Scope and Content
Title: Alexis Carrel Scrapbook
Date (inclusive): 1908-1919
Collection number: 219
Extent: 1 box (0.5 linear ft.)
University of California, Los Angeles. Library.Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences
Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
Abstract: This collection relating to the French/American surgeon Alexis Carrel (1873-1944) contains materials which had been mounted
or loosely inserted into a scrapbook. Most of the items are newspaper clippings, plus some manuscript letters and ephemera.
Dr. Carrel, whose research in vascular suturing and the transplantation of blood vessels and organs in animals won him the
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1912, also won him the enmity of anti-vivisectionists; a few of the letters and
articles express their viewpoint vividly. As a French Army surgeon during the 1914-1919 war Dr. Carrel collaborated on important
advances in the antisepsis of wound treatment. His work with tissue culture also contributed significantly to the understanding
of viruses and the preparation of vaccines.
Physical location: UCLA Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences
Language of Material: Collection materials in English,French
The collection is open for use.
Property rights in the physical objects belong to the UCLA Biomedical Library. Literary rights, including copyright, are
retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright
and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish if the Biomedical Library does not hold the copyright.
[Identification of item], Alexis Carrel Scrapbook, 219, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections
for the Sciences , University of California, Los Angeles.
The scrapbook was purchased from Scientia, 2009.
Dr. Alexis Carrel (1873-1944) was a complicated, multi-faceted individual. Here are some descriptors retrieved on a Google
search of his name: surgeon, biologist, sociologist, Nobel laureate, vivisectionist, eugenicist, Nazi sympathizer, genius,
innovator, believer in miracles, ideologist.
Carrel was born and educated in Lyon, France, and received his medical degree from the University of Lyon in 1900. In 1904
he went to the University of Chicago, then moved to the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York in 1906;
he was affiliated with that institution until his retirement in 1939. His vacations were spent in France, and he maintained
his French citizenship. During the 1914-1918 war he served as a military surgeon in the French Army. He died in Paris in
An exceptionally gifted surgeon, Carrel, from early in his career focused his research on devising innovative techniques
for vascular suture and the transplantation of blood vessels and organs. It was this work which earned him the 1912 Nobel
Prize in Physiology or Medicine. During his years as an army surgeon he utilized a chlorine-based solution, originated by
the English chemist Henry Drysdale Dakin, to minimize infection. For this major advance in the treatment of traumatic wounds
Carrel was awarded the Légion d'honneur. His experiments also laid the groundwork for future developments in several related
fields: his work with tissue culture contributed significantly to the understanding of viruses and the preparation of vaccines;
and in the development of medical devices, the special sterilizing glass pump he and Charles A. Lindberg designed that could
keep animal organs alive for several days or weeks was a significant trail blazer for the field.
Scope and Content
The collection includes ten leaves from a loose-leaf scrapbook which are covered with numerous clippings from English- and
French-language newspapers, all dealing with the surgical work of Dr. Alexis Carrel. Also included are numerous items places
loosely between the album pages: additional newspaper and magazine articles, six letters addressed to Dr. Carrel, and one
unidentified snapshot of a young man. A copy of "Time" magazine (v. 26, no. 12, 16 Sep 1935), bearing a portrait of Carrel
on its cover, has been added by the processing staff.
The letters divide four to two in attacking Dr. Carrel for vivisection, versus asking for help in medical problems through
his newly perfected surgical methods. The newspaper articles invert that percentage, with approximately two thirds of the
reports agog about the surgical marvels he was performing, and a third or less writing about individuals or groups decrying
his work as cruel, against God's will, or unnecessary.
The majority of clippings are without identification of publication, place, or year.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Carrel, Alexis, 1873-1944 -- Manuscripts
Vascular Surgical Procedures -- Popular Works
Wound and Injuries -- surgery -- Popular Works
Genres and Forms