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Archibald Philip Bard

Born  1898
Died  1977

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American physiologist, born October 25, 1898, "Berylwood", Hueneme, Ventura County, California; died April 5, 1977, Santa Barbara, California.

Biography of Archibald Philip Bard

Archibald Philip Bard was the youngest of seven children born to Thomas Robert Bard (1841-1915) and Mary Beatrice (Geberding) Bard (born 1858). Bard's ancestors had emigrated from Ireland's County Antrim in 1741 and settled in Pennsylvania. His father was a distinguished citizen of California and served it as Senator from 1901 to 1905.

Bard first went to school in Pasadena, then at 14 enrolled in the Thatcher preparatory school in the Ojai Valley of Ventura County, California. Bard did not excel at school, taking greater interest in horses and baseball. However, when he graduated from the Thatcher School in 1916 he had already developed an enduring interest in biomedical science, had obtained and read the 1905 edition of William Henry Howell's (1860-1945) Textbook of Physiology, and had made his first attempt at physiological experimentation.

America entered World War I in 1917. Bard in June that year volunteered to the Stanford unit of the U.S. Army Ambulance Corps. He served during six campaigns on the Western Front, his copy of Howell along with his duffle.

Upon his return to California in 1919, Bard sought advice from Walter Clement Alvarez (1884-1978) who told him about his experience in the Cannon laboratory and encouraged his interest in biomedical science.

Bard entered Princeton in 1919 and soon established himself as a superior scholar. His teachers of biology were Edwin Grant Conklin (1863-1952) and Edmund Newton Harvey (1887-1959), two of the greatest scientists then active in this field. It was the latter who influenced him to abandon medicine as a career and engage in research in physiology.

In the fall of 1924 Bard, with his wife Harriet and their first child, Virginia, moved to Cambridge, where he entered the Division of Medical Sciences at Harvard University to work for the Ph. D under the direction of Walter Cannon. Around Professor Cannon were scientists from all over the world, and there was an exceptional faculty in physiology.

One of Cannon's research topics was the central nervous mechanisms in emotional expressions. This attracted Bard's enduring interest and became the subject of his thesis research. In a long series of investigations, Bard studied the integrating and regulating function of the hypothalamus. These investigations included the central neural mechanisms in the expression of rage and fear, and studies of hypothalamic function in regulating sexual behaviour and the reproductive cycle.

In 1928 Bard accepted an assistant professorship in the biology department at Princeton. However, he soon missed the community of scholars at Harvard and felt wholly on his own with no one to share his interests. He resigned in 1931 and then accepted an offer from Cannon of an assistant professorship at Harvard.

In March 1933 he received an invitation from the president of the Johns Hopkins University to join its faculty as professor of physiology, and director of that department in its school of medicine. He was then 34. Thus Bard succeeded to the chair held originally by the man whose writings had first aroused his desire to do physiological research, nearly twenty years earlier, William Henry Howell.

At Johns Hopkins Bard was given complete authority in all matters relating to physiology – staff, research, teaching programs. He rejuvenated a small department and soon was joined by Chandler McCuskey Brooks (1905-1989 - Bard's first graduate student at Princeton) and Clinton Nathan Woolsey (1904-1993).

In 1940 Bard identified the central nervous system structures necessary for individual components of sexual behaviour: arousal, mounting, and copulation. Even with huge parts of the brain removed each of these were preserved.

At Johns Hopkins' Bard distinguished himself as a teacher. He taught in a very personal way, gave a course with the minimal number of lectures, and the small group laboratory exercise.

Retiring from active teaching in 1961, at the age of sixty-three, he continued for twelve more years as professor emeritus. He returned to California in 1973.

Bard served the American Physiological Society in many ways, not least as its president during the years of the Second World War, 1942-1945, and thereafter for many years as a member of its Board of Publication Trustees.

During the years 1953 to 1957 his laboratory life was interrupted when, during a time of stress, he served as Dean of the medical faculty.

Harriet Hunt Bard and Philip Bard were married for forty-two years. They had two children, Victoria Hunt Bard Johnson and Elizabeth Stanton Bard O'Connor. Harriet Hunter Bard died in 1964. On January 25, 1965, Bard married Janet MacKenzie Rioch.

