H. E. Robertson

Harold Eugene Robertson


Born: 8 October 1878, Waseca, Minnesota

Died: 8 March 1946, Rochester, Minnesota

Academic Degrees

  • BA: Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota, 1899
  • MD: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1905

Academic Positions

  • 1906 - 1906 Instructor in Pathology, Albany Medical College and Surgical Pathologist, Albany Hospital, under Dr. RM Pearce, Albany, New York
  • 1906 - 1907 Assistant Pathologist to Dr. F.B. Mallory, Boston City Hospital
  • 1907 Instructor in Pathology, Harvard Medical School
  • 1907 - 1909 Demonstrator of Pathology and Bacteriology, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis Minnesota
  • 1909 - 1910 Assistant Professor of Pathology and Bacteriology, University of Minnesota Medical School
  • 1910 - 1913 Associate Professor of Pathology and Bacteriology, University of Minnesota Medical School
  • 1914 - 1921 Professor of Pathology, University of Minnesota Medical School
  • 1921 - 1946 Head of the Section on Pathologic Anatomy, Mayo Clinic and Professor of Pathology, Mayo Foundation

Selected Career Highlights

  • Published on a wide variety of lesions including effects of x-ray on living tissue, phlegmonous gastritis, poliomyelitis, cecal sarcoma, von Recklinghausen's disease, use of antisyphilitic drugs, ventral tumors of the sacrum, chemical tests for occult blood, death certificates as viewed from the post-mortem room, problems pertaining to the organization of the university health department, teamwork of the roentgenologist with the pathologist, amyloid, TB, better post-mortem services, carcinoma of the islets with hypoglycemia and hyperinsulinemia, problems of cancer mortality statistics, labeling and mounting of museum specimens, cirrhosis due to cinchophen, pulmonary embolism, tumor nomenclature, osteosarcoma, and others.

  • "Keeping a health diary may save your life" according to Dr. Robertson (article from Minnesota Chats Oct 27, 1944).

  • Past President of the American Association of Pathologists and Bacteriologists and member of the Board of Directors of the American Society for the Control of Cancer.

  • Took courses in pathology at the University of Berlin and the University of Freiburg (1914-1915).

  • 1917-1919: Was a major in the Medical Corps of the American Expeditionary Force; stationed at Army Laboratory I for six months, and at the Central Medical Department Laboratory at Dijon, France for 6 months; was a consulting pathologists in the district of Paris for six months.

  • In the spring of 1920 he was invited to spend three summer months at the Mayo doing post-mortem work. At Rochester during that time, Dr. Robertson breathed such new life into the weekly clinico-pathological conferences of the Mayo Clinic by his merciless exposure of the clinician's errors, that at the end of the summer Dr. William Mayo invited him to come permanently to the clinic. In the spring of 1921 Dr. Robertson resigned from the University of Minnesota Medical School to move to Rochester.

  • For approximately a quarter of a century his wide, exact knowledge and conspicuous ability, backed by an outstandingly strong personality, contributed greatly to the clinical, instructional, and research work of the Mayo Clinic/Foundation, and justified the esteem in which he was held by his colleagues. He was known for his loud voice, which he raised for emphasis. Legend has it that his lectures were heard by students in anatomy several blocks away.


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