Cohn, Alfred E. (Alfred Einstein), 1879-1957

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Rufus Ivory Cole served as the the director and physician-in-charge (1909-1937) of the Hospital of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, the first hospital in the United States devoted primarily to the investigation of disease. Cole's medical research centered on problems relating to immunity to diseases of the respiratory system, particularly pneumonia

From the guide to the Rufus Ivory Cole papers, ca. 1900-1966, 1900-1966, (American Philosophical Society)

Alfred E. Cohn, one of the first cardiologists in the United States, became an associate and asisstant physician at the hospital of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in 1911. He became a leader of the laboratory and clinical service devoted to the study of heart disease, a position he held until his retirement in 1944.

From the description of Papers, 1920-1954. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 154270340

Physician and author of many books and articles in the field of medicine; resided and practiced in New York City.

From the description of Papers, 1906-1917. (New York State Library). WorldCat record id: 83993376

Max Bergmann (February 12, 1886-November 7, 1944) was a biochemist, whose research proved key for the study of biochemical processes. His work on peptide synthesis and protein splitting provided a starting point for modern protein chemistry and the study of enzyme-substrate interactions. He is most noted for developing the carbobenzoxy protecting group, for the synthesis of oligopeptides, using any amino acid in any sequence. He co-authored with his colleague Joseph S. Fruton (1912-2007, APS 1967) several reviews in protein and enzyme chemistry, notably “Proteolytic Enzymes,” in the Annual Review of Biochemistry 10 (1941): 31-46 and “The Specificity of Proteinases,” in Advances in Enzymology 1 (1941): 63-98.

Bergmann was born in Fürth, Germany, the son of a coal merchant named Solomon Bergmann and his wife Rosalie Stettauer. He entered the University of Munich, initially interested in botany, but shifted to chemistry, after being convinced that biological questions could only be answered by the methods of organic chemistry. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1907, and afterward became a student of Emil Fischer (1838-1914, APS 1909), the foremost protein and carbohydrate chemist of the day at the University of Berlin. In 1911 Bergmann received a Ph.D. with a dissertation on acyl polysulfides and became Fischer’s research assistant. In 1912 Bergmann married Emmy Miriam Grunwald with whom he had two children. The marriage ended in divorce, and he remarried Martha Suter in 1926. During World War I Bergmann was exempted from military service because of his research work with Fischer. While working with Fischer, Bergmann made important contributions to carbohydrate, lipid, tannin and amino acid chemistry, developing new methods for the preparation of α-monoglycerides. In 1920 Bergmann was appointed Privatdozent at the University of Berlin and head of the chemistry department at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Textile Research.

Bergmann left the University of Berlin in 1921 to become the director of the new Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Leather Research and Professor of chemistry at the Dresden Technical University. At Dresden, Bergmann created one of the world’s leading laboratories for the study of protein chemistry. After Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, Bergmann, a Jew, emigrated to the United States. From 1934 until his death Bergmann was affiliated with the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York.

Bergmann represents the tradition of German organic chemistry applied to biological problems. Working with his mentor Fischer, who sought effective methods to separate and identify amino acids, and who identified the peptide bond as the structure that connects amino acids, Bergmann made many basic contributions to protein and amino acid chemistry. In Dresden he extended Fischer’s work of separating and identifying the amino acid constituents of proteins. In order to establish the conjecture of some protein chemists that proteins were, in fact, polypeptides, containing thousands of amino acids, Bergmann developed new methods of peptide synthesis. The most important discovery came in 1932, when he and his colleague Leonidas Zervas created the carbobenzoxy method allowing them to use any amino acid in any sequence to produce peptides and polypeptides that closely resembled naturally occurring proteins.

Bergmann continued this work in New York at the Rockefeller Institute, stressing two new lines of research: (1) expanding the carbobenzoxy method to form peptides that could serve as substrates for protein-splitting enzymes, and (2) unraveling the total structure of proteins. After becoming head of the chemistry laboratory at the Rockefeller Institute in 1937, Bergmann recruited several talented biochemists. Along with his colleague Joseph Fruton, he discovered the first synthetic peptide substrates for which several enzymes were catalysts. When they demonstrated that the enzyme pepsin was able to catalyze the hydrolysis of synthetic peptides, they implicated the peptide bond in protein structure, but also provided the first clear evidence that specific enzymes split peptides at exact linkages in the chain. Their discovery cleared the path for study of how enzymes act as catalysts for every biological function.

