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Guide to the Elmer DeGowin and the Elmer DeGowin Blood Center Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1937-1974
Creator: DeGowin, Elmer (1937-1974)
Extent: 5.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: RG99.0320
Repository: University of Iowa Archives
Summary: Founded the University of Iowa Hospital's blood bank in 1938, one of the nation's first. Co-author of the first modern text on Blood Transfusion (1949)

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in boxes 2, 9

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: The papers were transferred to the University Libraries by the DeGowin Blood Center in 2003. Collection processed in 2004; guide posted to the Internet in 2004; updated January 2008.

Preferred Citation: Papers of Elmer DeGowin and the Elmer DeGowin Blood Center, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: David McCartney
Email: david-mccartney@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/sc/archives

Dr. Elmer Louis DeGowin, a blood researcher and founder of the University of Iowa Hospital's blood bank in 1938, was born September 27, 1901, in Cheboygan, Michigan, a son of Frank Louis and Nora Dickes DeGowin. He married Laura Evelyn Meader on June 21, 1924, in Battle Creek, Michigan.
 
Dr. DeGowin obtained his B.A. degree in 1923 and his M.D. degree in 1928, both from the University of Michigan. He was an instructor there for two years before joining the UI faculty in 1932. In 1969 he was named an emeritus professor of medicine.
 
He founded one of the first blood banks in the U.S. in 1938, developed a solution to preserve whole blood, founded and managed the Central Fluid Laboratory, designed patient records, and directed the Thyroid Clinic. In 1949 he co-authored with Robert Hardin and John Alsever a pioneering text, Blood Transfusion (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co., 1949). Another of his books, Bedside Diagnostic Examinations (New York: Macmillan, 1965), became a standard text in U.S. medical schools and has been widely translated.
 
He was awarded the American Medical Association's Gold Medal in 1939 for an exhibit at a national meeting in St. Louis on "Preservation of Blood." He was also named "Iowa Internist of the Year" in 1978 by the Iowa Clinical Society of Internal Medicine. He was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, an honorary medical society; the American Society for Clinical Investigation; the Association of American Physicians; the National Research Council; the Central Society for Clinical Research; the American Society of Internal Medicine; and the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.
 
Dr. DeGowin died in Iowa City on August 31, 1980, at age 78.
 
(Portions of the biographical note are from the Iowa City Press-Citizen, September 2, 1980.

The Papers of Elmer DeGowin and the DeGowin Blood Donor Center document a period of rapidly-expanding research in the field of blood preservation, storage and transfusion. The blood donor center, founded at the University's hospital in 1938, was begun only one year after the opening of the nation's first such center at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.

As a member of the College of Medicine faculty and founding director of the donor center, Dr. DeGowin conducted extensive research on blood and plasma inventory management, in both clinical and field settings. During World War II his research turned to the practicality of applying blood storage and transfusion techniques on the battle front. It marked the first time modern blood transfusion practices were put into place in time of war. The papers chronicle Dr. DeGowin's central role in the 1942 creation of the Shock and Transfusion Service for the U.S. Army and Navy and, in 1948, his contribution to the development of standards for the U.S. armed forces' blood transfusion equipment.

Dr. DeGowin's professional relationships with his peers at other teaching hospitals, the U.S. Public Health Service, and numerous national organizations are well-documented, particularly from the 1940's period. The emergence of national standards for blood transfusions following World War II and the creation of a National Blood Donor Program in cooperation with the American Red Cross are also chronicled within the collection. Accompanying a single bound volume of Dr. DeGowin's published articles are typewritten drafts of many of the same articles, often including hand-written notes, in Series II.

References to World War II and the need for emergency blood supplies during wartime are noted particularly in Series V (Correspondence: Whitby, Col. Lionel E.H.) and Series VII (Organizations: National Research Council sub-series; Newhouser, L.R.). Reference to animal testing is made in Series X (Research Data: 'Pathology of Transfusion Nephrosis'.)

The collection also includes evidence of early and later activity at the blood bank in Series I (Administrative) and Series XI (Subject).

