- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Herbert McLean Evans

Born  1882
Died  1971

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American anatomist and physiologist, born September 1882, Modesto, California; died 1971.

Biography of Herbert McLean Evans

Herbert Mclean Evans obtained his M.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1908, working there until 1915, the last part of this period as associate professor of anatomy. From 1915 he was professor of anatomy at the University of California, Berkeley.

His scientific work comprises problems related to histology, embryology, endocrinology, and nutrition. In 1918, in his studies of chromosomes in man, he established the number of chromosomes to be 48. In 1922 he discovered the substance that promotes human growth, a hormone from the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. In 1923, with Katharine Scott Bishop (1889-1976), he discovered vitamin E - which is necessary for the reproduction of higher animals.

Besides his medical research, Herbert Mclean Evans was an indefatigable book collector. A student of Harvey Williams Cushing's at Johns Hopkins, Evans stated that he had been inspired to collect the history of science and medicine by hearing Osler deliver a speech on Michael Servetus at the Johns Hopkins Historical Club in 1909. Evans went on to build numerous collections on the history of science and medicine, none of which ever had an appropriate bibliographical catalogue. Nevertheless, Evans had a profound influence on this collecting field through the wide placement of his collections sold to institutions across the United States, further stimulating the collection of rare books in the history of science and medicine.

    "Blessed is he who contemplates the ageless order of immortal nature, how it is constituted and when and why."
    A quotation from Euripides in the introduction to his exhibition catalogue – 1934.

    "No single feature of man's past equals in importance his attempt to understand the forces of Nature and himself. It is a safe prediction that the historian of the future will be concerned increasingly with the chronicle of the intellectual acquisitions of man, for this deeper story includes not merely improvement in material comforts but mental enlargement which transcends every other feature of human evolution."
    Introduction to his exhibition catalogue – 1934.


  • H. McLean Evans (1882-1971) and Joseph Abraham Long (1879–):
    The effect of the anterior lobe administered intraperitoneally upon growth, maturity and oestrus cycles of the rat.
    Anatomical Record, 1921, 21: 62-63.
    Evans and Long discovered the growth hormone of the anterior pituitary, showing that continued injections of an anterior pituitary extract produced an acceleration in the growth-rate of laboratory animals.
  • H. McLean Evans, Katharine Scott Bishop (1889-1976):
    On the existence of a hitherto unrecognised dietary factor essential for reproduction.
    Science, Washington, 1922, 56: 650-651.
    Discovery of vitamin E. See also their late paper in The Journal of the American Medical Association, Chicago, 1923, 81: 889-892.
  • H. McLean Evans and Harold H. Cole:
    An introduction to the study of the oestrous cycle in the dog.
    Berkeley, California : University of California Press, 1931.
  • H. McLean Evans and Olive Swezy:
    Ovogenesis and the normal follicular cycle in adult Mammalia.
    Berkeley, California : University of California Press, 1931.
  • H. McLean Evans, F. Lepovsky and E. A. Murphy:
    Vital need of the body for certain unsaturated fatty acids.
    The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Baltimore, 1934, 106: 431-450.
    Isolation of vitamin F – linolenic acid.
  • H. McLean Evans:
    Exhibition of First Editions of Epochal Achievements in the History of Science. 1934.
    A small pamphlet describing an exhibition of his books and books from the University Library which he mounted at the University of California at Berkeley in June, 1934. Prepared before the existence of other guides of its type, this small pamphlet had notable influence on later American collectors in this field.
  • H. McLean Evans, O. H. Emerson and G. A. Emerson:
    The isolation from wheat-germ oil of an alcohol, á-tocopherol, having the properties of vitamin E.
    The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Baltimore, 1936, 113: 319-332.
    Isolation of vitamin E.
  • Choh Hao Li (1913), M. E. Simpson, H. M. Evans:
    Interstitial cell stimulating a hormone. II. method of preparation and some physico-chemical studies.
    Endocrinology, Philadelphia, 1940, 27, 803-808.
  • Choh Hao Li, H. M. Evans, M. E. Simpson:
    Adrenocorticotropic hormone.
    The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Baltimore, 1943, 149: 413-424.
    Isolation of pure adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) from sheep pituitary glands.
  • Choh Hao Li, H. M. Evans, M. E. Simpson:
    Isolation and properties of the anterior hypophyseal growth hormone.
    The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Baltimore, 1945, 159, 353-366.
    Isolation of the anterior pituitary growth hormone.
  • Choh Hao Li, H. M. Evans, M. E. Simpson:
    Isolation of pituitary follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
    Science, Washington, 1949, 109: 445-446.

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