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Eloise Cram Papers


The Papers of Eloise Cram span the years 1893-1991. The collection is 3.25 linear feet and occupies 9 boxes. Sidney Ewing, a parasitologist at Oklahoma State University, donated the papers to the Special Collections of the National Agricultural Library. He acquired the papers through the USDA Parasitology Lab. Other prominent scientists featured in this collection include Maurice Crowther Hall, Albert Hassall, Brayton Howard Ransom, Daniel Elmer Salmon, and Charles Wardell Stiles. Materials are in good condition. The collection was processed and arranged by Jeremy Brett.

Finding Aid File


Biographical Sketch

Eloise Blaine Cram

Eloise Blaine Cram was born in Davenport, IA in 1897. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Chicago in 1919, and received her Ph.D. from George Washington University in 1925. In 1920, Cram entered government service as a zoologist for the USDA's Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), where she became noted as a world authority on the parasites of poultry, and eventually rose to the position of Head, Parasites of Poultry and Game Birds.

In 1936, Cram left the BAI to take a position at the Zoology Lab of the National Institutes of Health, where she remained until her retirement in 1956. While at the NIH, Cram contributed to the scientific study of pinworm, but her major contribution to parasitology and to science in general was her pioneering research into the curbing of the helminthic (produced by worms) disease Schistosomiasis. She made intense studies of the snails that transmit the often-fatal disease to humans and aided in reducing the health threat caused by the disease.

By the time of her retirement, Cram had produced over 160 papers and monographs on various subjects relating to animal parasitology, had become an international authority on helminthic diseases, and was working in the NIH's lab on tropical diseases. In 1955, the year before her retirement, she served a term as the only woman president of the American Society of Parasitologists. She died in San Diego, CA, on February 9, 1957.

Maurice Crowther Hall

Maurice Crowther Hall was born on July 15, 1881 in Golden, CO. He obtained his BA at Colorado College in 1905, and his Ph.D. at George Washington University in 1915. In 1906-1907, Hall worked as a high school biology/chemistry instructor at Canon City (CO) High School, and in 1907 he became a zoologist for the Bureau of Animal Industry at USDA. He served in this capacity until 1916, when he left the Bureau to take a job with Parke, Davis and Co.'s research laboratory. In 1918-1919 he served in the United States Army's Veterinary Corps, and upon his leaving the army returned to his old post at the BAI. In 1925 he was made head of the BAI's Zoological Division.

While at the BAI, Hall, among his many other parasitological researches, made a momentous discovery in 1921. He found that the chemical compound carbon tetrachloride was incredibly effective as an anthelminthic in eradicating hookworm, and this discovery played a vital role in the worldwide destruction of hookworm. Hall's revelation was hailed as a vital discovery in the field of tropical medicine. Furthermore, during his tenure at the BAI, Hall oversaw the construction of the Zoological Division's first field station, in Beltsville, MD.

In April 1936, Hall left the BAI to assume the post of Head of the Zoological Laboratory at the National Institutes of Health, where he remained until his death in 1938. He was renowned by his colleagues as a witty man, a master of verse who published many poems in various magazines. In 1936 his essay "Romantic Government vs. Unromantic Government" was published in the textbook Structure and Style as an example of superior prose. He served in 1930 as the president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, and in 1932 as president of the American Society of Parasitologists.

Albert Hassall

Albert Hassall was born in England in 1862. He was educated at private schools and at the Royal Veterinary College in London. In 1887 he first began serving the USDA as a Veterinary Inspector for the Bureau of Animal Industry in Baltimore. In 1891 he was made an Assistant in the Bureau's Division of Pathology; in 1904 he became an Assistant in Zoology in the BAI's Zoological Division, and in 1910 was promoted to the post of Assistant Zoologist. In 1928 he became the Assistant Chief of the Division, and served in that capacity until his forced retirement in 1932.

