Posts tagged: Otto Krayer

George Packer Berry Dean Records Open to Research

By , May 22, 2018
George Packer Berry

George Packer Berry

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the records of the Office of the Dean of Harvard Medical School, during the tenure of George Packer Berry from 1949 to 1965.

George Packer Berry (1898-1986) A.B., Princeton University, M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, came to Harvard Medical School from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY, where he served as Head of the Department of Bacteriology and Associate Dean. As Dean of Harvard Medical School, Berry oversaw the development of the Harvard Medical Center in 1956, which brought Harvard Medical School and its affiliated teaching hospitals together under one corporate organization, and also served as the Center’s first President. The Program for Harvard Medicine was created in 1960 to raise funds for Harvard Medical School. In addition, Berry oversaw the development and construction of the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. He was President of the Association of American Medical Colleges (1951-1952) and earned the Association’s Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education in 1961. Berry was a trustee of both American University of Beirut and Princeton University.

George Packer Berry and Otto Krayer

George Packer Berry and Otto Krayer

The records of the Office of the Dean are the product of the activities of the Dean of Harvard Medical School, during the years 1949-1965 under the tenure of Dean Berry. Included are records from the administrative activities of the Office of the Dean, including administrative staff meetings, the planning and construction of Countway Library, and correspondence, reports, meeting records, and promotional materials for the Program for Harvard Medicine. Also included are records related to the Dean’s interactions with Harvard-affiliated hospitals and records from his tenure as a trustee of American University of Beirut, his tenure as Vice President and President of the Association of American Medical Colleges, as well as his roles as Director of the Commonwealth Fund and Director of the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation. The collection includes records resulting from the activities of standing and ad hoc committees at Harvard Medical School and records of the interactions of the Office of the Dean with Harvard University offices, departments, and organizations.

The finding aid for the Office of the Dean of Harvard Medical School can be found here.

For information regarding access to this collection, please contact the Public Services staff.

Otto Krayer, Pharmacology Department Collections Now Open

By , March 12, 2012

Otto Krayer

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of two new collections, the Otto Krayer Papers, 1917-1982 (inclusive), 1946-1968 (bulk), and the Records of the Department of Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, 1938-1974 (inclusive). Krayer’s papers include his professional correspondence, professional organizations records, editorial work, and records from his service with European aid organizations. Krayer was Head of the Department of Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School from 1939 to 1966, and the departmental records contain correspondence, committee records, grant records, and departmental reports produced during his tenure.

Krayer with Paul Dudley White, who chaired the Unitarian Service Committee medical mission to Czechoslovakia.

Otto Krayer (1899-1982), was a professor, pharmacologist, researcher and international leader in the field of pharmacology. Born in Kondringen, Germany in 1899, Krayer earned his M.D. in 1926 from the University of Freiburg. In the spring of 1933, Krayer was offered a departmental chair at the University of Dusseldorf. Krayer declined, because the Jewish incumbent had been removed from the chair on racial grounds by the Nazi government. As a result, the government suspended Krayer from his academic positions and banned him from German academic, library, and scientific facilities. At the end of 1933 Krayer left Germany for University College, London, moving to American University Beirut in 1934, before coming to Harvard Medical School in 1937. Krayer served on Unitarian Service Committee-sponsored medical missions to Czechoslovakia (1946) and Germany (1948) and was an active member of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. The finding aid for the collection can be found here.

As the Head of the Department of Pharmacology, Krayer was known for promoting collaboration among his staff and he recognized the importance of incorporating biochemistry, physiology, and psychology into pharmacological research. Krayer’s primary research focus during his tenure was cardiac pharmacology and veratrum alkaloids. While at Harvard Medical School, Krayer was successful in developing talent in the department – seventeen staff members went on to head academic and administrative departments. At the time of Krayer’s retirement in 1966, the department was ranked first in the country by the American Council on Education. The finding aid will be available later this spring.

For additional information on the Otto Krayer Papers, please see the prior post: Staff Finds: Ethics, Otto Krayer, and Carl von Ossietzky.

For information regarding access to these collections, please contact the Public Services staff.

Department of Pharmacology, undated. Krayer is seated, front row, fifth from the right. Seated to Krayer's right is Avram Goldstein, who would leave in 1955 to become Head of the Department of Pharmacology at Stanford Medical School.

Staff Finds: Ethics, Otto Krayer, and Carl von Ossietzky

By , October 21, 2011

Dr. Otto Krayer

While processing the personal papers of Otto Krayer (1899-1982), staff at the Center discovered correspondence from Krayer to the German Chemical Society, regarding comments made by the Society’s president about journalist Carl von Ossietzky. Ossietzky received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1935 for his work in exposing German rearmament efforts, which were in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. In response, Adolf Hitler forbade any German from accepting a Nobel Prize in the future, a decree with which the German Chemical Society’s President, Alfred Stock (1876-1946), agreed. In response to this, Krayer asked to be removed from the society’s membership:

The remarks of President A. Stock concerning the award of the Nobel peace prize, which are printed on page 121 of the Proceedings of the German Chemical Society of 9 June 1937 oblige me to request that you strike my name from the list of members of the German Chemical Society.

Stock was surprised by Krayer’s action and responded by referring to Ossietzky as a traitor, offering that he (Stock) was only representing the thoughts of most German scientists. Stock asked Krayer for clarification and Krayer replied, stating in the conclusion of his letter:

The reason for such a judgment as you, Mr. President, have formulated, must be sought in an ethical evaluation of the man. I do not find sufficient basis for your interpretation, and I am not of the opinion that the scientific Nobel prizes have lost any of their value or significance by the honoring of Carl von Ossietzky. It is to the credit of the Nobel organization that it honored the ethical qualities of this man; that is my conviction. What can promote peace between nations if not the deeds of such men, who are motivated by a pure and deep consciousness of their responsibility to a higher human order than is represented by the nation into which we are born.

Scans of the letters can be seen below. Ossietzky was imprisoned by the Nazis in 1933 and kept in a concentration camp until 1938, when he died of tuberculosis. For further information and a full translation of Krayer’s letters, please see “Otto Krayer, 1899—1982: A Biographical Memoir” by Avram Goldstein.

Krayer (M.D., 1926, University of Freiburg), born and educated in Germany, is perhaps best known for refusing an appointment to an academic chair in 1933 after the removal of the Jewish incumbent. For this, he was banned from German academic, library, and scientific facilities by the government. He left Germany at the end of 1933 for University College, London, as a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, moving to American University Beruit in 1934 to become head of the pharmacology department. Krayer came to Harvard in 1937 and served as head of the Department of Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School from 1939 to 1966.

Center staff is currently processing both Krayer’s personal papers as well as the archival records of the Department of Pharmacology during his tenure.

Krayer to the German Chemical Society

Letter from Alfred Stock to Krayer

Letter from Krayer to Stock, side 1

Letter from Krayer to Stock, side 2

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