The collection consists of 11 series:

Series I: Administrative
Series II: Articles and Papers by Elmer GeGowin
Series III: Articles and Papers by Others
Series VI: Conferences
Series V: Correspondence
Series VI: Faculty
Series VII: Organizations, including the American Association of Blood Banks, the National Research Council, the American National Red Cross, and the American Medical Association.
DeGowin, Dr. Elmer. Oral history interview, University of Iowa Archives, 1976.

Folder, "DeGowin, Dr. Elmer," in Faculty and Staff Vertical Files Collection (RG01.0015.003)

Hardin, Robert C. "An Iowa Contribution to Blood Banking." In Journal of the Iowa Medical Society 73(10): 399-404 (October 1983).

Browse by Series:
Series 1: ADMINISTRATIVE
Series 2: ARTICLES AND PAPERS BY ELMER DEGOWIN
Series 3: ARTICLES AND PAPERS BY OTHERS
Series 4: CONFERENCES
Series 5: CORRESPONDENCE
Series 6: FACULTY
Series 7: ORGANIZATIONS
Series 8: PHOTOGRAPHS
Series 9: PRESENTATIONS
Series 10: RESEARCH DATA
Series 11: SUBJECTS

  • Series 1: ADMINISTRATIVE
  • Box 1:
  • Annual Report, blood bank - 1959-1968
  • Floor plan, 7th floor - Undated, circa 1953
  • Personnel, blood bank - 1953-1955
  • Personnel schedule for blood collection - 1942-1952
  • Procurement of donors, procedures and summaries - 1950-1952
  • University Hospitals, memoranda and procedures - 1939-1946
  • Series 2: ARTICLES AND PAPERS BY ELMER DEGOWIN
  • Box 1:
  • Papers of Elmer L. DeGowin, M.D. - 1928-1970
    This is a bound volume.
  • Appraisal of Isohemagglutinin Activity - 1944
  • Book review: "Adventure in Blood Transfusion" - 1942-1943
  • Book review: "Blood Groups", British Medical Bulletin - 1959
  • Book review: "Blood Groups and Transfusion" by Alexander S. Wiener - 1943
  • Book review: "Doctors in Gray: The Confederate Medical Service" and "A Texas Surgeon in the C.S.A" - 1958
  • Book reivew: "Drugs: Their Nature, Action, and Use" - 1958
  • A Case of Infection with Brucella Suis - 1945
  • Changes in Osmotic Pressure of Erythrocytes During Storage - 1941
  • Box 2:
  • Chemical, Clinical, and Immunological Studies on the Products of Human Plazma [sic] Fractionation - 1944
  • Clinical Isosensitization to the Rh Factors - Undated, circa 1946
  • A Clinical Perspective on the Rh Factor - 1945
  • Deficit of Prothrombin and Accelerator Globulin in Man from Prolonged Excessive Feeding of Methionine - 1955
  • Erros in Mass Blood Grouping and Methods of Minimizing Them - 1943
  • Hypertension during Blood Transfusions for Hemorrhagic Shock in a Patient with Unilateral Renal Ischemia - 1949
    Includes photographs
  • Isomunity to the Rh Factor as a Cause of Blood Transfusion Reactions - 1945
  • Isosensitivity' Instead of 'Isoimmunity' - 1945
  • A Manual on the Preservation and Transfusion of Blood - Undated, circa 1942
  • Modern Treatment of Traumatic Shock - 1943-1944
  • A New Format of the Patient's Medical Record for Clinical Teaching and Practice - 1961
    Includes illustrations
  • Newer Methods in the Treatment of Secondary Shock - 1943
  • Box 3:
  • Osmotic Changes in Erythrocytes of Human Blood during Storage - 1942
  • Parenteral Therapy in the University Hospitals - 1944
  • Permanent Residual Damage in Patients Recovering from ... Endocarditis - 1945
  • A Plan for Collection, Transporation and Administration of Whole Blood and of Plasma in Warfare - 1941
  • The Possible Role of Whole Blood Transfusions in Military Medicine - 1944
  • The Reactions from Blood Transfusion - Undated
  • Studies on Preserved Human Blood: VII. Osmotic Changes in Erythrocytes - Undated
  • Studies with Inagglutinable Erythrocyte Counts - 1951-1952
  • Box 4:
  • The Transfusion of Whole Blood - 1950
  • Transfusion Reactions (pamphlet) - 1959
