Minot, George Richards, 1885-1950

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1885-12-02
Death 1950-02-25
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

George Richards Minot (1885-1950), AB, 1908, Harvard College; MD, 1912, Harvard Medical School, was a hematologist and Director of the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory at Boston City Hospital. Minot was also Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His research focused on blood and nutrition, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 1934 for discovering that liver extract cured pernicious anemia.

From the description of Papers, 1891-1951. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 230834860

Born on December 2, 1885 in Boston, Massachusetts, George Richards Minot descended from a long line of doctors. After receiving his A.B. from Harvard College in Born on December 2, 1885, in Boston, Massachusetts, George Richards Minot descended from a long line of deoctors. After receiving his A.B. from Harvard College in 1908, he continued the family tradition by attending Harvard Medical School, from which he received an M.D. in 1912. All of Minot's future potential nearly vanished when he became a severe diabetic in 1921. Fortunately, the discovery of insulin the next year saved his life. After working as a doctor and medical professor in Boston and Baltimore, he was hired as a Professor of Medicine by Harvard Medical School in 1928. Among his many honors, Minot shared the 1934 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his role in discovering a liver treatment as a cure for pernicious anemia. After a stroke in 1947, he retired from Harvard the next year and died of pneumonia on February 25, 1950 at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts.

From the description of George Richards Minot papers, 1915-1950 (inclusive). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702168991

Born on December 2, 1885 in Boston, Massachusetts, George Richards Minot descended from a long line of doctors. After receiving his A.B. from Harvard College in 1908, he continued the family tradition by attending Harvard Medical School, from which he received an M.D. in 1912. All of Minot's future potential nearly vanished when he became a severe diabetic in 1921. Fortunately, the discovery of insulin the next year saved his life. After working as a doctor and medical professor in Boston and Baltimore, he was hired as a Professor of Medicine by Harvard Medical School in 1928. Among his many honors, Minot shared the 1934 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his role in discovering a liver treatment as a cure for pernicious anemia. After a stroke in 1947, he retired from Harvard the next year and died of pneumonia on February 25, 1950 at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts.

From the guide to the George Richards Minot papers, 1915-1950, (Manuscripts and Archives)

George Richards Minot, 1885-1950, was Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Director of the Harvard Medical Unit and Thorndike Memorial Laboratory (TML) at Boston City Hospital (BCH). His studies of blood and nutrition led to the discovery that liver cured pernicious anemia, for which he won the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 1934. Minot was born in Boston, Massachusetts on 2 December 1885 to James Jackson Minot (1853-1938) and Elizabeth Whitney Minot (1860-1903). Minot received the AB cum laude from Harvard College in 1908, the MD cum laude from HMS in 1912, and was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from HMS in 1928. He married Marian Linzee Weld (1890-1979) on 29 June 1915, and they had three children.

Following graduation from HMS, Minot spent one year as a House Pupil at MGH. In December 1913, he began a year at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, where he worked as an Assistant Resident Physician under William Sydney Thayer, and as a research fellow in William H. Howell’s physiology laboratory. At Johns Hopkins Minot was involved with blood coagulation research and published his first paper on anemia, specifically the effects of splenectomy on nitrogen metabolism in pernicious anemia. He moved back to Boston in 1915 where he stayed for the remainder of his life.

Minot was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine at HMS in 1918 and Professor of Medicine in 1928. During his career, he was associated with a number of HMS teaching hospitals, including MGH and the Collis P. Huntington Memorial Hospital (CPHMH). At MGH he began as an Assistant in Medicine in 1915 and by 1927 was a Member of the Board of Consultation. At the Huntington he was appointed Assistant Consulting Physician in 1917 and later Physician and Chief of Medical Laboratories in 1923. During this time, he was also Associate in Medicine at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. In 1928, he was appointed Director of the TML at BCH, succeeding his friend and mentor, Francis W. Peabody. He was also appointed chief of the BCH Harvard Medical Unit's Fourth Medical Service in 1928 and Second Medical Service in 1930. Under Minot’s leadership, the TML became one of America’s leading clinical research laboratories.

Minot was known for the care and concern he paid both to the research fellows at TML and to his HMS students. He spent significant time encouraging careers and facilitating an atmosphere of exploration and innovation. The TML, under Minot, played an important role in the development of future leaders in academic medicine.

It was at the Huntington, and at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, that Minot conducted much of his research on diseases of the blood, including leukemia, lymphoma, and his pioneering work in pernicious anemia. In 1925, building on George H. Whipple’s earlier work with anemic dogs, Minot and William P. Murphy began feeding liver to anemic patients, who after only a few weeks showed decided improvement in their conditions. This was followed by the development of a liver extract. In 1934, Minot, Murphy and Whipple were awarded the Noble Prize in Medicine or Physiology for discovering the liver cure for anemia. Minot received many other honors, including the National Institute of Social Science’s Gold Medal in 1930, the Moxon Gold Medal of the Royal College of Physicians at London in 1933, and the Distinguished Service Medal from the American Medical Association in 1945.

During his life, Minot published over 100 articles during his life on his research. He also edited books and journals, and maintained active memberships in many professional organizations, including the American College of Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the American Medical Association. He was interested in the history of medicine and was involved in the improvement of several libraries.

Diagnosed with diabetes in 1921, Minot was one of the first people in Boston to receive insulin when it was made available in 1923. He suffered a cerebral thrombosis in 1947 which left him partially paralyzed, and died on February 25, 1950.

From the guide to the Papers, 1891-1951., (Francis A.Countway Library of Medicine, Center for the History of Medicine.)

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Subjects:

  • Harvard Medical School--Study and teaching
  • Hematologists
  • Concentration camps
  • Concentration camps--photographs
  • Starvation--treatment
  • Medicine
  • Hematology
  • Anemia, Pernicious
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Starvation--therapy
  • Hematologic Diseases
  • Nobel prizes

Occupations:

  • Hematologists

Places:

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