Bergmann’s methods of analysis and synthesis proved incapable of solving the riddle of protein structure. He applied methods for separation and quantitative analysis to every amino acid in a protein in an attempt to establish their sequence in the polypeptide chain. In 1938 he proposed a theory of the systematic recurrence in the location of every amino acid residue in the peptide chain of a protein. However, his hypothesis proved an oversimplification. Two biochemists in his working group, Standford Moore and William Stein, showed him that the analytical data did not support his “periodic theory,” and Bergmann was forced to abandon it. Moore and Stein later collaborated in developing novel methods for quantitative analysis of amino acids in protein hydrolysates, methods they perfected after World War II. By 1949 it was possible to determine the order of the links of each amino acid in a protein. The Englishman Frederick Sanger was the first to establish the complete amino acid sequence in a protein, the hormone insulin. Moore and Stein followed by identifying the sequence of a more complex protein, the enzyme ribonuclease.

Bergman died of cancer in New York City on November 7, 1944. His mastery of peptide synthesis and protein splitting constituted the beginnings of modern protein chemistry. Bringing to the United States a background in German organic chemistry, he laid the foundations for the work of others, who would fulfill Bergmann’s goal of understanding and mapping the molecular structure of proteins and enzymes. His research colleagues found him a supportive leader and collaborator. He coauthored a number of publications with other members of his research group.

