Handler, Philip, Papers, 1933-1982

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Collection Number: MC.0015
Philip Handler Papers, 1933 - 1982

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Duke Medical Center Archives in Durham, N.C. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


Collection Overview

Size: 19.5 linear feet 13 record storage boxes
Abstract: Professor (1939-1984) and chair (1949-1969) of the Department of Biochemistry at Duke University. Contains correspondence, notices, committee files, calendars, agendas, reports, writings, clippings, programs, speeches, text of speeches, tributes, biographical materials, and photographs. Major correspondents include Wilburt Cornell Davison, and Barnes Woodhall. Also contains some correspondence between William A. Perlzweig and other medical professionals. Major subjects include Duke University's Research Training Program, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, medical education, National Academy of Sciences, Lederle Laboratories, and Oak Ridge Laboratories.
Creator: Handler, Philip, 1917-1981
Language: English
Repository Duke University Medical Center Archives
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Information for Users

Access Restrictions
Some folders may be restricted due to the presence of personal health information. Contact the Archivist for information about access.
Copyright Notice
Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], Philip Handler papers, Duke University Medical Center Archives.
Acquisitions Information
Gift; 1985.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Collections may contain Medical Center Administrative records. These include records of the officers of the University, as defined in the Bylaws, the deans of schools and colleges, and departments, institutes, and other offices as designated by the President. For a period of twenty-five years from the origin of the material, permission in writing from the director of the office of record and the Medical Center Archivist is required for use. After twenty-five years, records that have been processed may be consulted with the permission of the Medical Center Archivist.
Collection may contain Records of the Board of Trustees of the Duke University Medical Center. These include minutes and supporting documentation of the Board, its Executive Committee, and standing and ad hoc committees, and reports, studies, and the like presented solely to the Board. Records which have been existence for at least fifty years are available for scholarly research with the permission of the Medical Center Archivist. Access to records which have been in existence for less than fifty years shall be granted only by special permission, in writing, of the Medical Center Board of Trustees.
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Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings and Medical Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collectionsuch as folders or items.

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Biographical Information

Philip Handler was born in New York, N.Y. in 1917. He received degrees from the College City of New York (B.S., 1936); and University of Illinois (Ph.D., 1939). Dr. Handler joined Duke University as an instructor of biochemistry in 1939. He held many positions at Duke University: instructor (1939-1940), associate professor (1940-1941), assistant professor of physiology (1941-1944), associate professor of biochemistry and nutrition (1944-1949), professor of biochemistry (1949-1969). He also served as chair of the Department of Biochemistry from 1950-1969 and was named a James B. Duke Professor of Biochemistry in 1961.

In 1964 Dr. Handler was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences. Five years later, he was selected to be the society's eighteenth president. He served two consecutive six-year terms from 1969 to 1981.

As a biochemist, Dr. Handler published more than 200 papers in important professional journals and was the coauthor of the widely used textbook Principles of Biochemistry. One of his first major research efforts was on the underlying problems that cause pellagra. He also made other contributions to understanding the mechanisms by which enzyme proteins carry out their catalytic functions in metabolism. Handler was also on the editorial board of periodicals including Geriatrics, Journal Theoretical Biology, Journal Biological Chemistry, and Journal of Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology.

Dr. Handler was the recipient of numerous awards and twenty-eight honorary doctorate degrees. Among many honors, he was the Annual Orator of the Harvey Cushing Society and of the Welch Foundation, Sigma Xi National Lecturer, and delivered memorial lectures at many scientific institutions in the United States and abroad. He served on the boards and visiting committees of more than a dozen scientific institutions and was decorated by the governments of Austria, Belgium, and Poland. Handler also served as a consultant to the United States Veteran's Administration, Mead Johnson and Company, Squibb, Inc., and Continental Baking Company.

Dr. Handler's major activities in science and public policy began in 1951, when he accepted the first in a series of government advisory appointments. He served for twelve years on the National Science Board and was member of the President's Science Advisory Committee under two presidents. In 1981, he was awarded the National Medal of Science. A citation signed by President Reagan honored him "...for his outstanding contribution to biochemical research, resulting in significant contributions to mankind, including research that led to a clearer understanding of pellagra, and for his national leadership in furthering the state of American science."

Dr. Handler married Lucille P. Marcus in 1939. Together they had two children. Dr. Handler died on December 29, 1981.

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Scope and Content

Organized into the following series: Professional Correspondence, 1933-1982; Biographical Materials and Memoirs, 1961-1982.

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Contents list

Series Quick Links

Professional Correspondence, 1933-1982

Contains professional correspondence between Handler and colleagues at National Academy of Sciences, Lederle Laboratories, various foundations, and universities. Duke University correspondence includes materials pertaining to the Dept. of Biochemistry, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, Oak Ridge Laboratories and local disaster response planning, chair search committees, and the Research Training Program. Major correspondents include Wilburt Cornell Davison and Barnes Woodhall. Also contains some correspondence between William A. Perlzweig, (chair of the Dept. of Biochemistry from 1930 to 1949) and colleagues dated from 1934 to 1955.


