Herbert S. Gasser Papers, 1886-1953

Summary Information
Title: Herbert S. Gasser Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1886-1953

  • Gasser, Herbert S. (Herbert Spencer), 1883-1963
Call Number: Mss 132

Quantity: 0.4 c.f. (1 archives box)

Archival Locations:
Wisconsin Historical Society (Map)

Papers of Dr. Herbert S. Gasser, Wisconsin-born physiologist, Nobel Prize winner in 1944 for his work on nerves with Dr. Joseph Erlanger, and director of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. Included is a manuscript autobiography, correspondence, clippings, speeches, research notes, and miscellaneous materials of both a personal and technical nature as well as a bound volume of clipped medical articles and letters written by Dr. Gasser's father, Herman Gasser, M.D. Correspondence includes a cable from French surgeon Alexis Carrel.

Language: English

URL to cite for this finding aid: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/wiarchives.uw-whs-mss00132
 ↑ Bookmark this ↑


Herbert S. Gasser was born in Platteville, Wisconsin, in 1888. His father was a doctor there and he too decided upon a medical career. He attended the State Normal School at Platteville and the University of Wisconsin and graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1915 with his medical degree. After graduation he taught pharmacology at Wisconsin and physiology at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. During World War I, he served as a pharmacologist with the Chemical Warfare Service; then returned to Washington University, this time to teach pharmacology. In 1931, he accepted a professorship of physiology at Cornell University Medical College where he remained until 1935. From 1935 to 1953, he directed the activities of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, New York City.

Among the honors awarded to Dr. Gasser was the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine of 1944, shared with Dr. Joseph Erlanger for their research concerning the reaction of nerve fibers to electric impulses. Gasser held honorary degrees from several universities and held membership in many scientific societies in America and abroad. After formal retirement in 1953, Gasser continued his physiological research at the Rockefeller Institute until incapacitated by illness. He died in 1963.

Scope and Content Note

The collection dates 1886 to 1953 and includes correspondence, clippings, speeches by Gasser, and research notes and an autobiography containing much technical information on his research in physiology. Most of the correspondence is congratulatory messages received upon his appointment as director of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research; included here is a cable from well-known French surgeon Alexis Carrel. The speeches concern scientific topics and are of both a technical and a non-technical nature. Also included in the collection is one volume containing clipped articles and letters to the editor written by Herman Gasser, Herbert's father; most concern medical topics.

Administrative/Restriction Information
Acquisition Information

Presented by the estate of Mary E. Bushnell, Madison, Wisconsin, April 5, 1967. Accession Number: M67-108

Processing Information

Processed by N.C. and Karen Baumann, November 2, 1970.

Contents List
Box   1
Folder   1
Genealogical information and Gasser's autobiography
Box   1
Folder   2
re: Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, 1935
Box   1
Folder   3
re: Nobel Prize, 1944-1945
Box   1
Folder   4
Speeches and research notes, 1925-1941; undated
Box   1
Folder   5
Miscellaneous papers, 1937-1953
Box   1
Folder   6
Articles by Herman Gasser, 1886-1910; undated