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Kountz, William B.

  • Person
  • 1896-1962

William B. Kountz was born in Saxton, Missouri in 1896 and attended schools in nearby St. Joseph. He entered Washington University as an undergraduate in 1918 and (without formally completing a bachelor's degree) continued on through medical school, graduating in 1926. Until 1928, Kountz was an intern and resident physician at Barnes, St. Louis Maternity, and St. Louis Children's Hospitals. He then became a physician with the cardiovascular service of the Washington University Dispensary. The award of a national Research Council Fellowship offered Kountz the opportunity for further training abroad, and for eighteen months beginning in 1930 he visited hospitals in Britain, Germany, and Egypt. (He later recalled that the chance to study Egyptian mummies inspired his interest in aging.) He returned in late 1931 to join the clinical faculty of the School and to launch he career as a leading cardiologist in St. Louis.

Kountz served on the staff of Barnes and Lutheran Hospitals, but became particularly well known for his treatment and study of aged patients at the St. Louis City Infirmary (later, St. Louis Chronic Hospital) on Arsenal Street. In 1938 he helped establish a special geriatrics research unit at the Infirmary. In 1946 WUSM organized a Division of Gerontology based at the Chronic Hospital and Kountz was named its director of clinical services. That same year Kountz became a founding member of the American Society for the Study of Arteriosclerosis, which later became a branch of the American Heart Association. In 1954 Kountz's work received additional support through the establishment of a St. Louis-based Gerontological Research Foundation.

Kountz died in 1962. He was succeeded as head of the Division of Gerontology by John Esben Kirk, under whom the program continued until 1973.

Kountz, Willie Mae

  • Person
  • 1902-2001

Willie Mae Weissinger, a teacher and a nurse, was born on September 12, 1902 in Hernando, Mississippi to Cora Scott and Alexander T. Weissinger. She graduated from Millsap College in Jacksonville, MS with a degree in education and earned an RN from Washington University School of Nursing. She taught in Hernando, Mississippi.

In 1928 WillIam B. Kountz married Willie Mae Weissinger of St. Louis. They had two sons, William and Robert. In their later married life, Mrs. Kountz was very active in raising financial support for her husband's specialty through work with women's clubs. Following WBK's death, Mrs. Kountz corresponded with several of his colleagues, the basis of this series. Most numerous are letters from Washington University Vice Chancellors for Medical Affairs, William H. Danforth, and his successor Samuel B. Guze, and the first Kountz Professor, Hugh B. Chaplin.
Source: FC045-S05, Correspondence of Willie Mae Kountz, 1967-1979. William B. Kountz Papers

12th Field Hospital

  • 1942-1945

The 12th Field Hospital was officially activated on 25 July 1942 at Camp Bowie, Brownwood, Texas, (Armored Division Camp; total acreage 116,264; troop capacity 2,237 Officers and 43,247 Enlisted Men –ed) and initially consisted of a cadre of 1 Officer and 24 Enlisted Men, all of whom came from Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York (already established in 1918 on Hempstead Plains –ed). The remainder of the year saw many additions of Officers and Enlisted personnel, the latter arriving for the most part from the MRTC at Camp Barkeley, Abilene, Texas.

During the month of September 1942, Lt. Colonel George J. L. Wulff, Jr., MC, assumed command, relieving Captain Sidney Dann, who came in as first CO with the cadre.

Wulff, George J. L., Jr.

  • Person
  • 1909-1998

George J. L. Wulff, Jr. earned both his bachelor's and medical degrees (M. D. 1933) from Washington University and served as a Lt. colonel and colonel in the Army Medical Corps during World War II. After he trained with the 21st General Hospital. he became commander of the 12th Field Hospital in September 1942. After the war Wulff worked in private practice for 40 years. He was on the staff of Deaconess Hospital, Barnes Hospital, and St. Luke's Hospital, where he was chief of the obstetrics-gynecology department. He was also a professor at Washington University School of Medicine.

Obituaries: George J.L. Wulff Jr., emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Washington University Record, 22 January 1998, page & 12th Field Hospital, Unit History, WW2 Us Medical Research Centre,

Charles, Benjamin H.

  • Person
  • 1908-1994

Benjamin H. Charles, M.D., was a Washington University School of Medicine alumnus who served as a major for the 21st General Hospital during World War II. Charles was the chief officer of the POW section of the 21st General Hospital.

Erlanger, Joseph

  • Person
  • 1874-1965

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.

Smith, Margaret G.

  • Person
  • 1896-1970

Margaret G. Smith was born on February 10, 1896 in Carnegie, Pennsylvania. In 1918 she received an AB degree from Mount Holyoke College, and in 1922, she received an MD from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Smith joined the Hopkins faculty as an Assistant Pathologist following graduation and remained there until she accepted a position in at Washington University in 1929. Dr. Smith began her career at Washington University as an Assistant Professor in the Pathology Department. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1943, and in 1957 Dr. Smith was among the first women to be named full professor at the university.

Prominent in the field of pediatric pathology, she is best known for her research into the St. Louis encephalitis virus and the salivary gland virus. She was the first to propagate the herpes simplex virus in a mouse, and was the first to discover the cytomegetic inclusion disease virus. Dr. Smith was the author of more than seventy scientific publications. In 1967, she and John M. Kissane, also Professor of Pathology, published the classic textbook, Pathology of Infancy and Childhood.

In 1959, the Globe Democrat named Dr. Smith a St. Louis Woman of Achievement, a significant community recognition for that period. In 1964, Washington University presented her a faculty citation at the Founders' Day ceremonies. In that same year, she was also honored at the dedication of the Children's Research Center in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Smith remained active in the Pathology Department as Professor Emeritus until her death in 1970.



Barbee, Andrew B.

  • Person
  • 1819-1896

Andrew B. "A.B." Barbee was a physician and surgeon who practiced in St. Louis. He graduated from Kemper Medical College in 1843 and authored a history of Missouri Medical college from 1840 to 1861, published in 1914.

Lacy, Paul E.

  • Person
  • 1924-2005

Paul E. Lacy was a professor emeritus of Washington University School of Medicine and a pioneer in the treatment of diabetes, having developed islet transplantation in the 1950s. He graduated from the Ohio State University with a B.S. in 1944 and a M.D. in 1948. Lacy completed graduate work in anatomy and experimental pathology at the Mayo Clinic and received a Ph.D. in the discipline from the University of Minnesota in 1955. In the same year, Washington University School of Medicine appointed him to be an assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy. It was during that time Lacy began his groundbreaking research of endocrine cells in the pancreas that led to the discovery and success of islet transplants as an experimental treatment for Type I diabetes mellitus throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Due to his rising reputation for his research, Lacy was named the Edward Mallinckrodt Professor and chair of the Department of Pathology in 1961, which he held for 23 years until his retirement in 1984. Along with his work in medicine, Lacy was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and helped create the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

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