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Loewi, Otto (1873-1961)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0117 OL
Held at: Royal Society
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Full title: Loewi, Otto (1873-1961)
Date(s): 1917-1960
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 3 shelves (or 9 linear feet)
Name of creator(s): Loewi | Otto | 1873-1961 | pharmacologist and physiologist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born on 3 June 1873 in Frankfurt am Main, Loewi attended, 1881-1890, a Gymnasium in Frankfurt of the old style where studies were centred on classical languages, resulting in lifelong cultural interests of great width and variety. He matriculated in medicine at Strassburg where he came into contact with Nannyn in clinical medicine, Schmiedeberg in pharmacology and Hofmeister in biochemistry, working under the latter after taking a course in chemistry in Frankfurt after graduation. His first post was with the City Hospital in Frankfurt, then with Dr. Hans Horst Meyer, Professor of Pharmacology at Marburg a.d. Lahn, where his researches were concerned with biochemical problems of metabolism. In 1902 he studied with Ernest Starling, Professor of Physiology at University College London, visited Cambridge and learnt about several productive lines of research which would influence him many years later, and met Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins. On his return to Marburg he concentrated on renal function and publications on other subjects which had caught his interest, such as treatment with digitalis. He and his co-workers at Graz concentrated on the chemical transmission of effects from the nerve endings of the autonomic system until 1938, when the Nazi occupation of Austria and his temporary imprisonment compelled him to leave Austria. After a visit to England and a temporary post in Brussels, he was caught in England by the outbreak of World War Two in 1939 and worked in the Pharmacology Department at Oxford under Professor J A Gunn, before moving to the Medical School of New York University as Research Professor of Pharmacology in 1940. He became an American citizen in 1946, and died on 25 December 1961. He was awarded the Nobel Prize (Physiology or Medicine) in 1936, and elected a Foreign Fellow of the Royal Society in 1954. He married in 1908 Guida, daughter of Guido Goldschmidt, Professor of Chemistry in Prague and Vienna, and had 3 sons and one daughter.


Scope and content/abstract:

Some correspondence, papers, and publications of Otto Loewi. The manuscript material is of a personal rather than a scientific nature and provides an important biographical source about Loewi's escape from Nazi Austria and his resettlement in the United States of America.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged in eight sections.
A. 1-44 Publications 1917-1960
B. 1-6 Autobiographical Essays; addresses and speeches; bibliographies
C. 1-16 Appreciations
D. 1-44 Press Cuttings
E. 1-82 Mementos; personal documents; memberships of organizations
General correspondence (179 letters)
Correspondence re honours and elections (91 letters)
Diplomas and Awards (36 items)

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

No publication without written permission. Apply to Archivist in the first instance.

Finding aids:

A handlist of the diplomas transferred from the Wellcome Institute Library. Index prepared in compilation of Loewi's biography by Prof. F. Lembeck.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Presented to the Royal Society by G.W. Low, Loewi's son, in 1965. A collection of dipomas awarded to Loewi were transferred from the Wellcome Institute Library to the Royal Society in 1992.

Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Description produced by the Royal Society and revised by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Created 8/03/2002, modified 7/05/2002

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