The library celebrated Alumni Day 2010 with another timely acquisition to its rare book collection. Katharine Perkins, the daughter of Dr. John F. Perkins, Jr. (HMS Class of 1936) presented the library with her father’s copy of Respiration, by J. S. Haldane and J. G. Priestley (Oxford, 1935), a classic work dealing with the role of carbon dioxide, oxygen deficiency, and the physiology of breathing.
While itself an important work and a standard text in respiratory physiology, the endpapers of this particular copy have the autographs of over seventy 20th century scientists and notable figures, including C. G. Douglas, Maurice Campbell, J. B. S. Haldane, Fred S. Grodins, Pierre Dejours, D. J. C. Cunningham, Wallace O. Fenn, and David B. Dill. It seems likely that Dr. Perkins, Professor of Physiology at the University of Chicago, had this volume while attending the July 1961 J. S. Haldane Centenary symposium in Oxford (where “nearly every respiratory physiologist of world renown was able to be present”) and asked the speakers and other attendees to sign the book.
The acquisition of this copy of Respiration enhances the library’s already impressive holdings in physiology and complements the manuscript collections of Francis G. Benedict, Walter B. Cannon, Alexander Forbes, and the newly-opened records of the Harvard Fatigue Laboratory.