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H MS c71

Cattell, McKeen, 1891-. Papers, 1909-1987. Finding Aid.

Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)

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Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: H MS c71
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Title: McKeen Cattell Papers,
Date(s): 1909-1987 (inclusive).
Quantity: 1 collection (23 cubic feet in 23 records center cartons.)
Language of materials: Records are in English.
Abstract: Papers pertain primarily to Cattell's research projects, his involvement in the American College of Clinical Pharmacology and Chemotherapy (ACCPC), the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), and the Therapeutic Research Foundation; editorial work; lecturing in Japan, Austria, and Columbia; and teaching and administrative work in the Department of Pharmacology at Cornell University Medical College. Also includes personal correspondence of McKeen Cattell and some correspondence between Walter B. Cannon and James McKeen Cattell (father of McKeen Cattell), as well as J. M. Cattell's lecture notes and World War I photographs.

Processing Information:

Processed by Jennifer Pelose and SPI, July 2007.
This finding aid has been posted as a product of converting a heritage finding aid to an electronic format for the purpose of facilitating collection access. Researchers should be aware that this finding aid has not been revised to meet current Center for the History of Medicine descriptive practices, nor nationally promulgated content standards. Please report any difficulties using this guide to Public Services.

Conditions Governing Access:

Access requires advance notice. Access to Harvard University records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. These restrictions are noted where they appear in Series I, Subseries B, Sub-subseries 2. Consult Public Services for further information.
The Papers are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to contact Public Services for more information concerning retrieval of material.

Conditions Governing Use:

The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all the materials in the collection. Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to Public Services. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from Public Services are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright.

Preferred Citation:

McKeen Cattell Papers, 1909-1987 (inclusive). H MS c71. Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

Biographical Notes

McKeen Cattell, a major figure in pharmacological research in the United States, spent his career in physiology and pharmacology at Cornell University Medical College. After earning the Ph.D. (1920) and M.D. (1924) degrees from Harvard Medical School, he joined the Department of Physiology at Cornell. In 1936, he moved over to the Department of Pharmacology and became its chairman; he remained there until his retirement in 1959. A large part of his research efforts, along with colleague Harry Gold, were devoted to studying the effect of digitalis drugs on contractions of the heart muscle. With Gold, Cattell founded the American College of Clinical Pharmacology in 1963. He was editor of its publication, The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology for many years, and also served as editor of the journal published by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. As reflected in the collection. Dr. Cattell played several key advisory roles in the National Institutes of Health, the New York Academy of Medicine, and a number of other organizations.
This collection of manuscript papers presented to the Countway Library by Dr. Cattell is divided into five sections. The first section (1 box) contains a scattering of personal correspondence and biographical materials, including some family letters and a series of reprints of McKeen Cattell's publications.
The second section (9 boxes) is made up of corporate correspondence, the first part of which focuses on Cattell's years as chairman of the Pharmacology Department at Cornell. Both administrative and research materials can be found here, including (but not restricted to) correspondence with other faculty members, correspondence with foreign fellows in the department, materials regarding departmental research projects, and manuscript materials of departmental publications. The second part of this section contains correspondence with other corporations, including many of the drug companies that sponsored the research projects. It also has extensive correspondence regarding Dr. Cattell's membership in various professional societies--in particular the ACCPC and his involvement in its formation, and the ASPET for which he served as councilor and treasurer. Journals published by these organizations are well represented, including The Journal of New Drugs, the initial publication of the ACCPC, and its later publication The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, both of which Cattell edited. Letters written while he served as managing editor for the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics may be found under the organization's Board of Publication Trustees.
The third section of the collection (6 boxes) is subject-related and highlights the professional interests of Dr. Cattell on both a national and an international level. The first part concerns his activities in tobacco research, and contains significant correspondence as a result of his membership on the Scientific Advisory Board to the Tobacco Industry Research Committee. The second part covers a number of other topics. There are significant materials regarding Cattell's studies on the digitalis drugs, including a series of lectures on the parasympathomimetic agents and laboratory reports on biological assays. These drugs are listed by specific drug name throughout the section. In addition, there are abundant materials about his participation in marijuana studies in conjunction with the New York Academy of Medicine. Not the least to be found here is a group of materials regarding his trips to Austria and Colombia for the Unitarian Service Committee Medical Mission in the 1940s, and to Japan as a visiting lecturer in the 1950s.
The fourth section (3 boxes) is an alphabetical arrangement of miscellaneous correspondence with individuals; and the fifth section of bulk materials (3 boxes) comprises an assortment of illustrative material, graph readings and other research data.

Series and Subseries in the Collection

Scope and Content

Papers pertain primarily to Cattell's research projects, his involvement in the American College of Clinical Pharmacology and Chemotherapy (ACCPC), the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), and the Therapeutic Research Foundation; editorial work; lecturing in Japan, Austria, and Columbia; and teaching and administrative work in the Department of Pharmacology at Cornell University Medical College. Also includes personal correspondence of McKeen Cattell and some correspondence between Walter B. Cannon and James McKeen Cattell (father of McKeen Cattell), as well as J. M. Cattell's lecture notes and World War I photographs. Research project files contain charts and experimental data, notes and drafts of writings, bibliographies and reprints reflecting McKeen Cattell's research on the action of digitalis drugs in increasing the strength of heart-muscle contractions, and other studies on the pharmacology of digitalis. Related materials are research reports and correspondence with faculty at Cornell, such as Janet Travell and Harry Gold, and correspondence with Japanese scientists and colleagues concerning work on digitalis drugs. Departmental records include correspondence with pharmaceutical companies concerning fund raising for research and general records relating to curriculum matters, conferences at Cornell, etc.
Cattell's professional activities are documented in correspondence about the founding of ACCPC; his service as president and trustee of ASPET and editing of the Society's journal, involvement in international pharmacology congresses, and work on governmental committees. Also contains minutes of meetings of the Biological Codification Panel and Committee on Growth of the National Research Council, which were held in the late 1940s to persuade the federal government to fund basic biomedical research; and correspondence and related material pertaining to advisory work for National Institutes of Health and committees of the New York Academy of Medicine, and consulting for private industry. Other material documents Cattell's travels as a visiting lecturer to Japan (1950) under the auspices of the U.S. Army, and to Austria (1947) and Colombia (1948) for the Unitarian Service Committee Medical Mission; as well as his lecturing in the U.S., and various social activities.
Materials entirely in English.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Women physicians.
Drugs -- Research.
Digitalis (Drug) -- Research.
[MESH subject heading]
Cannon, Walter B. (Walter Bradford), 1871-1945.
Cattell, James McKeen, 1860-1944.
Cattell, McKeen,1891-.
Gold, Harry,1899-1972.
Travell, Janet,1901-.
American College of Clinical Pharmacology and Chemotherapy.
American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Cornell University. Medical College. Dept. of Pharmacology.
National Research Council (U.S.).
Therapeutic Research Foundation.
Unitarian Service Committee.

Index of Names


med00083