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William Frederick Windle Papers, 1898-1986.
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Abbreviations Used in the Container List

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: William Frederick Windle Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1898-1986.
    Manuscript Collection No: 112
    Creator: Windle, William Frederick
    Extent: 31.5 linear feet (18 cartons + 2 boxes + 10 film boxes)
    Repository: Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library. History and Special Collections Division
    University of California, Los Angeles
    Los Angeles, CA 90095-1798
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Source of Acquisition/Provenance

    This collection and $1,000 were donated in 1985 to the Neuroscience History Archives of the Brain Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles by Ella Grace Howell Windle, Dr. Windle's widow, according to the wishes expressed in his will. The materials and funds were later transferred to the History and Special Collections Division of the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, which serves the UCLA health and life sciences community.

    Restrictions on Access

    One patient record (Box 4, Folder 7) is closed until 2041 A.D.

    Publication Rights

    Information on permission to reproduce, publish or quote is available from the History & Special Collections Division of the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], William Frederick Windle papers (Manuscript collection 112). Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division, University of California, Los Angeles.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 3649259 

    Conservation Note

    Photographs and negatives have been individually sleeved in Mylar. Newspaper clippings have been photocopied onto permanent durable paper. Films are housed in archival boxes, but should be rewound onto new reels before use.

    Biographical Note

    William Frederick Windle, Ph.D., D.Sc. (1898-1985), born and educated in the U.S. Midwest, became an eminent neuroscientist working on both coasts and welcomed internationally. Dr. Windle did his undergraduate studies at Denison University in Ohio. His plans for a medical career were turned aside after two years in medical school by his long and fruitful collaboration with Stephen Walter Ranson of the Institute of Neurology, Northwestern University. That collaboration started in 1921, led to Windle's Ph.D. degree in anatomy from Northwestern and, some twenty years later, to the directorship of that same Institute of Neurology.
    In 1946 Dr. Windle left Northwestern to become founding chair of the Department of Anatomy in the new medical school of the University of Washington, from which he moved 17 months later to head the oldest American department of anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania. After two years of successful research and teaching there he assumed the position of scientific director of the Baxter Laboratories in Morton Grove, Illinois, 1951-1954.
    The years from 1954 to 1963 were spent at the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness (NINDB), successively as Chief of the Laboratory of Neuroanatomical Sciences; Assistant Director, NINDB; and Chief, Laboratory of Perinatal Physiology, NINDB, Bethesda, Maryland and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
    After his retirement from the NINDB in 1964, Dr. Windle moved to the New York University Medical Center as Research Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine and Director of Research, Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine. Seven years later he retired again and returned to his midwestern homeland, assuming the position of research professor at Denison University in Granville, OH. For a number of years Dr. Windle and his wife would escape the rigors of the Ohio winter by spending that time in Southern California, where Dr. Windle served as visiting professor at the UCLA School of Medicine. Dr. Windle died at his home in Granville in 1985.M
    As an assistant professor at Northwestern University Dr. Windle began a series of studies on the functional and structural changes in the developing central nervous system. Continuations and outgrowths of these studies defined his research interests for the rest of his long career. Specifically, experiments on the initiation of respiration in the fetus, carried out while a visiting scientist at Cambridge University (1935-1936), started a long-running major program in fetal physiology, with examination of asphyxia neonatorum and its effect on the central nervous system. Much of the research carried on by Dr. Windle and many visiting scientists in Puerto Rico (ca. 1957-1966) followed the neurological and behavioral effects of neonatal asphyxiation in monkeys.
    The second major research thread, sparked by a colleague's observation of intraspinal fiber regeneration after injections of bacterial pyrogens in animals, resulted in many years' work on spinal cord regeneration. Dr. Windle's enthusiasm for this problem and the energy he threw into organizing research symposia on the topic did much to raise awareness of and funding for this clinically important question.
    Dr. Windle's research efforts in neonatal asphyxiation and spinal cord regeneration, with their clinical relevance for cerebral palsy and paralysis, were supported and lauded both by scientific and lay groups. Among the awards bestowed upon him were the Max Weinstein Award, United Cerebral Palsy Association, 1957; Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, 1968; Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease Award, 1971; William Thomson Wakeman Award, National Paraplegia Foundation, 1972; and Speedy Award, Paralyzed Veterans of America, 1972.
    In addition to his high productivity and influence as a teacher, administrator and researcher, Dr. Windle also had great influence as an editor and author in neuroscience. In 1959, as the explosive growth in neuroscience research and knowledge was beginning, Dr. Windle realized the need for additional outlets for articles in experimental neuroscience. With his characteristic energy and enthusiasm, he planned and brought to eminence the journal Experimental Neurology. As editor-in-chief for almost twenty years (1959-1975), Dr. Windle did much to ensure this publication's high quality and importance as a major neuroscience title. He also authored successful textbooks on fetal physiology and on histology, and edited volumes on the spinal cord, CNS regeneration, and remembrances of Stephen Walter Ranson.
    A fuller biography, curriculum vitae, and bibliography were published in Experimental Neurology, 90(1), Oct. 1985, following his death.