  • Treatment of Thyrotoxicosis - 1959
  • Two-Stage Schedule for the Treatment of Thyrotoxicosis with Radioiodine - 1954
  • Use of Stored Blood in Civil Medicine - 1941
  • Series 3: ARTICLES AND PAPERS BY OTHERS
  • Box 4:
  • Experimental Studies of the Nature of Hemolytic Shocks (Hesse. E.) - 1932
  • Grave Sequelae of Blood Transfusions: A Clinical Study of 13 Cases - 1938-1939
  • Series 4: CONFERENCES
  • Box 4:
  • American College of Physicians - 1951
  • American College of Physicians panel questions - 1952
  • Annual conference, including exhibit plans, American Medical Association - 1939
  • Blood preservation conference - 1944 August 30
  • Conference on Blood Preservation - 1944 October 4
  • Conference on Blood Preservation - 1945 January 19
  • Conference on Differential Agglutination of Erythrocytes - 1952
  • Box 5:
  • Conferences on Fibrin Films, Blood Preservation - 1945 May 14-15
  • Conference on Globin - 1944 April 21
  • Meeting: Iowa Serum or Plasma Center Proposal, Des Moines - 1942
  • National Research Council Conference on Blood Substitutes - 1949 February 19
  • National Research Council on Fibrin Film - 1945
  • Subcommittee on Blood Grouping Tests - 1951
  • Series 5: CORRESPONDENCE
  • Box 5:
  • Alsever, John B. - 1940-1944, 1955
  • Boyd, William C. - 1947
  • Diggs, L.W. - 1940-1942
  • Doan, H.W. - 1947
  • Gibson, John G., II - 1943
  • Gregory, Raymond - 1937-1944
  • Hardin, Robert C. - 1941-1945
  • Janney, Clinton D. - 1954-1955
  • Johnston, F.D. - 1945
  • Jones, G.W. - 1955
  • Larkey, Sanford V. - 1941-1942
  • Muether, R.O. - 1940-1942
  • Randall, C.C. - 1941-1942
  • Ravid, Jacob M. - 1940
  • Reichel, John, Jr. - 1941-1944
  • Riddell, Victor H. - 1937-1940
  • Robinson, G. Canby - 1942
  • Ross, Joseph F. - 1940-1943
  • Rowley, Mrs. Robert D. (Ruth) - 1943
  • Scudder, John - 1940-1941
  • Sturgis, Cyrus G. - 1938-1941
  • Thomas, C.D. - 1955
  • Turner, Edward L. - 1955
  • U.S. Army Office of the Surgeon General - 1954-1956
  • Wangensteen, Owen H. - 1942-1945
  • Whitby, Col. Lionel E.H. - 1941
  • Wiener, Alexander L. - 1939-1947
  • Witebsky, Ernest - 1941-1945
  • Series 6: FACULTY
  • Box 6:
  • Animal House Organization and Operations - Undated
  • College of Medicine Faculty and Committees - 1950, 1955
  • A Faculty for the College of Medicine: mission, goals - Undated
  • Graduate Council and Graduate Faculty
  • Series 7: ORGANIZATIONS
  • Box 6:
  • American Association of Blood Banks: Directory of Blood Banks in the US - 1949
  • American Association of Blood Banks: Newsletters - 1948-1949
  • American Association of Blood Banks: Organization and Administration of Blood Banks - 1954
  • American Board of Internal Medicine: Written examination questions - 1941-1943
  • American Human Serum Association: Program, annual meeting - 1941-1943
  • American Medical Association: Dickinson, Frank G. - 1949
  • American Red Cross: Committee on Blood and Blood Derivatives - 1945-1947
  • American Red Cross: First Progress Report on Recommendations of the Special Medical and Health Survey Committee - 1945 November
  • American Red Cross: Minutes, report; Johnson County [Iowa] chapter - 1942-1943
  • American Red Cross: Minutes, report; Omaha Regional Blood Center - 1949-1950
  • American Red Cross: National blood program
  • Box 7:
  • American Red Cross: O'Connor, Basil - 1947
  • American Red Cross: Taylor, Earl S. - 1941-1944
  • American Red Cross: Viets, Henry - 1946, 1949
  • Central Society for Clinical Research: Membership list, constitution - 1947-1948
  • National Research Council: Directory of Medical Advisory Committees - 1948
  • National Research Council: Notices, committee lists - 1941-1945