Hassall made his mark in many ways while at the BAI, not least of all in assisting Charles Stiles in establishing the Zoological Division's collection of parasites, but his most important achievement began in 1902 and lasted until his death and beyond. In 1902 Hassall began compiling the Index-Catalogue of Medical and Veterinary Zoology, a comprehensive reference work on parasitology that was initially published over the course of a decade, from 1902-1912. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in London awarded Hassall the coveted Steele Medal in 1932 for his work on this crucially important reference and research tool. Hassall was required, due to government regulations, to retire from the BAI in July 1932, but he continued to work on the Index-Catalogue several days a week, unpaid. Because of his dedication to this project, in 1932 Hassall was awarded the special title of Collaborator on the Index-Catalogue, a title he maintained until his death from a heart attack in 1942.

Brayton Howard Ransom

Brayton H. Ransom was born on March 24, 1879. He was educated at the Universities of Nebraska and Missouri, and, before his tenure with the Bureau of Animal Industry began in 1903, served as Assistant in the Zoological Division of the Hygiene Laboratory of the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service (now the U.S. Public Health Service).

In June of 1903 Ransom was appointed Scientific Assistant in charge of the BAI's Zoological Laboratory. In this capacity he helped carry out a multitude of scientific investigations into the subject of parasitology. In 1906 he was promoted to the position of Principal Zoologist and Chief of the Zoological Division, which he held until his death. While serving as Chief of Division Ransom made many important scientific contributions that included monographic systematic works on parasites, the discovery of many of the most economically important parasites, contributions to the understanding of the basis of parasite-induced pathology, and the development of measures for controlling stomach worms in sheep.

Ransom died unexpectedly on September 17, 1925, leaving more than 160 published titles to his credit. After Ransom's death, his colleague Maurice Hall stated that "it was a great tribute to Dr. Ransom's scientific achievements that despite his extensive and highly important contributions to Parasitology and Medical Zoology covering a quarter of a century, none of his major scientific work has ever been challenged."

Daniel Elmer Salmon

Dr. Daniel E. Salmon was born on July 22, 1850, in Mt. Olive, NJ. He was trained at Cornell University and at the Alford Veterinary School in Paris. On May 1, 1883 Salmon was put in charge of the USDA's Veterinary Division by Commissioner of Agriculture George B. Loring, and a year later, in 1884, became the first Chief of the new Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI). While Chief of the BAI Salmon served the bureau as an investigator of animal diseases and as a veterinary surgeon. He established a pathological laboratory that would eventually evolve into the BAI's Division of Animal Pathology.

1897 marked the BAI's first major triumph under Salmon's leadership. The BAI's original charge was the control and eradication of livestock diseases, and the agency's efforts in this area led, in 1897, to the eradication of cattle pleuropneumonia, the first disease to be eradicated in the history of the United States.

In 1897 Salmon also served as president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, and, following his resignation from the BAI in 1905, became in the following year the director of the National Veterinary School in Montevideo, Uruguay. He left the school in 1912, and died August 30, 1914. Salmon was immortalized in the realm of bacteriology when the "Salmonella" group of pathogenic bacteria was named for him.

Charles Wardell Stiles

Charles W. Stiles was born in 1867, and was educated at Wesleyan University, and at the College de France and the University of Berlin. In 1890 he received his Ph.D. from the University of Leipzig. The following year, Stiles was made Head of the Bureau of Animal Industry's Zoological Division. In 1902 Stiles resigned from the USDA to be Chief of the Zoological Division of the Hygiene Laboratory of the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service, at the same time maintaining his post at the BAI until June 1903 in order to establish a cooperative agreement between the two agencies.

In 1898-1899, Stiles served as an agricultural attache to the United States Embassy in Berlin. There he investigated charges by Germany that trichinosis outbreaks among Germans were due to imported American pork products. Stiles concluded that these charges were untrue.

While at the BAI, Stiles, conducting research into the pernicious phenomenon of hookworm, became the first to discover the presence of American hookworm in man, in the process establishing that the disease was a major health hazard in the American South. Up to this point Southerners, often living in conditions of poor hygiene and health conditions, had been frequently tainted with the charges of "shiftlessness" and "laziness," but Stiles' discovery meant that much of Southerners' poor health and physical appearances could be traced to the presence of hookworm. His research contributed much to the improvement of physical health and hygiene amongst Southerners.

