Rhoads, Jonathan E.

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Jonathan Evans Rhoads was born on May 9, 1907 in a Philadelphia Quaker family that had a traditional interest in medicine. His father, Edward G. Rhoads, and his granduncle James were both physicians. Edward graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1885 and became chief resident at the Pennsylvania Hospital after serving internship first at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. He later had his own practice, working in a broad range of fields from obstetrics, pediatrics, sections of internal medicine such as infectious disease, heart and lung diseases, allergy, rheumatology to neurology and psychiatry.

Jonathan E. Rhoads was the last of the five children born to Edward G. and Margaret (Ely) Paxon Rhoads. After studying at the Germantown Friends School for eight years, Jonathan went to the Westtown School that both his parents had attended. He entered Haverford College in 1924 and graduated with B.A. in 1928. He then went on to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where he received his M.D. in 1932. His future wife Teresa Folin graduated from the same school in the same year. They married in 1936.

Jonathan Rhoads had his internship and residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania from 1932 to 1939 and thus started his long and fruitful career at Penn. For his internship, Rhoads worked under Dr. I.S. Ravdin while in the same time accepting assignments from Charles Frazier, Chairman of the department of surgery of the Penn Medical School. Rhoads became Associate in Surgery in 1939. When Ravdin left to work in a field hospital during World War II in 1942, Jonathan became acting chief of Surgical Service B at the University Hospital. In addition to his clinical duties, Rhoads continued his research interest in medicine. He received Doctor of Science degree from Penn in 1940 and served as acting director of the Harrison Department of Surgical Research at Penn Medical School from 1944 to 1945. Rhoads was appointed Assistant Professor of Surgery by the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Medicine in 1945 and by the University School of Medicine the following year. Also in 1946, he was appointed chief of Surgical Division II at the University Hospital. He was promoted as Associate Professor of Surgery in 1947, J. William White Professor of Surgical Research in 1949 and Professor of Surgery and Surgical Research in 1951.

Rhoads was one of the first to use antibiotics for surgical problems, to use vitamin K to stop bleeding and coumadin to stop clotting. Over time he became a pioneer surgical nutritionist, best known for his contribution to the landmark development of hyperalimentation in surgery, and an expert in surgical treatment of cancer.

Rhoads was elected chairman of the Penn Faculty Senate in 1954 for a two-year term. In 1956, at the nomination of Gaylord P. Harnwell, president of the University of Pennsylvania, Rhoads was appointed Provost of the University, a position he held until 1959. After stepping down from the provostship, Rhoads returned to the Medical School and was appointed John Rhea Barton Professor of Surgery and chairman of the department of surgery, chairman of the department of surgery of the University Hospital, as well as director of the Harrison Department of Surgical Research of the medical school. He held all these positions until he retired in 1972.

Busy as he was with his numerous responsibilities at Penn, especially with its Medical School and hospital, Rhoads still had time and energy for interests and commitments that went far beyond the Penn community and the medical profession. He held important positions in other hospitals of the area, serving as consultant surgeon to the Pennsylvania Hospital beginning in 1939, consultant in surgery at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and consultant to the Department of Surgery of the Germantown Hospital and Medical Center from 1958 on. In addition, Rhoads was actively involved in research, publishing and administrative work of a large number of professional and civic organizations of regional, national or international status as well as service for the United States government agencies.

He held leadership positions at dozens of prestigious institutions in the field of medicine and medical sciences, among them the American College of Surgeons (president, 1971-1972), the American Institute of Nutrition, the American Medical Association, the American Physiological Society, the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, the American Surgical Association (president, 1972-1973), the American Trauma Society (founding member, chairman of the Board of Directors, 1986-1994), the Association of American Medical Colleges (Chairman, 1968-1969), College of Physicians of Philadelphia (president, 1958-1960, snf member of multiple committees from 1952 to 1990), Institute of Medicine (senior member), International Federation of Surgical Colleges (president, 1978-1981), John Morgan Society, Pennsylvania Medical Society (chairman, 1996), Philadelphia Academy of Surgery (president, 1964-1966), Philadelphia County Medical Society (president, 1970) and Ravdin-Rhoads Surgical Society. Rhoads' long-time and dedicated service left invaluable legacies at ASPEN, ATS, CPP and IFSC in particular.

Rhoads was also on the editorial boards of six medical and surgical periodicals, among them the Annals of Surgery, Cancer, Journal of Surgical Research and the Journal of Clinical Surgery. He served on the editorial board of the Annals of Surgery from 1947 to 1977 and as its chairman from 1971 to 1973. Cancer, a journal of the American Cancer Society, had Rhoads as its editor-in-chief from 1972 to 1991. He was a member of the American Medical Writers Association.