From the guide to the Max Bergmann papers, [ca. 1930]-1945, 1930-1945, (American Philosophical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Felix Frankfurter papers, 1846-1966 (bulk 1907-1966). Library of Congress
referencedIn Lash, Joseph P., 1909-1987. Papers, 1934-1978. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Sabin, Florence Rena, 1871-1953. Papers, 1907-1940. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Rufus Ivory Cole papers, ca. 1900-1966, 1900-1966 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Frankfurter, Felix. Felix Frankfurter Papers. 1900-1965. Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
referencedIn Felix Frankfurter Papers, 1846-1966, (bulk 1907-1966) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Richard Harrison Shryock papers, [ca. 1918-1972], Circa 1918-1972 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Davis, William Hammatt, 1879- . Papers, 1905-1963. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Simon Flexner Papers, 1891-1946 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Opie, Eugene Lindsay, 1873-1971. Papers, [ca. 1919]-1971. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Ernst P. Boas Papers, ca. 1907-1955 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Lerner, Max, 1902-2001. Max Lerner papers, 1927-1992 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965. Papers of Felix Frankfurter, 1900-1965. Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
referencedIn L. C. Dunn Papers, ca. 1920-1974 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Rivers, Thomas M. (Thomas Milton), 1888-1962. Papers, [ca. 1941-1963]. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Eugene Opie Papers, Circa 1919-1971 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Cohn, Alfred E. (Alfred Einstein), 1879-1957. Papers, 1906-1917. New York State Library
referencedIn Bergmann, M. (Max), 1886-1944. Papers, [ca. 1930]-1945. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Florence Rena Sabin Papers MS 136., 1872-1985 Sophia Smith Collection
creatorOf Max Bergmann papers, [ca. 1930]-1945, 1930-1945 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Max Lerner papers, 1927-1998 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Hench, Philip S., 1896-1965. Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection, 1806-1995, bulk 1863-1974 Historical Collections, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia
creatorOf Cohn, Alfred E. (Alfred Einstein), 1879-1957. Letters, 1941-1951, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Dunn, L. C. (Leslie Clarence), 1893-1974. Papers, [ca. 1920]-1974. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Thomas M. Rivers Papers, 1887-1963 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Flexner, Simon, 1863-1946. Papers, 1891-1946. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Cohn, Alfred E. (Alfred Einstein), 1879-1957. Alfred E. Cohn papers, Rockefeller University Faculty, circa 1896-1980. Rockefeller Archive Center, Rockefeller University, Pocantico Hills
referencedIn Cole, Rufus Ivory, 1872-1966. Papers, ca. 1900-1966. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Flexner, Simon, 1863-1946. Papers, 1891-1946. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Shryock, Richard Harrison, 1893-1972. Papers, [ca. 1918-1972]. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Sabin, Florence Rena, 1871-1953. Papers, 1872-1985. Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn George Sarton additional papers, 1901-1956 Houghton Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
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associatedWith Christian, Henry A., (Henry Arthur), 1931- person
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associatedWith Hench, Philip S. (Philip Showalter), 1896-1965 person
associatedWith Herter, Christian Archibald, 1865-1910 person
associatedWith Institute for Psychoanalysis, Chicago. corporateBody
associatedWith Jelliffe, Smith Ely, 1866-1945. person
associatedWith Johns Hopkins University. corporateBody
associatedWith Joint Distribution Committee (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Kean, Jefferson Randolph, 1860-1950 person
associatedWith Kessel, Leo, 1881-1932. person
associatedWith Landsteiner, Karl, 1868-1943. person
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associatedWith Lash, Joseph P., 1909-1987. person
associatedWith Laski, Harold Joseph, 1893-1950. person
associatedWith Lazear, Jesse William, 1866-1900 person
associatedWith Lerner, Max, 1902- person
associatedWith Lerner, Max, 1902-2001. person
associatedWith Lewis, Thomas, Sir, 1881-1945. person
associatedWith Loewi, Otto, 1873-1961 person
associatedWith MacInnes, Duncan Arthur, 1885-1965 person
associatedWith MacLeish, Archibald, 1892-1982. person
associatedWith Mclean, Franklin C. (Franklin Chambers), 1888-1968. person
associatedWith Moe, Henry Allen, 1894-1975 person
associatedWith Murray, Henry Alexander, b. 1893. person
associatedWith Murrow, Edward R., 1908-1975. person
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associatedWith New York Academy of Medicine. corporateBody
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associatedWith Opie, Eugene Lindsay, 1873-1971. person
associatedWith Osterhout, W. J. V., (Winthrop John Van Leuven), 1871-1964 person
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associatedWith Rockefeller, John D., (John Davison), 1874-1960 person
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correspondedWith Sabin, Florence Rena, 1871-1953 person
correspondedWith Sarton, George, 1884-1956 person
associatedWith Shryock, Richard Harrison, 1893-1972. person
associatedWith Singer, Charles Joseph, 1876-1960. person
associatedWith Stafford, Jean, 1915-1979. person
associatedWith Sturgis, Cyrus Cressey, 1891-1966 person
associatedWith Uber, Fred Murray, 1905- person
associatedWith United States. Army corporateBody
associatedWith Urey, Harold Clayton, 1893-1981 person
associatedWith Van Doren, Mark, 1894-1972. person
associatedWith Van Slyke, Donald Dexter, 1883-1971 person
associatedWith Waksman, Selman A., (Selman Abraham), 1888-1973 person
associatedWith Weaver, Warren, 1894-1978 person
associatedWith Welch, William Henry, 1850-1934 person
associatedWith Weyl, Hermann, 1885-1955. person
associatedWith Whitehead, Alfred North, 1861-1947. person
associatedWith White, Paul Dudley, 1886-1973. person
associatedWith Williams, Linsly R., (Linsly Rudd), 1875-1934 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (State)--New York
Great Britain
New York (N.Y.)
Digitalis (Drug)
African Americans--Medical care
Medical students
Heart disease
Chemistry--United States
Medicine--Research--United States
Scientists, Refugee
Jewish scientists
Science--Societies, etc
World War, 1914-1918
Hospitals--New York (State)--Administration
Universities and colleges--Graduate work
Biochemistry--United States
Political refugees
Scientists--United States
Medical education
Biochemists--United States


Birth 1879-04-16

Death 1957-07-20





Ark ID: w6w37xkc

SNAC ID: 60416177