Gregg, Alan, 1890-1957

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Physician.

From the description of Reminiscences of Alan Gregg : oral history, 1956. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 309731199

Alan Gregg (1890-1957), a career Rockefeller Foundation officer, was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to James B. Gregg, a Congregational minister, and his wife Mary (Needham) Gregg. Gregg practiced medicine from 1917-1919 as a member of the Harvard Medical Unit attached to the British Army during World War I. After the war, the Rockefeller Foundation hired him as a public health officer; in this capacity he served in Brazil on hookworm and malaria campaigns from 1919 to 1922. He was Associate Director in the Division of Medical Education, 1922-1930; Director of the Division of Medical Sciences, 1930-1951; and, Vice-President of the Foundation, 1951-1956. Throughout his professional career Gregg traveled the world seeking opportunities to use the Foundation's financial resources to further the cause of medical research, particularly in the areas of psychiatry and public health. He is often credited with convincing physicians to treat mental illness as a disease. Gregg also promoted the practice of "Great Medicine" in which a team of medical and paramedical specialists aid the physician in patient care; he conceived the idea as a result of his experiences with the practices of European medical schools during the 1920s. In addition, Gregg supported voluntary prepaid insurance plans, which he believed played an important role in public health by lowering costs and promoting access to medical care.

From the description of Alan Gregg papers, 1900-1985. (National Library of Medicine). WorldCat record id: 14318345

Gregg (A.B. 1911), a medical doctor, worked with the Rockefeller Foundation from 1922 to 1956.

In 1927, the Rockefeller Foundation International Health Board ceased to function, and its work was taken over by the International Health Division.

From the description of Letters : to Mary Lee, 1919-1942. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612867842

Alan Gregg (1890-1957), a career Rockefeller Foundation officer, was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to James B. Gregg, a Congregational minister, and his wife Mary (Needham) Gregg. Alan Gregg enrolled at Harvard College in 1907, earning a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1911. After traveling in Europe for a year, he entered the Medical School at Harvard in 1912 and received his medical degree in 1916. Following graduation, Gregg interned at Massachusetts General Hospital.

After completing his internship, Gregg practiced medicine from 1917-1919 as a member of the Harvard Medical Unit attached to the British Army during World War I. After the war, the Rockefeller Foundation hired him as a public health officer; in this capacity he served in Brazil on hookworm and malaria campaigns from 1919 to 1922. Upon his return to the United States, he was named Associate Director in the Division of Medical Education; for the first two years Gregg's main job consisted of reviewing grant applications. The Foundation sent Gregg to France in 1924 as the head of its Paris office. While in Europe, he examined and reported on the state of medical education in various European countries as well as suggesting areas where Rockefeller Foundation funding or programs could bring about improvement.

In 1923, Gregg married Eleanor Barrows, a mental-health social worker. Over the next decade the Greggs had four children, Peter Alan, Nancy Barrows, Richard Alexander (Sandy), and Michael Barrows.

Gregg remained in France until 1931, when he was appointed Director of the newly reorganized Division of Medical Sciences in New York City. Serving as Division Director for twenty years, Gregg frequently and successfully argued in favor of projects that elsewhere were regarded as too controversial to be funded, such as Alfred Kinsey's research on human sexual behavior. From 1951 until his retirement in 1956, Gregg held the office of Vice-President of the Rockefeller Foundation, spending much of his time consulting, lecturing, and writing on medical education and research, public health issues, and the philosophy of philanthropy.

Throughout his professional career Gregg traveled the world seeking opportunities to use the Foundation's financial resources to further the cause of medical research, particularly in the areas of psychiatry and public health. He is often credited with convincing physicians to treat mental illness as a disease. Gregg also promoted the practice of "Great Medicine" in which a team of medical and paramedical specialists aid the physician in patient care; he conceived the idea as a result of his experiences with the practices of European medical schools during the 1920s. In addition, Gregg supported voluntary prepaid insurance plans, which he believed played an important role in public health by lowering costs and promoting access to medical care.

During his tenure as Rockefeller Foundation Vice President, Gregg served as an advisor and consultant to organizations such as the Atomic Energy Commission, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Veterans Administration, the Hoover Commission and the Office of Defense Mobilization. He also lobbied strongly for the 1956 legislation that created the National Library of Medicine. Gregg eschewed personal awards, thinking they might influence his judgment in awarding funds to individual institutions. However, after his retirement, he accepted a special Lasker Award from the American Public Health Association. Gregg died less than a year later, on June 19, 1957, in Big Sur, California, where he had retired.

