University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Eugene M. K. Geiling Papers 1891-1978

© 2012 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Geiling, Eugene M. K. Papers




5.5 linear feet (9 boxes)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Eugene M.K. Geiling (1891-1971) Professor of Pharmacology, first chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Chicago. The collection contains biographical materials, correspondence, textbooks, articles and photographs. The papers primarily document Geiling’s work at John Hopkins and the University of Chicago in the field of animal endocrinology, his work with the Animal Care Panel Training Program, and his Hilltop House residence in New York.

Information on Use


The collection is open for research.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Geiling, Eugene M. K., Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Eugene M.K. Geiling was born in the Orange Free State of South Africa on May 13, 1891 to Alexander W.H. Geiling and Theresa (Keller) Geiling. He received his B.A. from the University of South Africa in 1911. In 1914, he came to the U.S. as a fellow of the Union of the South African Government to study at the University of Illinois in the Department of Animal Husbandry and Nutrition, where he received an M.S. in 1915 and a Ph.D. in 1917 in physiological chemistry. He then returned to South Africa where he first became a lecturer in agricultural chemistry and nutrition at the Popchefstron Agricultural College and then in physiological chemistry at the College of Medicine in the University of Cape Town.

He returned to the U.S. in 1920 when he was awarded a Seesel Research Fellowship at Yale University. In 1921, he became a research assistant in the Department of Pharmacology at Johns Hopkins University, where also received his M.D. in 1923. He later became an associate professor and began to work under Dr. John Abel, who would become a close friend. Together they discovered the crystallization of insulin and the physiological effects of insulin. His later work centered around the pituitary gland and its pharmacology and anatomy, especially in that of whales.

In 1936, Geiling became the first Professor and Chairman for the newly established Department of Pharmacology at the University of Chicago .At the University of Chicago he continued his work on the pituitary gland, showing that the oxytocic, pressor and anti-diuretic hormones originated in the neural lobe of the pituitary gland and not by the intermediary lobe as previously thought.

Prior to the U.S. entering into World War II, the National Defense Research Committee asked the University of Chicago to set up a facility capable of evaluating the toxicity of chemical agents in an effort to avoid the neurological damage inflicted by the chemical warfare in World War I. When the Toxicity Laboratory was established by the University of Chicago’s Department of Pharmacology, Dr. Geiling was named the principle investigator. During the war, Geiling and his staff of 60 investigators studied the toxicity of more than 2,000 potential chemical warfare agents.

Following the war, Dr. Geiling turned his attention to a developing field, that of “isotope farming.” He developed the radioactive CO2 atmospheric technique and reported the production of radioactive digitalis to the International Congress of Cardiology in 1947. This was followed by a series of other radioactive organic drugs, which he discovered with Dr. Lloyd Roth, who was later to succeed him as the Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology.

When Geiling left the University of Chicago in 1956, he moved to Washington, D.C. where he served as a consultant to the United States Food and Drug Administration and was also a member of the Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry of the American Medical Association. Throughout the later part of his life he was a member of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physiological Society, the American Society of Biological Chemistry, the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, and the German Pharmacological Society.

Among the awards Geiling received for his work were the Mendel Medal from Villanova College in 1942 and the Oscar B. Hunter Memorial Award of the American Therapeutic Society in 1956. Geiling died on January 12, 1971 at the age of 79.

Scope Note

The Eugene M.K. Geiling Papers are organized into seven series: Series I: Personal; Series II: Correspondence; Series III: Writing and Research; Series IV: Professional; Series V: Audio-Visual; Series VI: Oversize and Series VII: Restricted. The collection contains journals, diplomas, correspondence, rolodexes, text books, articles and photographs. The papers primarily document Eugene Geiling’s work at John Hopkins and the University of Chicago in the field of animal endocrinology, his work with the Animal Care Panel Training Program, and his Hilltop House residence in New York.

Series I, Personal, contains his Mendel Medal, his rolodex, newspaper clippings, his glasses, his Sunday Missal, his National Registration Identity Card, papers from the University of Cape Town and the University of Illinois, an application for a research grant from the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and four notebooks.

Series II, Correspondence, contains both outgoing and incoming mail arranged chronologically, including holiday cards from family and friends, professional letters regarding his post at the University of Chicago and personal correspondence regarding his residence at Hilltop House.

Series III, Writing and Research, contains Geiling’s published scientific articles on toxicology and endocrinology, his papers, as well as the galley for his textbook on endocrinology and some books he used as research while writing his articles.

Series IV, Professional, contains Geiling’s University of Chicago course materials for the Animal Care Panel Training Program including lectures, schedules, syllabi, and booklets for the classes.

Series V, Audio-Visual, contains Geiling’s scientific photographs and diagrams of whales and porpoises, as well as animals, plants and humans. This series also contains Geiling’s collection of personal photographs, such as his family and friends, his home and travel, and his dogs.

Series VI, Oversize, contains a variety of oversized items, including charts, diagrams and photographs of whale biology, and his diploma from John Hopkins University.