The record of Rhoads' government service includes his work at the National Research Council, the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the United States Public Health, and the Veterans Administration. At the National Research Council, he represented the American Surgical Association from 1950 to 1962, served on the Executive Committee of the Division of Medical Sciences under the Council from 1961 to 1965, worked on the U.S. National Cancer Committee for the International Union Against Cancer in the late 1980s and was a member of a number of the Council's other Committees including the Committee on Trauma, Committee on Shock and Medical Fellowship Board. At the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Rhoads was chairman of the Surgical Drugs Advisory Committee under the Food and Drug Administration from 1971 to 1974. He was a member of the U.S. Senate Panel of Consultants on the Conquest of Cancer in 1970 and a member of the Selections Committee of the Veterans Administration from 1964 to 1970. In 1972 he was appointed by President Nixon to the National Cancer Advisory Board for a six-year term.

Outside the fields of medicine and surgery, Rhoads was committed to the administration of a multitude of civic organizations engaged in educational, scientific, religious, or general public services. Senior member of the American Philosophical Society, he served as the Society's president from 1976 to 1984. Other institutions where he served as board member or assumed other administrative responsibilities include American Friends Service Committee, Bryn Mawr College, Buckingham Mountain Foundation, Friends Hospital, Germantown Friends School, Haverford College, Benjamin and Mary Siddons Measey Foundation, Pennwalt Corporation, Philadelphia Public Health Advisory Commission, Philadelphia School District, Philadelphia Traffic Court Committee, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, and Westtown School. Through his wise counseling and active participation, Rhoads made great contribution to the growth and development of these civic organizations.

Rhoads' close affinity with the Friends Hospital, Germantown Friends School, Westtown School, Haverford College, American Friends Service Committee and the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends stemmed to a significant degree from his Quaker family background. His parents had strongly supported the relief work by the A.F.S.C. in France and Russia after World War I; his sister Esther Biddle spent over 25 years doing missionary work in Japan. After she was expatriated to America during World War II, she worked for the A.F.S.C. to relocate interned Japanese-Americans in California. When the war ended, she was one of the first to return to Japan to help with the restoration of school education in the war-ruined country. Jonathan himself accepted an invitation from the A.F.S.C. to visit South Korea during the Korean War to select a site for directed medical care for the local population. In 1969, he joined in another A.F.S.C. project for a three-week trip to Vietnam to help rehabilitate the civilian casualties there. Due to his keen interest in missionary work abroad, Rhoads gave generous support in his late years to a research project on the history of a missinoary medical school in Shanghai, China, the former dean of which he knew personally.

His outstanding achievement in medicine, dedication to the promotion of education and science and enthusiastic support of general public services were widely acclaimed and were recognized by numerous awards and honors showered upon him. Rhoads received from the American Cancer Society an award for distinguished service to cancer control in 1957, the Strittmatter Award from the Philadelphia County Medical Society in 1968, the Joseph Goldberger Award in Clinical Nutrition from the American Medical Association in 1970, the American Cancer Society National Award in 1973, a distinguished service award of the Pennsylvania Medical Society in 1975, the Papanicolaou Award for Distinguished Service in 1977, a distinguished service award of the American Surgical Association in 1979, a distinguished service award from the American Trauma Society in 1979, 1988 and 1992, the Rodman E. and Thomas G. Sheen Award for scientific accomplishment from the American Medical Association in 1980, and the Surgeon General's Medallion in 1987. In 1976, the City of Philadelphia honored its distinguished native citizen with the Philadelphia Award.

Rhoads was member or fellow of dozens of honor societies and academies, among them the Alpha Omega Alpha, Halsted Society, James Ewing Society, James IV Association of Surgeons, Phi Beta Kappa Associates, Philomathean Society, Polish Association of Surgeons, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Royal College of Surgeons of England, H. William Scott, Jr. Society, Society of Sigma XI, and Sphinx Senior Society. He received honorary degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (LL.D., 1960 and M.A. in 1971), Haverford College (D. Sc., 1962), Swarthmore College (D. Sc., 1969), the Medical College of Pennsylvania (D. Med. Sc., 1974), Hahneman Medical College (D. Sc., 1978), Thomas Jefferson University (D. Litt., 1979), Duke University (D. Sc., 1979), Georgetown University School of Medicine (D. Med. Sc., 1981), Medical College of Ohio at Toledo (D. Sc., 1985), and Yale University (D. Med. Sc., 1990).

He was invited by over forty institutions as visiting professor and authored or co-authored over 300 articles in journals or book chapters

A biographical sketch of Jonathan Rhoads will be incomplete without mentioning his two special talents that are less well-known to the public. He had an extraordinary gift of expression and was in great demand as a speaker. His numerous addresses and presentations always flow in an easy, simple and fluent style and are enlivened by fine touches of an urbane and subtle humor. Another special trait of his character was his shrewd business acuman. He was a successful investor and warmly welcomed by many institutions to their boards or committees for sound financial counselling.

In terms of business interest, his daughter Margaret Rhoads Kendon is well to the point when she commented to his biographers that like early Quakers, Rhoads urged people to earn money "as much as you honestly can." He was "not big on lots of government regulations" and "very very opposed to the idea of socialized medicine." Understandably, he had "a republican slant," was "pro business" and more interested in "getting things ahead" than the "welfare of the lowest group of people."