  • National Research Council: Committee on Blood and Blood Derivatives - 1948-1950
  • National Research Council: Subcommittee on Blood Substitutes - 1941-1943
  • National Research Council: Subcommittee on Blood Substitutes, including gelatin conference - 1944
  • Box 8:
  • National Research Council: Subcommittee on Blood Substitutes - 1944-1945
    five folders
  • National Research Council: Blalock, Alfred - 1941-1945
  • National Research Council: Cannon, Walter B. - 1941-1943
  • National Research Council: Cohn, E.J. - 1941-1945
  • National Research Council: Kendrick, D.B. - 1941-1944
  • National Research Council: Newhouser, L.R. - 1940-1945
  • National Research Council: Rhoads, C.P. - 1941-1942
  • National Research Council: Robertson, O.H. - 1940-1941, 1961
  • National Research Council: Strumia, Max M. - 1941-1943
  • National Research Council: Thalhimer, William - 1938-1944
  • National Research Council: Veldee, M.V. - 1945-1946
  • National Research Council: Wearn, J.T. - 1944-1945
  • National Research Council: Weed, Lewis H. - 1940-1946
  • International Society of Hematology: Constitution, by-laws, newsletter - 1953
  • Various committees: Medical advisory committees - 1948-1949
  • Series 8: PHOTOGRAPHS
  • Box 9:
  • Blood bank lab, offices, staff, including floor plan - 1940
  • Faculty, graduates - 1949, 1960, Undated
  • Hardin, Robert C.; DeGowin, Elmer R.; Alsever, John B.: Authors, "Blood Transfusions." - Undated, circa 1949
  • Series 9: PRESENTATIONS
  • Box 9:
  • The Blood Bank is Two Years Old - 1940
  • Blood Transfusions in the Last 75 Years - 1945
  • Historical Perspectives of Blood Banking - 1968
  • Leonardo da Vinci as an Anatomist - 1938
  • New Quarters for the Hospital Blood Bank (includes floor plan) - 1953
  • Radio talk - WSUI and WOI - 1941
  • Radio talk - WSUI - "Blood Transfusions" - 1938
  • Series 10: RESEARCH DATA
  • Box 9:
  • Blood grouping methods - 1943
  • Blood storage data chart, equipment inventory - Undated
  • Inactivation of Isohemagglutinins in Preserved Human Blood (use of type "O" as universal donor) - 1941
  • Pathology of transfusion nephrosis - Undated, after 1937
  • Reports of Samples of Blood Grouping Globulins - 1944-1945
  • Sources of Error in Mass Blood Grouping - 1942
  • Series 11: SUBJECTS
  • Box 10:
  • All-Medical Alumni Reunion - 1950
  • Blood Bank, University Hopsitals - 1939, 1947-1949
  • Blood Bank, University Hopsitals - 1950-1964
  • Blood Bank, University Hopsitals - 1967-1974
  • Civilian Defense Blood Plasma Center - 1942-1944
  • Civilian Defense Blood Plasma Center publicity, history - 1942
  • Drug accumulation - 1950, 1958, 1961
  • National Blood Donor Program, controversy re procurement funding - 1949-1950
  • North Central District Blood Bank Clearing House - 1955
  • Box 11:
  • Proposed Specifications for Blood Bank Equipment - US Army - 1948
  • Shock and Transfusion Service, creation of - US Army and Navy - 1942-1943
  • Standards for a Blood Transfusion Service, first ed.: American Association of Blood Banks - 1958
  • State Civil Defense Health and Medical Service - 1950-1952
  • Study Document Regarding University of Iowa Hospitals and the Era of Increasing Federal Involvement in Health - 1966
  • Survey of Blood Banks in the US - 1950
  • US Office of Civilian Defense - correspondence - 1942-1943
  • US Office of Civilian Defense - interoffice memoranda - 1942-1944
  • US Office of Civilian Defense - Iowa correspondence - 1943-1944
  • US Office of Civilian Defense manuals: Blood Preservation and Transfusion; Citrated Human Blood Plasma - 1942
  • Water distillation - 1953

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.


Browse:
University of Iowa Faculty and Staff Organizations