- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Arnold Rice Rich

Born  1893
Died  1968

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American pathologist, born March 28, 1893, Birmingham, Alabama; died April 17, 1968, Baltimore, Maryland.

Biography of Arnold Rice Rich

Arnold Rice Rich was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the second of two children in a prosperous southern family. His father was the owner of a mercantile business. Following his elementary schooling in Birmingham, Rich was sent to a military preparatory academy – The Bingham School – in North Carolina. He then entered the University of Virginia, wanting to become a mining engineer. However, due to his dislike of mathematics he chose biology instead. During his last year there, working in the zoology department, he investigated the proboscis of a flat worm – Planaria albissima – which when separated from the body would ingest anything, but was selective when attached to the worm.

From biology in Virginia, Rich in the fall of 1915 moved on to the Johns Hopkins Medical School, Baltimore. He graduated M.D. in 1919, along with membership of the Alpha Omega Alpha. He was associated with Johns Hopkins for the rest of his life.

Rich's specialization in pathology was to a large degree due to the influence of the physiologist William Henry Howell (1860-1945), with whom he spent much time in the research laboratory. His initial research on blood coagulation was done with Howell.

During World War I, Rich and other medical students from Johns Hopkins were regimented into the Johns Hopkins Unit of the Students Army Training Corps. Because of his previous military training, Rich was made a sergeant. His experiences during the war made him more interested in practical medicine and less in theory, and he wanted to go into experimental surgery. William Stewart Halsted (1852-1922), the professor of surgery, suggested he devote himself to pathology for a year as a preparation for a surgical internship, working under William George McCallum (1874-1944). Except for a sabbatical year studying with the internist Hans Eppinger (1879-1946) in Vienna, Rich remained in the Hopkins pathology department for his entire career.

Arnold Rice Rich was appointed professor of pathology in 1944, succeeding McCallum, and in 1947 he became the third Baxley Professor of Pathology, Chairman of the Pathology Department, and pathologist-in-chief of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Rich became professor emeritus in 1958 but retained his interest in pathology until his death in 1968. He was a popular teacher, as demonstrated by the number of students and staff attending the weekly clinical-pathological conferences. For a period Louis Hamman was Rich's first clinical opponent at these conferences.

Rich received numerous honours. He was made a member of the National Academy of Science, and in 1951 France gave him her greatest honour, making him chevalier de la Légion d'honneur.

Arnold Rice Rich was by American standard an eccentric. He rarely arrived at work before 12, often working late into the night. He was a fly fisher, engraver, poet and composer who played the violin and was a member of a chamber music group. Another great interest of his was literature, and he did extensive studies on the "Source of the Nile". In 1925 he married Helen Jones, a talented pianist and composer, whom he had met in 1915. They had two children.

Rich's important research cover a broad field. He made contributions to the classification of jaundice, and made important investigations elucidating the formation of bile pigment. A major portion of his research was devoted to pursuing the relationship between hypersensitivity and immunity, especially related to tuberculosis. He demonstrated that peri-arteritis could result from hypersensitivity to drugs such as sulphonamides, and he identified the Gaucher cell as a phagocyte.

We thank Søren Nørby, Denmark, for correcting en error in the original entry.


  • Reactions of the probiscis of Planaria albissima Vejdovsky. With W. A. Kepper.
    The Journal of Experimental Zoology, New York, 1918, 28: 83-100.
  • Experimental studies concerning the site of origin of bilirubin.
    Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, 1923, 34: 321-329.
  • The formation of bile pigments from haemoglobin in tissue cultures.
    Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, 1924, 35: 415-416.
  • The formation of bile pigment.
    Physiological Reviews, Bethesda, Maryland, 1925, 5: 182-224
    Elucidating the origin of bilirubin and the bile pigments.
  • Mechanism of allergy in tuberculosis. With M. R. Lewis. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, New York, 1928, 25: 596-598.
  • The role of allergy in tuberculosis.
    Archives of Internal Medicine, Chicago, 1929, 43: 691-714.
  • An enquiry concerning the role of allergy, immunity and other factors of importance in the pathogenesis of human tuberculosis. With H. A. McCordock.
    Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, 1929, 44: 273-424.
  • The pathogenesis of the forms of jaundice.
    Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, 1930, 47: 338-377.
  • A clinical-pathological conference. Two instances of jaundice.
    With Louis V. Hamman.
    International Clinics, 43d series, 1933: 3: 230-253.
  • The role of hypersensitivity in perioarteritis nodosa; as indicated by seven cases developing during serum sickness and sulfonamide therapy.
    Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, 1942, 71: 123-135.
    Rich considered hypersensitivity to be an important factor in the aetiology of periarteritis nodosa.
  • The experimental demonstration that periarteritis nodosa is a manifestation of hypersensitivity. With J. E. Gregory.
    Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, 1943, 72: 65-82.
  • The pathogenesis if tuberculosis. Springfield : C. C. Thomas, 1944.
    Classic work on the pathogenesis of tuberculosis and its immunology and hypersensitivity. Biographical:
  • Anonymous:
    Arnold Rice Rich (1893--1968).
    CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, Atlanta, Georgia, 1979, 29(2): 112-114.
  • I. L. Bennett, Jr:
    Arnold Rice Rich. 1893-1968.
    Transactions of Association of American Physicians,1968, 81: 20-21.
  • A. M. Harvey:
    Compleat Clinician and a Renaissance Pathologist: Louis Hamman and Arnold R. Rich. The Johns Hopkins Medical Journal, Baltimore, 1975, 136: 212-219.
  • A. M. Harvey:
    Compleat clinician and Renaissance pathologist: Louis Hamman and Arnold Rich.
    The Johns Hopkins Medical Journal, Baltimore, 1976, Supplement: 139-151.
  • E. H. Oppenheimer:
    Arnold Rice Rich, March 28, 1893--April 17, 1968.
    Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, 1979, 50: 331-350.
  • C. W. Wainwright:
    Memorial. Arnold Rice Rich. M.D. Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, Baltimore, MD, 1969, 80: liv-lvi.

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