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Subject Headings


Series I: Personal and Biographical, 1918-1964

Box 1

Pen holder from Geiling’s University of Chicago office, circa 1952

Box 1

Mendel medal, Villanova College, 1941

Box 1

Rolodex, undated

Box 1

"My Sunday Missal," signed by Geiling, undated

Box 2   Folder 1

Biographical documents, 1918-1964

Box 2   Folder 2

Articles about Geiling, 1936-1956

Box 2   Folder 3-4

Ledgers of expenses, circa 1960-1963

Box 2   Folder 5

Address book, undated

Series II: Correspondence, 1891-1978

Box 2   Folder 6

Holiday Cards, 1956-1965

Box 2   Folder 7

Holiday Cards, 1966-1978

Box 3   Folder 1

Personal Correspondence, 1891-1941

Box 3   Folder 2

Personal Correspondence, 1942-1966

Box 3   Folder 3

Professional Correspondence, 1935-1936

Box 3   Folder 4

Hilltop House Correspondence, November 1940-February 1941

Box 3   Folder 5

Hilltop House Correspondence, September 1941-April 1942

Series III: Writing and Research, undated

Box 3   Folder 6-7

Galley Print of Textbook, The Historical Development of Toxicology, undated

Box 3   Folder 8

Miscellaneous Published Articles, undated

Box 3   Folder 9

Books Used for Research, undated

Series IV: Professional, 1960s

Box 4   Folder 1

ACP (Animal Care Panel) Materials, 1963-1965

Box 4   Folder 2

ACP (Animal Care Panel) Materials, 1966

Box 4   Folder 3

AALAS (American Association for Laboratory Animal Science), [Formerly the ACP], 1967-1969

Box 4   Folder 4-5

ACP (Animal Care Panel) Materials, undated

Box 4   Folder 6

Institutional Documents, such as Budgets, Blue Prints and Diagrams

Series V: Audio-Visual, 1940s-1960s

Box 5   Folder 1

Carnegie Institute Plates of Fossils 2-37, 1936

Box 5   Folder 2

Scientific Photographs of Whales, 1, undated

Box 5   Folder 3

Scientific Photographs of Whales, 2, undated

Box 5   Folder 4

Scientific Photographs of Whales, 3, undated

Box 5   Folder 5

Scientific Photographs of Whales, 4, undated

Box 5   Folder 6

Scientific Photographs of Whales, 5, undated

Box 5   Folder 7

Scientific Photographs of Whales, 6, undated

Box 5   Folder 8

Scientific Photographs of Whales, 7, undated

Box 5   Folder 9

Scientific Photographs of Whales, 8, undated

Box 5   Folder 10

Scientific Photographs of Whales, 9, undated

Box 5   Folder 11

Scientific Photographs of Whales, 10, undated

Box 5   Folder 12

Scientific Photographs of Whales, 11, undated

Box 6   Folder 1

Scientific Photographs and Diagrams of Whales (Negatives), undated

Box 6   Folder 2

Scientific Diagrams of Whales, 1, undated

Box 6   Folder 3

Scientific Diagrams of Whales, 2, undated

Box 6   Folder 4

Scientific Diagrams of Whales, 3, undated

Box 6   Folder 5

Photographs of Whaling Village, undated

Box 6   Folder 6

Photographs of Old Whaling Prints, undated

Box 6   Folder 7

Scientific Photographs of Animals, undated

Box 6   Folder 8

Scientific Photographs of Animals (Negatives), 1, undated

Box 6   Folder 9

Scientific Photographs of Animals (Negatives), 2, undated

Box 6   Folder 10

Scientific Photographs of Plants (Negatives), undated

Box 6   Folder 11

Scientific Photographs of Human Conditions (Negatives), 1, undated

Box 6   Folder 12

Scientific Photographs of Human Conditions (Negatives), 2, undated

Box 7   Folder 1

Photographs of James A. Carberry, 1946-1964

Box 7   Folder 2

Photographs of the Abels, 1929-1943

Box 7   Folder 3

Portraits of Dr. Geiling (Underwood and Underwood), 1952

Box 7   Folder 4

Portraits of Dr. Geiling (Miscellaneous), 1, undated

Box 7   Folder 5

Portraits of Dr. Geiling (Miscellaneous), 2, undated

Box 7   Folder 6

Photographs of Major (Dr. Geiling’s Dog), undated

Box 7   Folder 7

Photographs of Victor (Dr. Geiling’s Dog), undated

Box 7   Folder 8

Photographs of Dogs (Miscellaneous), undated

Box 7   Folder 9

Photographs of Dr. Geiling at Work and at Home, undated

Box 7   Folder 10

Photographs of Dr. Geiling’s Family and Friends

Box 7   Folder 11

Photographs of Travels, undated

Box 7   Folder 12

Photographs of Hilltop House, 1940

Box 7   Folder 13

Photographs of Hilltop House, undated

Series VI: Oversize

Box 8   Folder 1

Diplomas from John Hopkins University, 1923

Box 8   Folder 2

Scientific Charts of Whales, undated

Box 8   Folder 3

Scientific Cellophane Diagrams of Whales, undated

Box 8   Folder 4

Scientific Photographs of Fish, undated

Box 8   Folder 5

Scientific Diagrams of Animal Organs, undated