- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Allen Oldfather Whipple

Born  1881
Died  1963

Related eponyms

American surgeon, born September 2, 1881, Urmia, Persia; died April 6, 1963, Princeton, Mercer, New Jersey.

Biography of Allen Oldfather Whipple

Allen Oldfather Whipple was born in Iran, the son of William Levi Whipple (1845-1901) and Mary Louise Allen (1850-1937), then serving as missionaries in Azerbaijan, Persia (now Iran). During the 14 years he spent in Persia, Whipple learned to read and speak English, French, Armenian, Syriac (Assyrian), Turkish and Persian.

After working his way through school and college, Whipple attended Princeton University until 1904, and then went to the medical school at Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. He received his MD in 1908, and then spent three years in residency at the Roosevelt and Sloan Hospitals, N.Y. He commenced surgical practice in 1910, and in 1911, he was appointed to the faculty at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Presbyterian staff.

On September 26, 1912, Whipple married Mary Neales in Falmouth, Barnstable, Massachusetts

In 1921, Whipple became professor of surgery at Columbia, New York, and then Surgeon in Chief at the Presbyterian Hospital. Ten years later, the Valentine Mott chair of surgery was established for him. He retired in 1946 as professor emeritus and consultant in surgery.

Apart from his contributions to disorders of the pancreas, Whipple was an authority on literature and ancient cultures and was especially interested in the Orient and in medical history. During his student time at Princeton, he excelled tutoring classmates in Latin, and taking elective courses in Arabic. Towards the end of his life, Whipple returned to the Middle east, this time as a medical historian.


  • Role of the Nestorians as the connecting link between Greek and Arabic medicine.
    Annals of Medical History (new series), New York, 1936, 8 (2): 313-323.
  • The story of wound healing and wound repair. Springfield, Illinois : Thomas, 1963.
  • The Role of Nestorians and Moslems in the History of Medicine.
    Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1967.
  • Samir Johna and Moshe Schein, editors:
    The Memoirs of Allen Oldfather Whipple: the man behind the Whipple operation.
    TFM Publishing, UK, 2003.
  • Samir Johna:
    Allen Oldfather Whipple: A distinguished Surgeon and Historian.
    Digestive Surgery, 2003, 20: 154-162.
We thank Andrew Morgan, Library Assistant, The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, for information submitted.

What is an eponym?

An eponym is a word derived from the name of a person, whether real or fictional. A medical eponym is thus any word related to medicine, whose name is derived from a person.

What is Whonamedit?

Whonamedit.com is a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms. It is our ambition to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person.


Whonamedit? does not give medical advice.
This survey of medical eponyms and the persons behind them is meant as a general interest site only. No information found here must under any circumstances be used for medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically or otherwise. If you, or anybody close to you, is affected, or believe to be affected, by any condition mentioned here: see a doctor.