Box 1
Baird - Atomic, Inc., 1960
Ted Bates (nutrition of bread), 1959
[2 folders]
Beaufort, N.C. Laboratory, 1963-1963
J.T. Edsall, 1962-1963
Environmental Health Center (correspondence to President Kennedy), 1963
Goldblatt, Harry, 1951
Gordon Research conferences, 1965
Greenstein Memorial Foundation, 1961
Paul M Gross Symposium, 1964-965
Gyorgy, Paul, 1944-1949
Hartwick College, 1966
Hawaii, Univ. of, 1961
Holt, L.E. to William A. Perlzweig, 1943-1944
Indiana University, Tracy Sonneborn, 1963-1964
Institute for Defense Analyses, 1961-1967
Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health (includes correspondence with Lister Hill, senator), 1961
Institute on Man and Science, Hawaii, 1965-1966
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1960-1966
Kearney, Edna B., 1964
Kettering Institute, 1962-1963
Klein, J. Raymond, 1935-1947
Kohn, Henry I., 1948-1953
Kondritzer, A.A. to William A. Perlzweig, 1934-1941
Korkes, Seymou, 1953-1957
Lederle Laboraties (includes correspondence with William A. Perlzweig), 1933-1955
Life Insurance Medical Research Fund, 1945-1958
Institute of Life Insurance, 1951
Macy, Josiah, Jr. Foundation, 1948-1952

Box 2
Markle Foundation, 1940-1961
Marx, Walter to William A. Perlzweig, 1937-1940
Mead Johnson Laboratories, 1962-1965
Meek, Geoffrey, 1961-1962
MEND (manuals for handling mass disaster casualties at Duke Hospital), 1958-1959
Merck and Co., 1942-1961
Mommaerts, W.F.H.M., 1953-1957
Some Major Issues Concerning the Support of Fundamental Research and Graduate Education in Science, (with comments by Douglas M. Knight and R. Taylor Cole), 1967
American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1967
American Council on Education, 1963
Amos, Bernard, 1961-1962
American Society of Biological Chemists,
Council Correspondence, 1958-1960
Committee on Plans for Scientific Meetings, 1962-1963
ASBC Council, 1958-1963
President's File, 1962-1963
[2 folders]
Fifth International Congress of Biochemistry, 1961
National Academy of Sciences calendars and agendas, 1980-1982
[14 folders]

Box 3
National Academy of Sciences calendars and agendas, 1980-1982
[2 folders]
Long-Range Planning Committee, 1958-1959
Planning and Development Committee, 1958-1959
Committee on Deanship, 1959-1960
Committee on Pharmacology chair, 1959-1960
Committee on Psychology chair, 1960-1969
Committee on Radiological Safety, 1951-1962
Radioisotopes Committee of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, Division of Licensing Isotopes Branch, 1951-1961
Woodhall, Barnes, 1960-1964
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, 1962-1964
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, 1964-1967
Duke-Medical Scientists Program, 1967-1969
Oak Ridge Laboratories, 1965-1966
FASEB Advisory Committee Agenda, 1964-1965
FASEB American Biological Council, 1964-1968
Gerontology Society, 1961-1969
Health Manpower Report, 1967
Hollaender, Alexander (Oak Ridge), 1966-1967
Beinert, Helmut, 1962
C.H. Best, 1949-1950
Biochemistry, Dept. of, 1947-1965
Bridgers, William, 1965
State University of New York at Buffalo lecture, 1965
Clinical Chemistry Laboratory, 1941-1962
Research in Dept. of Biochemistry, 1958-1962
Bell Building Addition 4, 1958-1962

Box 4
Biophysics Committee
Brandeis University
A.H. Bryan to William Perlzweig
Carter, Herbert E.
Commonwealth Fund and Research Training Program for Clinical Investigators
Congress (John Fogarty) and United States Senate (Lister Hill)
Coolidge, Thomas B. to William A. Perlzweig
Biophysics Committee, 1950-1952
Brandeis University, 1961-1963
A.H. Bryan to William Perlzweig, 1946-1947
Carter, Herbert E., 1939-1963
Commonwealth Fund and Research Training Program for Clinical Investigators, 1956-1961
Congress (John Fogarty) and United States Senate (Lister Hill), 1959-1963
Coolidge, Thomas B. to William A. Perlzweig, 1935-1943
Darby, William J., 1948-1949
Davison, Wilburt Cornell, 1933-1963
Deiss, William, 1954-1958
Center for the Study of Aging, 1962-1963
Training Program for Medical Investigators, correspondence with external pharmaceutical companies, 1957-1959
NASA, 1962
Biochemistry, Dept. of, Neurology committee materials
National Institutes of Health, research training grants, 1947-1961
North Carolina College, 1960
Nutrition Foundation, cira 1960-1966
Office of Naval Research, 1949-1951
Oregon State Talk, 1966
Osborne And Mendel Award, 1959-1961
Paul-Lewis Lab, 1962
Pennsylvania Undergraduate Medical Association, 1966
Pennsylvania Medical Society, 1965
Rockefeller Foundation, 1956
Rutgers Symposium, 1966
Rutter, William J., 1957
Saturday Review, 1963
Scientists, Engineers, and Physicians for Johnson and Humphrey (political activism), 1964-1965
Senez, Jacques, 1963
Shell Fellowship, 1952-1954
Shemin, David, 1953-1959
Sigma Xi, 1964-1966

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Biographical Materials and Memoirs, 1961-1982

Contains correspondence between Eric Handler and Robert Hill regarding the Handler estate and rights to works; clippings; special notices; programs; speeches; tributes; and remarks made about Dr. Handler following his death. The photograph of Philip Handler is oversized and undated.


Box 5
Scrapbook materials, 1961-1969
[15 folders]
Speeches and recognition, 1962-1981
Biographical materials and remembrances, 1982
Memorial service, 1982
Philip Handler professorship, 1982
Tribute, North Carolina School of Science and Math, 1982
Other tributes, 1982
Philip Handler memorial fund, 1982
Photograph, no date

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