Correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, printed material, and scrapbooks documenting the professional career of Frederic Schiller Lee, who was professor of physiology at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, 1891-1937.
The papers occupy 3 cubic feet and span the period 1867 to 1933, with the bulk of the records dating from 1909 to 1930. The papers are entirely professional in nature with no family correspondence present. The collection does not document every aspect of Lee's career: apart from clippings in the scrapbooks, for instance, there is nothing here on his long involvement with the New York Botanical Garden.
Series I. Correspondence alphabetical.
Lee's correspondence, usually both incoming and outgoing, on professional matters. The principle subject, by volume, is industrial fatigue, followed by pro-vivisection politics, professional organizations (particularly the American Physiological Society), and government scientific efforts during World War I. Principal correspondents by volume include Walter B. Cannon, J. McKeen Cattell, John G. Curtis, William Darrach, Joseph Erlanger, William H. Howell, William W. Keen, Richard M. Pearce, Frank H. Pike, and Charles S. Sherrington. There is also significant correspondence relating to Lee's involvement with the American Physiological Society, American Journal of Physiology and the New York Academy of Medicine.
Also of interest are signed letters from Bernard Baruch (Box 1:5), Samuel Gompers (Box 2:40), Irving Fisher (Box 2:33), Hiram Bingham (Box 1:20) and the publisher George Haven Putnam (Box 1:9). An eyewitness denial of the allegation that John C. Dalton, former professor of physiology at Columbia, experimented with living materials can be found in Box 1:4. T. Barbow's letter on dissension within the anti-vivisection movement is in Box 1:15. A report on the investigation of anti-vivisectionist attorney Frederick Bellamy by Harper's Weekly is in Box 1:17. Correspondence among Lee, Cannon, and Keen regarding the "Wile Case," an instance of experimentation on human subjects without their consent, is in Box 1:31.
Series II. Files, not alphabetical.
Includes certificates of membership, biographical material, and charts and drawings relating to a "bicycle ergometer."
Series III. Curtis Library.
Correspondence and other documents relating to the purchase by the College of Physicians & Surgeons of the John G. Curtis library in the history of physiology after Curtis's death in 1913.
Series IV. Columbia University.
Correspondence, minutes, reports, and other documents relating to the University in general, the College of Physicians & Surgeons, and the department of physiology. Subjects include the teaching of physiology and curriculum reform at P&S, attempts to establish a School of Public Health, and materials on the rocky genesis of the Columbia-Presbyterian alliance.
There is much on Lee's long but unsuccessful efforts to oust Russell Burton-Optiz, a professor in the department of physiology, and a series of letters with Nicholas Murray Butler, Columbia University President, 1901-45. The Columbia-Presbyterian material reveals that Lee took a more active role in planning for the Center than was previously known. Box 5:8 reveals his attempt to secure property on 122nd Street as a site for the Medical Center. Lee was also responsible for surveying academic opinion both within and without Columbia on whether the medical school (and, by inference, the proposed medical center) should be situated adjacent to Columbia's main campus on Morningside Heights or whether a separate campus was feasible. Included are responses from Lewellys Barker, Franz Boas, Harvey Cushing, Thomas Hunt Morgan, Friedrich M�ller, E.A. Sharpey-Schafer, and Charles S. Sherrington.
Additional correspondence relating to Columbia University can be found among individual correspondents in Series I.
Series V: Vivisection.
Correspondence and printed material documenting the struggle over the use of animal vivisection in biomedical research, 1909-23. The bulk of the material relates to the controversy over attempts in New York State to ban animal vivisection in the first two decades of the 20th century. In addition, there is a smaller amount of material relating to similar bills in New Jersey, Wisconsin and the U.S. Senate. There are also transcripts of speeches made by William R. Bradshaw, a spokesman for the anti-vivisection party.
Researchers should note that there is also much relating to the vivisection question in Series I, particularly among the correspondence with Walter B. Cannon and William W. Keen.
Series VI: International Physiological Congress (13th : 1929: Boston, Mass.).
Papers relating to this international gathering of physiologists for which Lee was chairman of the Finance Committee. The largest group of materials consists of correspondence with wealthy Americans asking for contributions to the Congress. There is also correspondence with the officers of the Congress including William H. Howell, Edwin J. Cohn, Dayton J. Edwards and Alfred C. Redfield, as well as printed material, lists of attendees, budgets, and committee minutes.
Series VII: New York Commission on Ventilation.
Lee was one of six members appointed to the original state commission established in 1913 to investigate acceptable methods of ventilation in school buildings. The commission published its findings as Ventilation: Report of the New York State Commission on Ventilation (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1923). Because of additional developments relating to this question, the commission was reactivated in 1926 with most of the original membership, including Lee (changes in New York's constitution, however, made it impossible for it to continue as an official state commission). This second commission published a series of reports, called "contributions," during 1927-31. Its summary report was issued in 1931 as School Ventilation: Principles and Practices (New York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers College). Both commissions were supported financially by the Milbank Memorial Fund.
Apart from the first commission's appointment papers, the series contains only records of the second commission. Included are correspondence, minutes, financial statements, drafts of the published reports, and a large number of preliminary studies done in the three study areas of Syracuse, Cattaraugus County and the Bellevue-Yorkville district of Manhattan.
Lee's fellow commission members were C.-E. A. Winslow, Chairman; Rufus Cole, Dwight D. Kimball; George T. Palmer; Earle B. Phelps; and Edward Lee Thorndike. T. J. Duffield was Executive Secretary.
Series VIII: Committee on Industrial Fatigue of the Committee on Labor, Council of National Defense.
The committee was appointed in May 1917 to study industrial fatigue in munitions and other war materiel plants. It focused particularly on the Scovill Manufacturing Company factory in Waterbury, Connecticut, and issued a report on conditions there in Fall, 1917. Included are both minutes and stenographic reports of most of the committee's meetings and a draft of the report on the Scovill plant.
Besides Lee, who served as Executive Secretary, the committee included Thomas Darlington, Chairman; Robert E. Chaddock; Raymond Dodge; David L. Edsall; P. Sargant Florence; Josephine Goldmark; Ernest G. Martin; J. W. Schereschewsky; and Ernest L. Scott.
Series IX. Miscellaneous material.
Consists of printed material (mostly programs of scientific meetings) and questionnaires sent by the American Physiological Society to its members in 1917 inquiring about national defense work in which they were involved.
Series X. Scrapbooks.
The two volumes of scrapbooks seem to have been misnumbered. Generally, the earlier material is in v. 2. Volume 1 contains reviews by Lee of scientific publications; reviews of his own publications; and newspaper clippings relating to Lee's work in industrial fatigue, his leadership of the New York Botanical Garden (1923-27), and his receipt of an honorary doctor of science degree from Columbia (1929). Volume 2 is largely made up of newspaper clippings about Lee dating from 1867 to 1932, as well as copies of his scientific articles and reviews (1889-96).