Stiles conducted many other investigations on animal parasites while at the BAI, and assisted Albert Hassall in the creation of the important Index-Catalogue of Medical and Veterinary Zoology. He died in 1941.

Scope and Content Note

The Eloise Cram Papers comprise 3.75 linear feet of correspondence, photographs, scientific articles and various ephemera relating to the professional lives and work of several scientists employed by the USDA's Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The collection spans from 1853-1991, though the bulk of the material focuses on the period of these individuals' employment at these two agencies from 1884 through the 1950s. The material is in good condition and consists of 9 boxes.

The material focuses on parasitologists Eloise B. Cram (1897-1957), Maurice C. Hall (1881-1938), Brayton H. Ransom (1879-1925), and Charles W. Stiles (1867-1941), and veterinarians Albert Hassall (1862-1942) and Daniel E. Salmon (1850-1914). Salmon is remembered as the first Chief of the BAI, and Hall, Ransom, and Stiles were, at various times, each the Head of the BAI's Zoological Division. Several other colleagues of these individuals are also the subjects of some materials.

Series I comprises over one-third of the collection and ranges from 1897-1959. It consists of personal correspondence received by the above-named individuals, generally written by their fellow colleagues. A significant amount of correspondence is in foreign languages. Cram's collection of letters contains, as a matter of historical interest, letters signed by physicist Albert Einstein and polar explorer Admiral Richard Byrd. In addition to the letters, there are cards of receipt. These are brief acknowledgments by colleagues of their receipt of scientific articles by the above-named individuals. 80 letters and cards of receipt are preserved in plastic sheathing. Most likely, this correspondence was preserved in order to protect the signatures, which are those of notable scientific colleagues. These letters and cards of receipt are foldered separately from the other correspondence in order to retain intellectual order.

Series II consists of photographs. Many of the photographs are undated, but most are from the first half of the 20th century. There are two photograph albums that display photographs (often accompanied by biographical material) of the above-named individuals and many of their colleagues.The series also contains loose photographs of various sizes, dates, and subjects, of these individuals and of international scientists. Many were assembled by Ransom during his 1913 call for photographic portraits of his various colleagues. An oversize box in this series contains a large photograph of Cram, dated 1942.

Series III contains a number of scientific articles and reprints of articles, ranging in publication date from 1924-1971. An entire box deals specifically with articles about the helminthic (caused by worms) disease Schistosomiasis, a subject of particular interest to Cram. Other articles relate to a number of various topics in biology and zoology and are written by various authors.

The last series, Series IV, is devoted to ephemera ranging in date from 1853-1991. There are news clippings, signatures cut from pieces of correspondence, the manuscript of the memoirs of BAI employee Alice Evans, and various assorted journals, among other items. All materials in this box are items that did not fit comfortably into the scope of the existing collections series.

Series Description

Series I. Correspondence and Cards of Receipt. 1897-1959. 3 boxes.

Series I includes letters received by Eloise Cram, Maurice Hall, Albert Hassall, Louis Olivier, Brayton Ransom, Daniel Salmon, and Charles Stiles. Arranged first by condition of document (sheathed in plastic or unsheathed), then, if unsheathed, first alphabetically by recepient and then chronologically by date of composition. If sheathed, arranged first by size of material, then by date. Cards of Receipt received by these individuals and/or unknown persons. Arranged by same methodology as letters.

Series II. Photographs. n.d. 3 boxes.

Series II consists of two albums containing photographs and biographical material relating to the above-named individuals. Loose photographs of the above-named individuals and their scientific colleagues. Arranged alphabetically by subject. An oversize photograph of Cram, dated 1942, is located in oversize box #6.

Series III. Articles and Reprints of Articles. 1924-1971. 2 boxes.

Series III contains articles and reprints of articles by various authors on various biological and zoological topics. The first box of this series (Box 7) deals specifically with articles on the helminthic disease Schistosomiasis. Articles arranged alphabetically by author.

Series IV. Ephemera. 1853-1991. 1 box.

Series IV comprises various and sundry items, including newspaper clippings, a manuscript of memoirs of Bureau of Animal Industry employee Alice C. Evans, assorted journals, and other unrelated ephemera. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

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