- 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.

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