Fulton, John Farquhar, 1856-1932.

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John Farquhar Fulton was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on November 1, 1899. He received B.S. and M.D. degrees from Harvard, and a M.A. and D. Phil. from Oxford. He was appointed Sterling Professor of Physiology at Yale in 1929 and in 1951 became the first Sterling professor of the history of medicine. During World War II, Fulton served on the National Research Council. He was an authority on comparative physiology of the primate brain, neurophysiology, aviation medicine, and medical history. He collected and published books dealing with the history of science and medicine and was regarded an outstanding bibliophile. He died in New Haven, Connecticut on May 29, 1960.

John Farquhar Fulton was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on November 1, 1899, son of John Farquhar Fulton, an ophthamologist, and Edith Stanley Wheaton Fulton. Fulton received his B.S. degree from Harvard University in 1921 and went as a Rhodes Scholar to Oxford University, receiving his B.A. degree from Magdalen College in 1923. He remained at Oxford as a Christopher Welch scholar during 1923-1925 and was granted M.A. and D. Phil. degrees in 1925. He was a demonstrator in physiology and worked closely with Sir Charles Sherrington during those two years. He then returned to Harvard to study for his medical degree.

After graduating in 1927, Fulton became an associate in neurological surgery at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. He returned to Oxford from 1928 to 1930 as demonstrator in physiology and fellow of Magdalen College. He was appointed professor of physiology at Yale University in 1929 and, on his return to the United States the following year, was made Sterling professor of physiology. He also served as chairman of the Laboratory of Physiology. He relinquished these posts in 1952 to become the first Sterling professor of the history of medicine at Yale University. In 1960 he was named to head the new Department of History of Science and Medicine but did not live to assume the chair.

Fulton was considered an authority in comparative physiology of the primate brain, neurophysiology, aviation medicine, and medical history. He established the first primate physiology laboratory in the United States. He investigated the functional interrelations of various parts of the brain, the significance of overlapping somatic and autonomic motor functions and the effects of experimental lesions. With Carlyle Jacobsen, one of his students, he observed the effect of prefrontal lobotomy on a neurotic chimpanzee. This operation was later used on humans to alleviate certain mental disorders resistant to other types of treatment, but the most significant results of this work were the data revealed on the relationship between the brain and the intellect. Fulton was especially successful in relating neurophysiological backgrounds to modern clinical neurosurgery. He brought outstanding lecturers from around the world to enrich the educational experience of his students.

During the Second World War, Fulton served on the National Research Council as a member of the Committee on Aviation Medicine. He chaired the Sub-committee on Historical Records from 1940 to 1946, was vice-chairman of the Division of Medical Sciences in 1943, and chairman of the Sub-committee on Decompression Sickness from 1940 to 1946. He was also liaison to The British Medical Council. Fulton organized the Yale Aeromedical Research Unit to do research on physiological problems associated with aviation medicine. In addition, he created the Yale Faculty Committee for Receiving Oxford and Cambridge Children, Inc. to provide refuge for children in the United States during the bombing of Britain.

Almost from boyhood, Fulton was interested in collecting ancient books dealing with the development of science and medicine. He developed friendships with book dealers and other bibliophiles. His collection included approximately 11,000 titles dating from the sixteenth century to the twentieth century. Fulton brought together the collections of Harvey Cushing, Arnold Klebs, and his own to develop the Yale Medical Historical Library into one of the world centers devoted to the history of medicine and the sciences.

Fulton was considered an outstanding bibliophile. His interest in the history of early physiological and medical discoveries and in those who made them resulted in special collections and published bibliographies dealing with the works of Robert Boyle, Kenelm Digby, Michael Servetus and Girolamo Fracastoro.

Fulton wrote more than four hundred articles and nearly thirty books, including Physiology of the Nervous System, which was translated into Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, French, Japanese, and German, and the much praised Harvey Cushing, a Biography . He belonged to almost sixty societies, was honored by the governments of a dozen countries, and received nine honorary degrees, in addition to many awards and decorations.

Fulton was married in Oxford, England to Lucia Pickering, daughter of Richard Wheatland of Topsfield, Massachusetts on September 29, 1923. Soon after the couple returned from England, they established their residence at 100 Deepwood Drive in Hamden, Connecticut, where they entertained students, fellows, and visitors from around the world. John Fulton died on May 29, 1960.

