Cyrus H. Fiske papers
The Cyrus H. Fiske papers, 1908-1971 (inclusive), 1921-1957 (bulk), are a product of Fiske’s research and personal and professional activities throughout the period of his service at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, as Assistant in Biological Chemistry, Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry, and Professor of Biological Chemistry, and at Western Reserve University Medical School, Cleveland, Ohio, as Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Assistant Professor of Biochemistry.
- 1908-1971 (inclusive),
- Majority of material found within 1921-1957 .
- Fiske, Cyrus H., 1890-1978. (Person)
Language of Materials
Records are predominantly in English. Occasional correspondence, scientific reprints, and newspaper clippings are in French and German.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice. Access to personal, patient, and student information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions are noted where they appear in Series I and II. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.
The Papers are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to consult Public Services for further information concerning retrieval of material.
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.
Extent6.53 cubic feet (7 records center cartons, 1 legal size document box, and 1 oversize box)
The Cyrus H. Fiske papers, 1908-1971 (inclusive), 1921-1957 (bulk), are a product of Fiske’s research and personal and professional activities throughout the period of his service at Harvard Medical School as Assistant in Biological Chemistry, Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry, and Professor of Biological Chemistry, and at Western Reserve University Medical School as Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Assistant Professor of Biochemistry. The papers are arranged in three series: I. Subject Files (1908-1971, undated); II. Teaching Files (1921-1942, undated); and III. Research and Publishing Files (1914-1950, undated).
Series I (Subject Files) constitutes the bulk of the collection and consists of: research notes and related correspondence concerning various areas of biological chemistry, notably adenosine triphosphate, liver, pernicious anemia, and phosphocreatine; correspondence regarding Fiske’s involvement in professional societies; indices to scientific papers relevant to Fiske’s work; lectures and examination questions prepared by Fiske for his teaching appointments at Harvard Medical School and graded and ungraded student assignments; and personal correspondence with friends and colleagues. Subject Files also include: collected publications and newspaper clippings concerning Fiske’s research topics, general scientific and technological developments, and advertisements for laboratory equipment and supplies; audio recordings of three scientific talks; and a research notebook recorded in 1926 by Fiske’s research partner, Yellapragada Subbarow.
Series II (Teaching Files) consists of student assignments, examinations, notebooks, and Ph.D. theses collected by Cyrus H. Fiske during the period of his teaching appointments at Harvard Medical School. Student work is both graded and ungraded, and focuses on the determination and isolation of various chemical compounds, including adenosine triphosphate, creatine, lactic acid, phosphocreatine, phosphorus, and potassium. Assignments also address the chemical composition and function of several human and animal bodily organs, including blood, the thymus, the pancreas, and the liver. Series III (Research and Publishing Files) contains research notes, graphs, data tables, and publication reprints generated by Fiske as a product of his research and publishing activities. Research and writings concern the preparation, isolation, and determination of multiple chemical compounds, including adenosine triphosphate, carnosine, creatine, glucose, iron, and phosphorus, and the metabolism and chemical composition of blood, the liver, muscles, and the pancreas. Series III also contains newspaper clippings collected by Fiske to support his research activities.
Papers are predominantly in English. Occasional correspondence, scientific paper reprints, and newspaper clippings are in French and German.
Cyrus H. Fiske (1890-1978), B.A., 1910, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; M.D., 1914, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, was Professor of Biological Chemistry Emeritus at Harvard Medical School and Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at Western Reserve Medical School, Cleveland, Ohio. Fiske’s research focused on determining the chemical composition of living tissues, including blood, the liver, the spleen, and the pancreas. With Yellapragada Subbarow (1895-1948), he is credited with developing the colorimetric method for the estimation of phosphorus in solutions in 1925, and with discovering, isolating, and describing two chemical compounds involved in muscle metabolism: phosphocreatine in 1927 and adenosine-triphosphate in 1929.
Cyrus Hartwell Fiske was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1890 to Frederick W. Fiske (1848-1934), founder of the St. Paul Academy, Minnesota, and Isabella T. Fiske (1852-1935). He received his B.A. from the University of Minnesota in 1910 and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1914. Fiske served one year as Assistant in Biological Chemistry at Harvard Medical School (1914-1915) before leaving for the Western Reserve University Medical School, where he served as Associate Professor of Biochemistry (1915-1917) and Assistant Professor of Biochemistry (1917-1918). In 1918, Fiske returned to Harvard Medical School, where he was appointed Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry (1918-1934), Professor of Biological Chemistry (1935-1956), and Professor of Biological Chemistry Emeritus (1957-1978).
Fiske’s work focused primarily on determining the chemical composition of living tissues, specifically blood, the liver, the spleen, and the pancreas. His research also included diseases of the blood, particularly pernicious anemia and its treatment with liver. With Yellapragada Subbarow, he is credited with introducing the colorimetric method for the estimation of phosphorus in solutions (1925), and with discovering, isolating, and describing two chemical compounds involved in muscle metabolism: phosphocreatine in 1927 and adenosine triphosphate 1929. Fiske served as Secretary (1931-1936) and President (1937-1946) of the Harvard Chapter of the Nu Sigma Nu Alumni medical fraternity, and as Treasurer of American Society of Biological Chemists (1931-1936). Fiske also served as a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Chemical Society, and the American Institute of Chemists. His publications include: “The Determination of Inorganic Sulfate, Total Sulfate, and Total Sulfur in Urine by the Benzidine Method” (1921); “Inorganic Phosphate and Acid Excretion in the Postabsorptive Period” (1921); “The Colorimetric Determination of Phosphorus” (1925), with Yellapragada Subbarow; “Nitrogen Metabolism in the Chick Embryo” (1926), with Edward A. Boyden; “Phosphocreatine” (1929), with Yellapragada Subbarow; and “Phosphorus Compounds of Muscle and Liver” (1929), with Yellapragada Subbarow.
Cyrus H. Fiske married Josephine K. Bissman (1888-1980) on 22 September 1917. He had a daughter, Catherine Higgins (1918-1999), and a son, Robert H. Fiske (born 1923). Fiske died on 11 December 1978, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Series and Subseries in the Collection
- I. Subject Files, 1908-1971, undated
- II. Teaching Files, 1921-1942, undated
- III. Research and Publishing Files, 1914-1950, undated
Institutional records of the Harvard Medical School Department of Biological Chemistry (1919-1951) and the records of the Harvard chapter of the Nu Sigma Nu Alumni medical fraternity (1922-1946) found in the Cyrus H. Fiske papers were transferred to the Harvard Medical School archives, July 2012.
Records of the Harvard chapter of the Sigma Xi scientific research honor society (1932-1933) were transferred to the Harvard University Archives, September 2012.
Serials that came with the collection and constitute part of Fiske’s professional library were transferred to the Francis A. Countway Library’s General Collection to be catalogued, July 2012. Duplicate serials already in the General Collection were discarded. A complete list of transferred and discarded serials is available in the Center’s control file for the collection.
Processed by Amber LaFountain, 2012 July.
Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine analyzed, arranged, and described the papers, and created a finding aid to improve access. Items were rehoused and, where necessary, photocopied to acid-free paper. Folder titles were transcribed from the originals when available; titles supplied by the processing staff appear in brackets only on the physical folders. Duplicate reprints already in the collection were discarded.
- Fiske, Cyrus H., 1890-1978. Papers, 1908-1971 (inclusive), 1921-1957 (bulk): Finding Aid.
- Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
- Language of description
- Processing of the Cyrus H. Fiske papers was funded by the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine's Charles S. Minot Fund for Hematology.
- EAD ID
Part of the Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine) Repository
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