    " . . . retiring and modest in his person, absolute in devotion to scholarly endeavour, enjoying to the full the pleasures of the free academic life, he has over these years brought distinction to our faculty, inspiration to our students, leadership to our University, and a happy and good fellowship to his colleagues."
    Printed on the program of an occasion in Bard's honour.

    "in his person tall and powerfully built, his features regularly formed in heavy granite, his eye a piercing, pale blue. He possessed great charity for the opinions of others, and avoided disputation; in counsel he was wise, modest, and persuasive. He radiated an ambient spirit of good humor, friendliness, and a fond concern for those about him."
    Bard's colleague, Vernon Mountcastle

    "Patterned responses of the type under consideration have shown certain ones are dependent on the functional integrity of one or another circumscript part of the brain. The essential neural mechanism thus delineated may be spoken of as the center for the particular behavior patter."
    Bard's definition of centres.


  • Diencephalic Control of the Sympathetic Nervous System.
    Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, 1928.
    "To Dr. W. B. Cannon who suggested this work and whose advice and encouragement carried it along".
  • A diencephalic mechanism for the expression of rage with special reference to the sympathetic nervous system.
    American Journal of Physiology, 1928, 84: 490-515.
  • The neuro-humoral basis of emotional reactions.
    In C. A. Munchison, editor: Foundations of Experimental Psychology. Worcester, Massachusetts: Clark University Press, 1929: 449-487.
  • Studies on the cerebral cortex. I. Localized control of placing and hopping reactions in the cat and their normal management by small cortical remnants.
    Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, Chicago, 1933, 30: 40-74.
  • On emotional expression after decortication with some remarks on certain theoretical views. Part II.
    Psychological Review, Washington, 1934, 41: 424-449.
  • A study of four cats deprived of neocortex and additional portions of the forebrain.
    With David MacKenzie Rioch (died 1985).
    Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, 1937, 60: 73-147.
  • Studies on the cortical representation of somatic sensibility.
    Harvey Lecture 1938: 143-169.
  • Studies on the cortical representation of somatic sensibility.
    Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, New York, 1938: 14: 585-607.
  • Central nervous mechanisms for emotional behavior patterns in animals.
    Proceedings of the Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease, New York, 1939, 19: 190-219.
  • The hypothalamus and sexual behavior.
    Research Publications. Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease, New York, 1940, 20: 551-579.
  • Observations on cortical somatic sensory mechanisms of cat and monkey.
    Journal of Neurophysiology, Bethesda, 1941, 4: 1-13.
  • Representation of cutaneous tactile sensibility in the cerebral cortex of the monkey as indicated by evoked potentials.
    With C. N. Woolsey and Wade H. Marshall.
    Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, 1942, 70: 339-441.
  • Motion sickness. With D. B. Tyler. Physiological Review, 1949, 29: 311-369.
  • Central nervous mechanisms for the expression of anger in animals.
    In M. L. Reymert, editor: Feelings and Emotions. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1950 : 211-237.
  • Anatomical organization of the central nervous system in relation to control of the heart and blood vessels. Physiological Review, 1960, 40 (4): 3-26.
  • Limbic elements in the publication policies of the APS.
    The Physiologist, 1963, 6: 324-327.
  • The ontogenesis of one physiologist.
    Annual Review of Physiology, Palo Alto, 1973, 35: 1-16.
  • Section editors for APS journals. The Physiologist, 1962, 5: 8-9.

  • Vernon Benjamin Mountcastle (born 1918):
    Philip Bard, 1898-. The Physiologist, 1975, 18: 1-5.
  • Vernon B. Mountcastle:
    Philip Bard, 1898-1977. The Physiologist, 1977, 20 (3): 1-2.
  • J. E. Howard:
    Philip Bard 1898-1977. Transactions of the Association of American Physicians, Philadelphia, 1978, 91: 13-4.
  • Timothy S. Harrison (born 1927):
    Archibald Philip Bard. October 25, 1898–April 5, 1977.
    Biographical Memoirs, The National Academy of Sciences, 1997, 72: 15-26.

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