdry holding a letter at the foot of the front steps of a brownstone. Studio portrait of Alice Cowdry by Metzene, Chicago. Studio portrait of Aline Cowdry wearing a black fur coat. Exterior view of Vida Villa. Exterior view of Vida Villa.
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Reference code


Level of description



E.V. Cowdry Photographs, Negatives, and Lantern Slides


  • 1917-1978 (Creation)


2.75 cubic feet (8 boxes)

Name of creator


Biographical history

The interests and achievements of Edmund Vincent Cowdry (1888-1975) combined several careers in one. He was born in Alberta province, Canada, and grew up in Ontario. He studied at the University of Toronto, receiving his BA in 1909. Continuing with graduate training in anatomy, he received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1913. He was on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University from 1913 to 1917. From 1917 to 1921, he was among the first professors at Peking Union Medical College, established by the Rockefeller Foundation in Beijing, China. From 1921 until 1928, Cowdry was an associate member of the Rockefeller Institute, the medical research center in Manhattan that is now known as Rockefeller University. Beginning with that period, he made several research trips to African countries. In South Africa, he was instrumental in isolating the organism (thereafter called Cowdria ruminantium) which causes heartwater in animals. In Tunisia, he investigated the etiology of malaria. In Kenya, his chief interest was yellow fever.

E.V. Cowdry joined Washington University School of Medicine in 1928 as head of the Cytology program and co-chair of the Department of Anatomy, and for that purpose moved to St. Louis. The city became his and his family's home for the remainder of his life, although he continued his earlier pattern of extended leaves and foreign travel. He became a United States citizen in 1930. Later he became director of research at Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital (1939), then an independent hospital, but which he guided toward eventual integration with Washington University School of Medicine. In 1941 he became the formal head of the Department of Anatomy (1941). Cowdry's chief laboratory research interests in those years came to focus on cancer. He was noted not only for work in the laboratory, but also for his advocacy of increased public support for programs to fight malignant diseases. He was also widely known for coordinating interdisciplinary work in gerontology and is considered today to be one of the founders of contemporary scientific approaches in that branch of applied medicine and social work. E.V. Cowdry stepped down as head of anatomy in 1950, accepting in its place the position of director of the Wernse Cancer Research Laboratory at the school. He was named professor emeritus and director emeritus of the Wernse laboratory in 1960. Cowdry remained active in research in the university and at Jewish Hospital of St. Louis until his death in 1975.

Scope and content

This collection consists of 629 photographs, negatives, and glass lantern slides chronicling the life and career of E.V. Cowdry. The majority of the photographs are scenes from Cowdry's professional travels in China, India, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, and South Africa. The glass lantern slides specifically depict scenes from Cowdry's travels in China.

System of arrangement

Some items have been previously removed from this collection, which has led to an incomplete sequence of numbered items.

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


Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Related descriptions

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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