Leake, Chauncey Depew, 1896-1978

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1896-09-05
Death 1978-01-11
English

Biographical notes:

Dr. Leake received his Ph.D. degree in physiology and pharmacology. Throughout his career as a researcher, teacher, and administrator, Dr. Leake maintained an interest in the history of medicine and medical ethics. He was active in numerous organizations and on the editorial board of several journals.

From the description of Chauncey Depew Leake papers, 1921-1976. (National Library of Medicine). WorldCat record id: 14325617

Dr. Chauncy Leake received his Ph.D. degree in physiology and pharmacology. Throughout his career as a researcher, teacher, and administrator, Dr. Leake maintained an interest in the history of medicine and medical ethics. His primary research interests included the biological actions of such drugs as barbitals and morphine, the relationship between chemical constitution and biological action, and the mechanisms of pain and relief of pain. He received a Litt.B. degree from Princeton University, majoring in philosophy with a biology minor in 1917. His scientific career began during World War I. Assigned to the Chemical Warfare Service stationed at the University of Wisconsin. Along with his research expertise, Dr. Leake also dedicated himself to popularizing science and medicine, both for his students and the lay public. He founded the UC-SF School of Pharmacology.

From the description of Chauncey D. Leake : an oral history / interviewd by M. Rita Carroll 1976-1977. (National Library of Medicine). WorldCat record id: 50685248

Chauncey Leake was a research pharmacologist. He also served on the faculty and in the administration of several medical schools, including as Executive Vice-President of the University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston from 1942-1956.

From the description of [Collected reprints of Chauncey D. Leake] 1920-1970 (Houston Academy of Medicine, Texas Medical Center). WorldCat record id: 318821138

Biography

Chauncy Depew Leake was born on September 5, 1896, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He received the Litt.B. degree from Princeton in 1917, having studied philosophy, chemistry and biology in a famous class that included such distinguished writers as John Peale Bishop, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edmund Wilson. When the United States entered World War I, he enlisted in the New Jersey National Guard. He served in a machine gun company, where he rose to the rank of first sergeant, and later was transferred to the Chemical Warfare Service. After the war, he continued investigations he'd begun into war gases at the University of Wisconsin, where he earned his M.S. (1920) and Ph.D. (1923) in pharmacology and physiology. At Wisconsin he also began teaching in the three areas that would occupy him throughout his career: he was an instructor in physiology (1920-1923), an assistant professor (1923-1925) and later associate professor (1925-1928) of pharmacology, and, beginning in 1921, he began teaching and writing on the history of science and medicine.

In 1928 Dr. Leake came to the University of California School of Medicine, where he established the Department of Pharmacology and served as a professor in that department. Later, he served as the librarian to the medical school and established the Department of the History of the Health Sciences, where he served as a senior lecturer. In 1942 he became executive vice-president of the University of Texas, where he established its Medical Branch at Galveston. In 1955 he went to the Ohio State University as a professor of pharmacology and lecturer in the history and philosophy of medicine. Returning to the University of California at San Francisco in 1962, he directed the research training program for medical students (1962-1965), lectured in pharmacology and the history and philosophy of medicine, and was a professor of medical jurisprdence at Hastings College of the Law (1963-1965).

Dr. Leake's research at UCSF covered a wide range of topics in the field of pharmacology. He was especially noted for work on anesthesia, and in the development of tranquilizers. A prolific writer, Dr. Leake produced over 25 books and more than 600 articles. His popular versions of Harvey's classic De Motu Cordis and Percival's Medical Ethics, the foundation for modern bio-ethics, were both produced in the 1920s, have been translated into many languages and continue to be in demand. In 1960-1961, Dr. Leake held the American scientific community's highest honor, presidency of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which he had previously served twice as vice-president. Among many other positions, he served as consultant to the National Research Council, the Public Health Service and the National Library of Medicine, and as chairman of the American Medical Association's Section on Pharmacology. He also served as president of the History of Science Society and the Society for the History of Medicine. Chauncey Leake was an avid member of the Bohemian Club in San Francisco, where he died on January 11, 1978, just after the completion of a reading of his poems.

From the guide to the Chauncey Depew Leake Papers, 1912-1978, (University of California, San Francisco. Library. Archives and Special Collections.)

Chauncey Depew Leake (1896-1978) was born in Elizabeth, NJ., and was an internationally known pharmacologist, medical historian and ethicist. His primary research interests included the biological actions of such drugs as barbitals and morphine, the relationship between chemical constitution and biological action, and the mechanisms of pain and relief of pain. He received a Litt.B. degree from Princeton University, majoring in philosophy with a biology minor in 1917. His scientific career began during World War I. Assigned to the Chemical Warfare Service stationed at the University of Wisconsin, he studied the effects of warfare gases on blood in anaesthetized dogs. After the war, he remained in Madison and received his M.S. and Ph.D. in physiology, pharmacology and biochemistry. He became professor of pharmacology, researching the blood affects of general anesthetics. In 1927 he moved the University of California, San Francisco to organize a pharmacology laboratory. His lab produced such drugs as divinyl ether, carbarson, vioform (clioquinol), amphetamines and nalorphine. These contributions sparked many of the first studies on the mechanisms of drug action. Leake left San Francisco in 1942 when he accepted an appointment as Vice President and Dean of the University of Texas Medical School, Galveston. In 1955, he moved to the Ohio State University to organize their first pharmacology laboratory as assistant dean and professor.

Along with his research expertise, Dr. Leake also dedicated himself to popularizing science and medicine, both for his students and the lay public. His affable lecture technique and speaking qualities reflected his impatience for abstruse medical jargon, and he lobbied incessantly for using every-day, understandable language in scientific writing. His love of language was also reflected in his personal poetry writing. Moreover, Leake's love of writing carried over into the history of medicine, where he was known as one of the field's preeminent contributors. His most well known contributions included a popular version of Harvey's "Circulation of Blood," and Percival's "Medical Ethics."

Dr. Leake authored over 600 articles and twelve books. He also served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, the History of Science Society, and served on the editorial boards of many biomedical periodicals. He died of an aortic aneurysm soon after a public reading of his personal poetry.

From the guide to the Chauncey D. Leake Papers, 1921-1976, (History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine)

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Subjects:

  • Education, Medical
  • Amphetamine
  • Pharmacologists
  • History of Medicine--Interview
  • History of medicine
  • Medicine
  • Medical papyri
  • Morphinans
  • Ethics
  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Leake, Chauncey Depew, 1896-1978
  • Anesthesia
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology--Interview
  • USSR--Travel, etc
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Ethics, Medical--Interview

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • California--San Francisco (as recorded)