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H MS c286

Leaf, Alexander, 1920- . Papers, 1962-2003 (inclusive), 1983-1999 (bulk): 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 c286
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Creator: Leaf, Alexander, 1920-
Title: Alexander Leaf Papers,
Date(s): 1962-2003 (inclusive),
Date(s): 1983-1999 (bulk)
Quantity: 1 collection (6.25 cubic ft. in 5 record cartons, 3 document boxes, 1 half document box, 1 half legal document box.)
Abstract: The Alexander Leaf Papers, 1962-2003 (inclusive), 1983-1999 (bulk) record the research, publications, presentations, lectures, conference and committee activities of Alexander Leaf, internist at Massachusetts General Hospital, James Jackson Professor of Clinical Medicine Emeritus at Harvard Medical School and Ridley Watts Professor of Preventive Medicine Emeritus at Harvard School of Public Health. The bulk of the collection falls between 1983-1999, and contains Leaf's manuscript and published research papers including related financial records, correspondence, research data and slide figures, on the studies of toad bladder, sodium transport, effects of hormones on renal function, fatty acids and cardiac arrhythmias and coronary heart disease. The collection also contains records of conferences, professional association meetings and committee meetings Leaf attended and often presented at. Records from Leaf's work with several World Health Organization Committees and research about nuclear war include manuscripts, publications, lectures, presentations, symposia, correspondence, data and some World Health Organization committee meeting records.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

  • Accession number 2008-025 Alexander LeafOctober 11, 2007
  • Custodial History:

    The Alexander Leaf Papers were donated to the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine in 2007.

    Processing Information:

    Processed by Elizabeth Cousins, December 2007.
    Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine refoldered, rehoused, arranged, described, and prepared a finding aid for the Alexander Leaf Papers.

    Conditions Governing Access:

    Access requires advance notice. There are no restrictions on this collection. Contact the Public Services Librarian for further information.
    The Alexander Leaf Papers are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to contact reference staff 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 the Public Services Librarian. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Public Services Librarian are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright. Reference Services and Access Information.

    Preferred Citation:

    The Alexander Leaf papers, 1962-2003 (inclusive), 1983-1999 (bulk). H MS c286. Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

    Related Items in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Center for the History of Medicine

    Biographical Note

    Alexander Leaf, 1920-, James Jackson Professor of Clinical Medicine Emeritus at Harvard Medical School and Ridley Watts Professor of Preventive Medicine Emeritus at Harvard School of Public Health, completed his internship at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1944. Leaf returned to Massachusetts General Hospital in 1949 as a clinical and research fellow. In 1966, Leaf became the ninth James Jackson Professor of Clinical Medicine at Harvard Medical School, serving in this capacity through1990, now Emeritus. Simultaneously, Leaf continued as Chief of the Cardiorenal Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and became chairman of Harvard's Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Chief of Medical Services at Massachusetts General Hospital. He held the latter two positions until 1981, when Leaf became Ridley Watts Professor of Preventive Medicine and chairman of the new Department of Preventive Medicine at the Harvard School of Public Health until his retirement in 1990.
    At age 20, Leaf earned a degree in chemistry from the University of Washington. In 1943 he received an M.D. from the University of Michigan. While working with Louis Newburgh at Michigan, Leaf became interested in applying the principles of physiology to the solution of clinical problems, the foundation of his future research interests. After an internship at Massachusetts General Hospital with endocrinologist Fuller Albright's group, Leaf completed his residency at the Mayo Graduate School, 1944-1946. During 1946-47 Leaf was assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Corps in El Paso, Tex. After his military service, Leaf became a research fellow and instructor in medicine at the University of Michigan, exploring the mechanisms of renal sodium and potassium handling by the human kidney. This research was continued during his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital where he set up a lab to perform kidney function studies. In 1954, Leaf received a research fellowship to become an Investigator through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. This fellowship enabled him to take a two-year leave of absence to study abroad with Hans Ussing in the Zoophysiology Laboratory at the University of Copenhagen and H. A. Krebs in the Department of Biology at the University of Oxford. Upon his return to Massachusetts General Hospital in 1956, Leaf continued his research of permeability and active ion transport, as well as his duties teaching medicine and providing patient care. Leaf also established the Renal Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he created a model for combining clinical investigation, patient care and medical education. Leaf's later research has included preventive medicine and cardiology, omega-3 fatty acids, coronary heart disease, aging, health effects of nuclear war, global climate changes, world medicine and issues related to health policy. He started a cardiac rehabilitation program at Massachusetts General Hospital, and established programs of instruction in nutrition, occupational and environmental health, medical impact of nuclear war and public health issues at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. These interests lead Leaf to accept the Ridley Watts professorship at the Harvard School of Public Health.
    Leaf is a past president of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, USA and the Institute of Medicine. Leaf has been a member of several World Health Organization committees of experts in medical sciences, and also served as Distinguished Physician at Brockton and West Roxbury Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

    Series in the Collection

    Scope and Content Note

    The Alexander Leaf Papers, 1962-2003 (inclusive), 1983-1999 (bulk) record the research, publications, presentations, lectures, conference and committee activities of Alexander Leaf, internist at Massachusetts General Hospital, James Jackson Professor of Clinical Medicine Emeritus at Harvard Medical School and Ridley Watts Professor of Preventive Medicine Emeritus at Harvard School of Public Health.
    The bulk of the collection falls between 1983-1999, and contains Leaf's manuscript and published research papers including related financial records, correspondence, research data and slide figures, on the studies of toad bladder, sodium transport, effects of hormones on renal function, fatty acids and cardiac arrhythmias and coronary heart disease undertaken in his lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, and after his retirement from Harvard School of Public Health.The collection also contains records of conferences, professional association meetings and committee meetings Leaf attended, with related travel and financial records, meeting notes, copies of presentations, and slide figures on topics such as the medical effects of nuclear war, nutrition, health care, global environmental issues and poly-unsaturated fatty acids. This series also includes records of Leaf's grand rounds visits and visiting professorships. Records from Leaf's work with several World Health Organization Committees and research about nuclear war include manuscripts, publications, lectures, presentations, symposia, correspondence, data and some World Health Organization committee meeting records. These are supported by a set of reference books, World Health Organization committee reports, journal articles and slide figures on various aspects of nuclear war. Slide figures are maintained separately as a series according to Leaf's filing system. Few items found in the World Health Organization Committee Records chronicle his efforts revising the medical education curriculum at Harvard Medical School and Leaf's tenure as Distinguished Physician at Brockton and West Roxbury Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

    Container List


    med00106