Langmuir, Alexander D.

Variant names

Hide Profile

Langmuir earned his Harvard AB in 1931.

From the description of Herein are contained some odd and interesting facts concerning the Boston editions of the Tribune Primer : a little book of nonsense by Eugene Field / compiled by Alexander D. Langmuir. [1931] (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 77075939

Alexander Duncan Langmuir, 1910-1993, AB, 1931, Harvard College; MD, 1935, Cornell University; MPH, 1940, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, was Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard Medical School from 1970 to 1977. As chief epidemiologist of the United States Public Health Service Epidemiology Branch (later the Centers for Disease Control), he established programs for the control of diseases related to population and environmental health.

From the description of Papers, 1953-1971. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 83087536

Educator, epidemiologist.

From the description of Reminiscences of Alexander Duncan Langmuir : oral history, 1964. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122527541

Alexander D. Langmuir (1910-1993), AB, 1931, Harvard College; MD, 1935, Cornell University; MPH, 1940, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, was Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard Medical School from 1970 to 1977 and chief epidemiologist for the Epidemiology Branch of the Public Health Service of the National Communicable Disease Center (later the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC) from 1949 to 1970.

Alexander Duncan Langmuir was born in Santa Monica, California in 1910. Greatly influenced by his uncle, Irving Langmuir, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1932, he went into the medical field. He received an A.B. from Harvard College in 1931, an M.D. from Cornell University Medical College in 1935, and his M.P.H. from John Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in 1940. From 1942 to 1946, Langmuir worked for the New York State Health Department in Albany, serving as the Deputy Commissioner of Health for Westchester County. During World War II, he was a member of the Army’s Commission on Acute Respiratory Diseases at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After the war, Langmuir served as an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (1946 to 1949) and a Clinical Professor of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta (1950 to 1970). During this time, Langmuir also served as the chief epidemiologist for the National Communicable Disease Center. During his directorship, Langmuir defined disease surveillance, establishing a model that was accepted globally, and in 1961, he implemented the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the CDC to disseminate public health data and research results.

Langmuir is widely known for his work on developing surveillance techniques for monitoring and controlling disease, resulting in the creation of the Epidemiological Intelligence Service in 1951. In 1952, he convened the first Conference of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. Langmuir wrote extensively on all phases of epidemiology on a global basis and was recognized internationally as a leading contributor in epidemiology. He contributed to the radiation studies that followed the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the global smallpox eradication program. In later years, he criticized the CDC’s tracking of the spread of AIDS. During his lifetime, he received awards from the Charles A. Dana Foundation for pioneering achievements in public health, the American Public Health Association, and the Royal Society of Medicine in England. Langmuir became a Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard Medical School in 1970, where he remained until 1977. He served as a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health from 1988 until his death in 1993.

Langmuir married Sarah Ann Harper (d. 1969) in 1940 and had five children: Ann Ruggles (b. 1941); Paul Harper (b. 1942); Susan Davis (b. 1945); Lynn Adams (b. 1951); and Jane Adams (b. 1954). In 1970, he married Leona Baumgartner (1902-1991), the first woman to serve as Commissioner of Health of New York City. Langmuir died of kidney cancer in 1993 in Baltimore.

From the guide to the Papers, 1953-1972 (inclusive), 1965-1970 (bulk)., (Center for the History of Medicine.Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.)

Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S) corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard University corporateBody
associatedWith Phillips, Harlan B., person
correspondedWith Provine, William B. person
associatedWith United States Public Health Service. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Environmental health
Public health


Birth 1910-09-12

Death 1993-11-22




Ark ID: w6j17n5w

SNAC ID: 71995990