Cannon, Walter Bradford papers, 1873-1945, 1972-1974 (inclusive), 1881-1945 (bulk). H MS c40


Walter Bradford Cannon (Harvard, A.B. 1896; A.M. 1897; M.D. 1900; Honorary Sc.D. 1937) taught physiology at Harvard and was George Higginson Professor of Physiology and Chairman of the Department. He was innovative in both research and medical education. In 1900 he adapted the case system for teaching medicine. His scientific research includes studies on the digestive tract and experiments on the denervated heart and his contributions include the concept of homeostasis and the discovery of the two sympathins. Later studies focused on the parasympathetic and somatic systems and the central nervous system. He also wrote and spoke on the subjects of medical education and the impact of science on society. He defended medical research and animal experimentation and influenced the policies of many scientific and humanitarian organizations, foundations, and funds.
Materials document Cannon's research and publications; involvement in professional societies and scientific organizations; administrative and committee work at the Harvard Medical School; activities on behalf of refugees and wartime medical work; other humanitarian interests; and his personal and family life. Extensive correspondence exists with academic friends, colleagues, and students at Harvard; physiologists, physicians, and scientists in the U.S. and other countries; personal friends and family, especially his wife, Cornelia James Cannon; and editors of professional journals and publishers. Other papers include diaries, scrapbooks and albums, lecture and laboratory notes, minutes of meetings and related organizational material. Addenda contains letters and papers from Cannon's student years, memorabilia, and other personal and biographical items. Supplementary materials were gathered by the Walter B. Cannon Research Project investigators to prepare a biography and include photoreproductions of correspondence with various people at other institutions, photographs, and copies of material from Harvard Medical School records.

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