Jonathan had six children with Teresa Rhoads. He was widowed in 1987 and remarried Katharine Evans Goddard in 1990. Rhoads died in January 2002 and Katharine followed two years later.

From the description of Papers, 1802-2002 (bulk 1934-2002) (University of Pennsylvania). WorldCat record id: 145429220

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Rhoads, Jonathan E. Papers, 1802-2002 (bulk 1934-2002) University of Pennsylvania, Archives & Records Center
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. S. Weir Mitchell Associates Committee. Records of the chairman, 1959-1979 (span), 1960-1969 (bulk). College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn Stokes, Joseph, 1896-1972. Papers, [ca. 1920]-1972. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn William A. Altemeier Papers, 1949-1983 History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine
referencedIn Ravdin, Isidore S. (Isidore Schwaner), 1894-. Papers, 1912-1972. University of Pennsylvania, Archives & Records Center
creatorOf University of Pennsylvania. Office of the Provost. Correspondence with Johan Thorsten Sellin, 1949-1959. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Francis Clark Wood Institute for the History of Medicine. Office of the Director. Records, 1879-1987 (span), 1977-1985 (bulk). College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the President. Presidential papers of Lewis C. Scheffey, 1918-1966. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Library Committee. Minutes, 1951-1981. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
creatorOf Rhoads, Jonathan E. Correspondence to Johan Thorsten Sellin, 1986. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Joseph Stokes, Jr. Papers, 1920-1972 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn University of Pennsylvania. University Relations. News and Public Affairs. Records, 1912-1993. University of Pennsylvania, Archives & Records Center
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Altemeier, William A. person
associatedWith American Association for Cancer Research. corporateBody
associatedWith American Association for the Surgery of Trauma. corporateBody
associatedWith American Cancer Society. corporateBody
associatedWith American College of Surgeons. corporateBody
associatedWith American Friends Service Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith American Medical Association. corporateBody
associatedWith American Philosophical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. corporateBody
associatedWith American Surgical Association. corporateBody
associatedWith American Trauma Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Annals of Surgery. corporateBody
associatedWith Association of American Medical Colleges. corporateBody
associatedWith Barker, Clyde F. person
associatedWith Blumberg, Baruch S., 1925-2011. person
associatedWith Bryn Mawr College. corporateBody
associatedWith Buckingham Mountain Foundation. corporateBody
associatedWith Cancer journal. corporateBody
associatedWith Chance, Britton. person
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. corporateBody
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Library Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the President. corporateBody
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. S. Weir Mitchell Associates Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith Cooper, David Y., 1924- person
associatedWith Cosmos Club (Washington, D.C.) corporateBody
associatedWith Dudrick, Stanley J. person
associatedWith Eiseley, Loren C., 1907-1977. person
associatedWith Fagin, Claire. person
associatedWith Fitts, William T., Jr. person
associatedWith Francis Clark Wood Institute for the History of Medicine. Office of the Director. corporateBody
associatedWith Friends Hospital (Philadelphia, Pa.) corporateBody
associatedWith General Motors Cancer Research Foundation. corporateBody
associatedWith Germantown Friends School (Philadelphia, Pa.) corporateBody
associatedWith Harnwell, G. P. (Gaylord Probasco), 1903-1982. person
associatedWith Haverford College. corporateBody
associatedWith Institute of Medicine (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith International Federation of Surgical Colleges. corporateBody
associatedWith International Society of Surgery. corporateBody
associatedWith International Surgical Group. corporateBody
associatedWith Johnson, Julian. person
associatedWith Koop, C. Everett (Charles Everett), 1916- person
associatedWith Measey Foundation. corporateBody
associatedWith Miller, Leonard D. person
associatedWith Moore, Francis D. (Francis Daniels), 1913-2001. person
associatedWith National Cancer Institute (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith National Institute of General Medical Sciences (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith National Institutes of Health (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith National Panel of Consultants on the Conquest of Cancer (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith National Research Council (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Pennsylvania Medical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Pennwalt Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia County Medical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia Public Health Advisory Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. corporateBody
associatedWith Ravdin, Isidore S. (Isidore Schwaner), 1894- person
associatedWith School District of Philadelphia, Pa. corporateBody
associatedWith Silverstein, Louis. person
associatedWith Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract. corporateBody
associatedWith Society of Clinical Surgery. corporateBody
associatedWith Society of University Surgeons. corporateBody
associatedWith Southern Surgical Association (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Stokes, Joseph, 1896-1972. person
associatedWith United States. National Cancer Advisory Board. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Pennsylvania corporateBody
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associatedWith University of Pennsylvania. Office of the Provost. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Pennsylvania. School of Medicine corporateBody
associatedWith University of Pennsylvania. University Relations. News and Public Affairs. corporateBody
associatedWith Westtown Boarding School. corporateBody
associatedWith Wood, Francis C. (Francis Clark), 1901- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Hospital administrators


Birth 1907

Death 2002


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