    Scope and Content

    The bulk of the collection consists of paper documents, plus approximately 25,000 feet of motion pictures, over 400 slides, photographs, and a few artifacts. The materials span the years 1918-1986.
    Autobiographical and biographical writings, and other personal papers and photographs constitute approximately a ninth of the paper materials, and a third of the films. Editorial papers make up another quarter of the bulk. The rest of the material is related to Dr. Windle's teaching, research, and public service roles, with good coverage of his years at the National Institute for Neurological Diseases and Blindness, the New York University Rehabilitation Institute, and Denison University.
    The strength of the collection lies in the window it provides on the neuroscience world as it expanded during the nineteen-fifties, -sixties, and -seventies. Specifically, Dr. Windle's research on the neurological/behavioral effects of neonatal oxygen deprivation is documented for many years, as is his work and interest in the question of spinal neuron regeneration. The papers, films, and photographs also present a valuable picture of the development, growth and, partially, the decline of the NINDB's Laboratory of Perinatal Physiology in Puerto Rico, as well as insight into the state of neuroscience research in Latin America in the 1960s and '70s.
    None of the series is comprehensive. There are neurology teaching notes starting with 1931, but the record of the teaching career is very spotty, as is the available correspondence; the files contain a full correspondence record only for some of the New York University years. There is good coverage of Dr. Windle's reprints, and the background materials for some of his books is quite complete. Many of the research films cover the NINDB years, showing natural and pathological development of rhesus monkeys. The totality of documents, photographs, and films also gives an excellent overview of Dr. Windle's interactions with colleagues all over the world.
    The material in the Experimental Neurology series is both fascinating and frustrating. The effort of finding a publisher and setting up an editorial board is partially covered. A good deal, but by no means all, of the communications between editors is available, but there are no examples of marked-up manuscripts, and editorial action can be deduced only from notes amongst reviewers and editors and the partial remains of correspondence to and from authors.
    The personal papers contain little information by or about the immediate Windle family, except for Dr. Windle's memoir about his ancestors and a few letters. There are, however, twenty reels of home movies many of which are focused on family; one or two also include footage of international meetings and colleagues. Many of the films, as well as some of the photographs, lack identification of persons, places, and dates; none of the films were viewed by the processor.

    Organization and Arrangement

    The manuscript and photo part of the archive was organized by the processor into the following series: I. Academic & Professional Papers (1922-1985); subdivided by Windle's institutional affiliations; II. Experimental Neurology --Editorial Papers (1958-1978), grouped by types of materials; III. Personal Information (1898-1986); IV. Miscellaneous Materials (1923-1972). Materials are arranged chronologically within each series or subseries. Because the collection had been moved and rehoused several times, little of the original organization remained, but Dr. Windle's original folder titles and content were retained whenever possible.
    The contents of Boxes 1-10 are identified and numbered as "Folders"; Boxes 11 and 12 are "Items"; Boxes 13-20 are "Films". An overview of series and subseries can be found in the Table of Contents preceding this section.

    Abbreviations Used in the Container List

    • c.v. curriculum vitae