  • 1890: Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado (July 11)
  • 1911: Received B.S., Harvard College
  • 1916: Received M.D., Harvard Medical School
  • 1917 - 1919 : Served with Harvard Medical Unit, British Army
  • 1919 - 1922 : Public health officer, Brazil, Rockefeller Foundation
  • 1922 - 1930 : Associate Director, Division of Medical Education, Rockefeller Foundation
  • 1923: Married Eleanor Agnes Barrows
  • 1924 - 1930 : Head of Paris office, Rockefeller Foundation
  • 1930 - 1951 : Director, Division of Medical Sciences, Rockefeller Foundation
  • 1951 - 1956 : Vice President, Rockefeller Foundation
  • 1954 - 1956 : Lobbied for National Library of Medicine
  • 1956: Received special Lasker Award for contributions to public health
  • 1957: Died in Big Sur, California (June 19)
Awards Albert Lasker Award Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government Citation Order For the Encouragement of Philanthropy, First Class, Bulgaria Royal Army Unit Citation, Harvard Medical Unit, British Expeditionary Force Memberships American Academy of Arts and Sciences American Association for the Advancement of Science New York Academy of Medicine

From the guide to the Alan Gregg Papers, 1900-1985, (History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Gregg, Alan, 1890-1957. Letters : to Mary Lee, 1919-1942. Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn Robbins, William Jacob, 1890-1978. Papers, 1898-1974. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn American Scholar records, 1926-2006 (bulk 1944-2005). Library of Congress
referencedIn Yerkes, Robert Mearns, 1876-1956. Robert Mearns Yerkes papers, 1822-1985 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Peyton Rous Papers, Circa 1917-1970 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn William Jacob Robbins papers, 1896-1974, 1896-1974 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Davis, Jackson, 1882-1947. Papers of Jackson Davis, 1910-1947. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Rockefeller Foundation. China Medical Board Records, 1913-1929. Rockefeller Archive Center, Rockefeller University, Pocantico Hills
referencedIn Stone, Robert S. (Robert Spencer), 1895-1966. Robert S. Stone papers, 1940-1956. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn American Scholar, Records, 1926-2006, (bulk 1944-2005) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Yerkes, Robert Mearns, 1876-1956. Robert Mearns Yerkes papers, 1822-1985 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Robert Mearns Yerkes papers, 1822-1985 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Lee, Mary, 1891-1982. Papers, 1834-1982 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Gregg, Alan, 1890-1957. Alan Gregg papers, 1900-1985. National Library of Medicine
referencedIn Rous, Peyton, 1879-1970. Papers, ca. 1917-1970. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Gregg, Alan, 1890-1957. Reminiscences of Alan Gregg : oral history, 1956. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Alan Gregg Papers, 1900-1985 History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine
referencedIn Joseph Stokes, Jr. Papers, 1920-1972 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Stokes, Joseph, 1896-1972. Papers, [ca. 1920]-1972. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Wendell family papers, ca. 1620-1921. Houghton Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith American Scholar corporateBody
associatedWith Ames, Adelbert, 1880- person
associatedWith Ames, Adelbert, 1880- person
associatedWith Benison, Saul, person
associatedWith China Medical Board (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Davis, Jackson, 1882-1947. person
associatedWith Fosdick, Raymond Blaine, 1883-1972. person
associatedWith Harvard University corporateBody
associatedWith Hill, Lister, 1894-1984 person
associatedWith Kinsey, Alfred C. (Alfred Charles), 1894-1956 person
associatedWith Lambert, R. W. (Robert Wilson), 1934- person
associatedWith Lee, Mary, 1891-1982, person
associatedWith Massachusetts General Hospital. corporateBody
associatedWith Robbins, William Jacob, 1890-1978. person
associatedWith Rockefeller Foundation. corporateBody
associatedWith Rockefeller Foundation. International Health Board. corporateBody
associatedWith Rockefeller Foundation. International Health Division. corporateBody
associatedWith Rous, Peyton, 1879-1970. person
associatedWith Rusk, Dean person
associatedWith Rusk, Dean person
associatedWith Soper, Fred Lowe, 1893-1977 person
associatedWith Stokes, Joseph, 1896-1972. person
associatedWith Stone, Robert S. (Robert Spencer), 1895-1966. person
associatedWith United States. Veterans Administration corporateBody
correspondedWith Wendell family. family
associatedWith Yerkes, Robert Mearns, 1876-1956. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Brazil
Italy
Brazil
Colombia
Subject
Public health
Population dynamics
Public health personnel--Interviews
Education, Medical, Graduate
World health
Physicians--Interview
Medical education
Mental health
Occupation
Physicians
Function

Person

Birth 1890

Death 1957

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