From the guide to the John Farquhar Fulton papers, 1892-1988, 1920-1960, (Manuscripts and Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Fulton, John F. (John Farquhar), 1899-1960. John Farquhar Fulton papers, 1892-1988 (inclusive), 1920-1960 (bulk). Yale University Library
creatorOf John Farquhar Fulton papers, 1892-1988, 1920-1960 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Medical Association. corporateBody
associatedWith American Philosophical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Aring, Charles D., 1904- person
associatedWith Army Medical Library (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease. corporateBody
associatedWith Bailey, Percival, 1892-1973 person
associatedWith Baumgartner, Leona, 1902- person
associatedWith Berg, Margaret. person
associatedWith Booraem, Laura Fulton. person
associatedWith Boyle, Robert, 1627-1691 person
associatedWith Bronk, Detlev Wulf, 1897-1975 person
associatedWith Bucy, Paul C. person
associatedWith Cairns, Hugh, Sir, 1896-1952 person
associatedWith Clendening, Logan, 1884-1945 person
associatedWith Cushing, Harvey William, 1869-1939 person
associatedWith De Haven, Hugh. person
associatedWith Denny-Brown, D. (Derek), 1901- person
associatedWith Du Bois, Eugene F. (Eugene Floyd), 1882- person
associatedWith Dusser de Barenne, Joannes Gregorius, 1885-1940 person
associatedWith Duveen, Denis I. person
associatedWith Eisenhardt, Louise. person
associatedWith Evans, Herbert. person
associatedWith Fishbein, Morris, 1889- person
associatedWith Flexner, Louis B. (Louis Barkhouse), 1902- person
associatedWith Florey, Howard, Baron Florey, 1898-1968 person
associatedWith Francis, William Willoughby, b. 1878 person
associatedWith Franklin, Kenneth J. (Kenneth James), 1897- person
associatedWith Fulton, Edith. person
associatedWith Fulton, John F. (John Farquhar), 1899-1960. person
associatedWith Fulton, Lucia Pickering. person
associatedWith Garrison, Fielding H. (Fielding Hudson), 1870-1935 person
associatedWith George Banta Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Gerard, R. W. (Ralph Waldo), 1900- person
associatedWith Gibson, William Carleton. person
associatedWith Harvey Cushing Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Harvey, E. Newton (Edmund Newton), 1887-1959 person
associatedWith Hoff, Ebbe Curtis, 1906- person
associatedWith Hoff, H. E. (Hebbel Edward), 1907- person
associatedWith Howell, William Henry, 1860-1945 person
associatedWith Hubbell, Florence Fulton. person
associatedWith Hubbell, Ralph. person
associatedWith Ingraham, Franc D. person
associatedWith Jacobsen, Carlyle. person
associatedWith Keller, Allen D. person
associatedWith Kennard, Margaret. person
associatedWith Keynes, Geoffrey, Sir, 1887- person
associatedWith Kisch, Bruno, 1890-1966 person
associatedWith Klebs, Arnold C. (Arnold Carl), 1870-1943 person
associatedWith Lamport, Harold, 1908- person
associatedWith Larkey, Sanford V. (Sanford Vincent), 1898- person
associatedWith Leake, Chauncey Depew, 1896- person
associatedWith Liddell, Edward George Tandy, 1895-1981 person
associatedWith Light, Richard Upjohn, 1902- person
associatedWith Livingston, Robert Burr, 1918- person
associatedWith Lorente de Nó, Rafael. person
associatedWith Malloch, Archibald, 1887- person
associatedWith Mark, E. L., (Edward Laurens), 1847- person
associatedWith Meagher, Richard. person
associatedWith Medical Library Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Muirhead, Arnold Meadowcroft, 1900- person
associatedWith Nachmansohn, David, 1899- person
associatedWith National Research Council (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith O'Malley, Charles Donald. person
associatedWith Osler Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Penfield, Wilder, 1891- person
associatedWith Pijoan, Michel. person
associatedWith Relf, Louise Fulton. person
associatedWith Rosencrantz, Esther. person
associatedWith Ruch, Theodore Cedric, 1906- person
associatedWith Schullian, Dorothy M., (Dorothy May), 1906- person
associatedWith Schuman, Henry. person
associatedWith Servetus, Michael, 1511? -1553 person
associatedWith Sheehan, Donal. person
associatedWith Stevenson, Lloyd, 1918- person
associatedWith Thomas, Charles C. (Charles Crankshaw), 1904- person
associatedWith Vesalius, Andreas, 1514-1564 person
associatedWith Viets, Henry R. (Henry Rouse), 1890- person
associatedWith Walker, A. Earl (Arthur Earl), 1907- person
associatedWith W. B. Saunders Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Weed, Lewis H. (Lewis Hill), 1886-1952 person
associatedWith Wheatland family. family
associatedWith Yale Medical Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Yale Medical Library. Historical Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Yale University. Dept. of Physiology. corporateBody
associatedWith Yale University. School of Medicine. corporateBody
associatedWith Yerkes, Robert Mearns, 1876-1956 person
associatedWith Zuckerman, Solly Zuckerman, Baron, 1904- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Booksellers and bookselling
Aviation medicine
Book collecting
Decompression sickness
Frontal lobotomy
Rhodes scholarships
World War, 1939-1945
World War, 1939-1945
Medical historians


Birth 1856

Death 1932

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