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Wade H. Marshall papers, 1926-1973
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Wade H. Marshall Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1926-1973
    Collection number: 427
    Creator: Marshall, Wade H. 1907-1972
    Extent: 5 cartons (7.5 linear ft.) 1 box (0.5 linear ft.)
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library.Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
    Abstract: Wade Hampton Marshall, Ph.D. (1907-1972) was a pioneer in electrophysiology of the brain, internationally renowned for his work in mapping the somatosensory system of the cat and monkey and the visual cortex of the cat. His strong background in physics, and his technical ingenuity contributed not only to neurophysiology but also to wartime work in engineering fields. From 1954 to 1970 he set up and headed the Laboratory of Neurophysiology of NIMH/NINDB, where he continued his own work and enabled an outstanding group of scientists and young trainees to pursue their own research. This collection contains materials from all phases of his life, with special depth in the NIH years of 1952 to 1964, correspondence with many neurophysiologist including groups in Paris and in Brazil, and manuscript draft concerning Marshall's concerns with topics in psychology, sociology, and scientific ethics.
    Physical location: Southern Regional Library Facility
    Language of Material: Collection materials inEnglish


    Collection is open for research, but access to one document box is restricted.

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Wade H. Marshall papers (Manuscript collection 427). Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 7050700 

    Acquisition Information

    The collection was was a gift from Louise Hanson Marshall to the UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library in 2005.


    Wade Hampton Marshall (1907-1972) was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, graduated from Beloit College in 1930, and earned the MS and PhD degrees in Physiology from the University of Chicago in the laboratory of Ralph Gerard. After two years as an Instructor in Physiology at George Washington University Medical School, and a summer course at Harvard University Department of Physiology where he worked with Herbert Grass, Marshall moved in 1936 to Johns Hopkins Medical School and stayed until 1943 as a Fellow of the National Research Council.
    Marshall had a strong preparation in physics when he joined Dr. Gerard's laboratory as a graduate student, and a facility in envisioning and building appropriate instrumentation for his planned research. His amplifier and stimulation circuits enabled ground-breaking work on the cat and monkey somatosensory system with Gerard at Chicago, and with Drs. Clinton N. Woolsey and Philip B. Bard at Johns Hopkins Medical School; with Dr. Samuel A. Talbot, also at Hopkins, Marshall used similar techniques to map the cat visual cortex. And during the years of World War II and shortly after, his technical strength and ingenuity served for developments in areas such as rocket propulsion fuels and the proximity fuse.
    From 1947 to 1949, Marshall served at the National Institutes of Health as a Research Fellow, and from 1949 to 1953 as Physiologist, National Institute of Mental Health. In 1954, Dr. Seymour Kety, the first Scientific Director of the NIMH (and Director of Intramural Research for both NIMH and NINDB), asked Dr. Marshall to establish the Laboratory of Neurophysiology and become its Chief; this position he held until his retirement in 1970.
    Dr. Marshall was already widely recognized as an effective, pioneering electrophysiologist at the time he began to build the Laboratory of Neurophysiology. Over the following 18 years he also developed as a leader who gathered around him a remarkable group of brilliant, productive researchers. This team became renowned for taking in bright young MDs and PhDs as research fellows, and within a few years sending them out as sought-after research scientists to university and hospital posts. At the time of Dr. Marshall's retirement from NIH, the International Journal of Neuroscience devoted two whole issues to ca. 40 original research papers contributed in his honor by former mentees and coworkers. Their high esteem was also shown in the letters sent by them on the occasion of his retirement from NIH and to his wife, Louise Marshall, after his death.
    Dr. Marshall's interests ranged far beyond science and the brain. Dr. Paul D. MacLean, a renowned member of the Laboratory for Neurophysiology for many years, made these remarks at a memorial service for Marshall: "But to those who knew him well, we has more than anything a humanist. It was his insatiable curiosity about the workings of the human mind that shaped all this thinking, and beyond his own research on the brain, led him into such fields as anthropology, sociology, and law....I never heard him discuss any topic of deep human concern to which he did not bring some insight."

    Scope and Content

    This collection of Dr. Wade H. Marshall's papers provides fascinating glimpses into his intellectual and scientific pursuits, and a reasonable coverage of his biography. The materials covering graduate school, first professional employment, and post-graduate fellowship, all in neurophysiology, provide examples of syllabi, laboratory notes, drafts of papers and presentations, and near-complete coverage of WHM reprints.
    From 1947 to 1949, Dr. Marshall worked as a Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, from 1949-1953 as a Physiologist, and in 1954 he was appointed Chief of the newly established Laboratory of Neurophysiology at the National Institute for Mental Health, a position he held until retirement in 1970. The type of documents, and content, over these years reflect WHM's changing responsibilities. From 1952 to 1964 there are a mass of carbons for memos and correspondence emanating from the Laboratory of Neurophysiology, including a number from Laboratory members other than WHM. These cover mostly administrative matters, such as personnel, equipment, space allocations, etc., and they provide interesting insights into the problems and advantages of setting up and conducting basic research within the structure of the NIH. The number of these documents drops off extremely after 1964.
    The scientific contributions of the various sections of the Laboratory of Neurophysiology, and they were considerable, are mostly covered in the somewhat superficial language of annual progress reports, and such. More specific, but intermittent glimpses into WHM's and his coworkers' scientific activities and opinions can be gained from their reprints, of course, and from the rather few manuscript drafts and laboratory notes included in the papers. However, WHM's correspondence with many of the major researchers and editors in the international neurophysiology community provides a good window on his scientific ideas and judgments.
    Dr. Marshall's interests ranged widely beyond neurophysiology. He read much and corresponded with experts in sociology, psychiatry and psychology, child development, criminology, and more. A large portion of this collection and of his manuscript drafts, correspondence from 1969 to 1972, and background materials concern topics in these areas, topics that have been grouped into Series 5 and 6 of the collection.
    A note on the arrangement of documents: the original folders were organized chronologically, or not at all; the chronological order has been retained where possible. Also retained was the original division of correspondence into folders grouping various correspondents together by date, and folders devoted to a single correspondent; the criteria by which separate-folder status was originally decided are not clear.
    The collection is organized into the following series:
    • Series 1. Personal Materials, 1926-1973. 19 folders
    • Series 2. Professional Materials, 1930-1946. 28 folders
    • Series 3. Professional Materials, 1947-1970. 30 folders
    • Series 4. Correspondence, 1937-1972. 45 folders
    • Series 5. Topics in Science and Society, 1929-1972. 51 folders
    • Series 6. Miscellaneous Topics, 1940-1973. 21 folders
    • Series 7. Non-Print Materials
    • Series 8. Restricted Materials.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Marshall, Wade H. (Wade Hampton), 1907-1972 - Manuscripts
    Neurophysiology--United States--Manuscripts
    Neuroscientists--Archival resources