Scope and Content
Title: Chauncey Depew Leake Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1912-1978
Collection number: MSS 78-6
Creator: Leake, Chauncey Depew, 1896-1978
Extent: 8 cartons, 1 box
University of California, San Francisco. Library. Archives and Special Collections.
San Francisco, California 94143-0840
Shelf location: For current information on the location of
these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
Materials received 1964-78; addenda received 10/89.
[Identification of item], Chauncey Depew Leake Papers, MSS 78-6, Archives & Special
Collections, UCSF Library & CKM
Chauncy Depew Leake was born on September 5, 1896, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He received
the Litt.B. degree from Princeton in 1917, having studied philosophy, chemistry and
biology in a famous class that included such distinguished writers as John Peale Bishop,
F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edmund Wilson. When the United States entered World War I, he
enlisted in the New Jersey National Guard. He served in a machine gun company, where he
rose to the rank of first sergeant, and later was transferred to the Chemical Warfare
Service. After the war, he continued investigations he'd begun into war gases at the
University of Wisconsin, where he earned his M.S. (1920) and Ph.D. (1923) in pharmacology
and physiology. At Wisconsin he also began teaching in the three areas that would occupy
him throughout his career: he was an instructor in physiology (1920-1923), an assistant
professor (1923-1925) and later associate professor (1925-1928) of pharmacology, and,
beginning in 1921, he began teaching and writing on the history of science and medicine.
In 1928 Dr. Leake came to the University of California School of Medicine, where he
established the Department of Pharmacology and served as a professor in that department.
Later, he served as the librarian to the medical school and established the Department of
the History of the Health Sciences, where he served as a senior lecturer. In 1942 he
became executive vice-president of the University of Texas, where he established its
Medical Branch at Galveston. In 1955 he went to the Ohio State University as a professor
of pharmacology and lecturer in the history and philosophy of medicine. Returning to the
University of California at San Francisco in 1962, he directed the research training
program for medical students (1962-1965), lectured in pharmacology and the history and
philosophy of medicine, and was a professor of medical jurisprdence at Hastings College
of the Law (1963-1965).
Dr. Leake's research at UCSF covered a wide range of topics in the field of pharmacology.
He was especially noted for work on anesthesia, and in the development of tranquilizers.
A prolific writer, Dr. Leake produced over 25 books and more than 600 articles. His
popular versions of Harvey's classic De Motu Cordis and Percival's Medical Ethics, the
foundation for modern bio-ethics, were both produced in the 1920s, have been translated
into many languages and continue to be in demand. In 1960-1961, Dr. Leake held the
American scientific community's highest honor, presidency of the American Association for
the Advancement of Science, which he had previously served twice as vice-president. Among
many other positions, he served as consultant to the National Research Council, the
Public Health Service and the National Library of Medicine, and as chairman of the
American Medical Association's Section on Pharmacology. He also served as president of
the History of Science Society and the Society for the History of Medicine. Chauncey
Leake was an avid member of the Bohemian Club in San Francisco, where he died on January
11, 1978, just after the completion of a reading of his poems.
Scope and Content
Collection includes biographical materials, diaries, notes and poetry; correspondence
(scientific and general), articles, reviews, lectures; syllabi and course materials;
manuscripts (holograph and typescripts) of published and unpublished materials, student
papers, and reprints. Another collection of Leake's papers exists at the National
Library of Medicine.
Chit Chat Club, San Francisco
Irwin Memorial Blood Bank, San Francisco
St. Luke's Hospital, San Francisco
Evans, Herbert McLean
Harvey, William. De motu cordis
Porter, R. Langley