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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c203

W. Lloyd Aycock papers


The W. Lloyd Aycock Papers, 1919-1951, document the teaching and research activities of William Lloyd Aycock, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health.


  • 1919-1951.


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice. There are restrictions on access to portions of this collection. Access to personal and patient information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions are noted where they appear in Series I and Series III. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all materials in the collection. Researchers are responsible for identifying and contacting any third-party copyright holders for permission to reproduce or publish. For more information on the Center's use, publication, and reproduction policies, view our Reproductions and Use Policy.


2.1 cubic feet (1 record carton, 2 document boxes, 1 legal document box)

The W. Lloyd Aycock Papers, 1919-1951, are the product of Aycock's and professional activities as an epidemiologist and polio researcher at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. The bulk of the collection dates from 1923 to 1951 and consists of correspondence, unpublished manuscripts and lectures chronicling the development of WLA's research on polio, epidemiology, leprosy, and other contagious diseases. The papers document conclusions for which WLA was broadly recognized, such as the relative scarcity of paralysis in polio cases, post-tonsillectomy development of the bulbar form of polio, frequency of polio during pregnancy and the similarities between polio and widespread diseases such as mumps. WLA's work on the conjugal aspects of leprosy is also documented in the collection. There is little information about his early activities in World War I and a the New York Board of Health. Research data is relatively scarce, but references to research are found in Series I. WLA's correspondence with the Harvard Infantile Paralysis Commission resides in the Harvard Pusey Library. There is one photograph in the collection illustrating WLA's leprosy research in Hawaii. Personal and student information is located in Series I, in one folder, Dept. of Physiology, HMS, 1943-1945, and in Series III, in one folder, Recommendations, 1942-1950; these folders are restricted for 80 years.


William Lloyd Aycock (WLA), 1889-1951, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, specialized in epidemiology and communicable diseases research, including polio and leprosy.

WLA was born in Georgia in 1889, and received the MD from the University of Louisville in 1914. He became Instructor of Bacteriology at the New York Postgraduate Medical School and Hospital and diagnostician at the New York State Health Department prior to World War I. From 1917-1919, he served as a first lieutenant in the US Army, directing a base hospital laboratory, and as epidemiologist at the Central Laboratories of the American Expeditionary Forces. WLA directed the research laboratory of the Vermont State Board of Health from 1919 to 1931. He joined the Department of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene at Harvard Medical School in 1923 and began work in the same field at the Harvard School of Public Health in 1926. In 1928, he became an assistant professor in both departments.

WLA directed research for the Harvard Infantile Paralysis Commission from 1923 to 1951. During and after World War II, he was a consultant to both the US Department of War and the Office of the US Surgeon General on epidemiological issues. WLA conducted field research on leprosy in the Territory of Hawaii from 1949-1951 and on streptococcal and rheumatic fever in Newport, RI from 1950-51. WLA’s focus on the subclinical aspects of polio led to his thesis that polio was much more widespread than initially assumed and its paralytic form was the extreme, even atypical, manifestation of the disease. Comparative aspects of various contagious diseases and emphasis on host factors marked much of his research. He consulted with public health departments, research laboratories and institutes, including the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, in the United States, Canada and Great Britain, and served as the President of the American Epidemiological Society in 1943. WLA died of post-operative complications in 1951.

Series Arrangement

  1. Series I. Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health Administrative Correspondence, 1928-1951, n.d.
  2. Series II. Epidemiology Lectures, 1941-1943, n.d.
  3. Series II. Professional Activities Correspondence, 1932-1951
  4. Series III. Lectures and Unpublished Writings, 1919-1942, n.d.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The W. Lloyd Aycock Papers were acquired by the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Related Materials

Related materials in the Center for the History of Medicine include:

  1. W. Lloyd Aycock's faculty publications (1.Mh.1923.A)

For further information on related materials, consult the Public Services Librarian.

Processing Information

Processed by: George Despres, July 2001

Processing Note: H MS c203, the W. Lloyd Aycock Papers, were previously accessed under call number GA 5. When surveyed in 2001, WLA's correspondence was in alphabetical order; the rest was in no order. The collection was arranged into three series. Duplicates and items not created by WLA were discarded.

Aycock, W. Lloyd. Papers, 1919-1951: A Finding Aid.
Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine) Repository

The Center for the History of Medicine in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine is one of the world's leading resources for the study of the history of health and medicine. Our mission is to enable the history of medicine and public health to inform healthcare, the health sciences, and the societies in which they are embedded.

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