R. M. Pearce

Richard Mills Pearce, Jr.


Born: 3 March 1874, Montreal, Canada

Died: 16 February 1930, New York

Academic Degrees

  • Undergrad: Boston Latin School; MD
  • MD: Harvard, 1897 (Tufts College Medical School)
  • Doctor of Science: Lafayette College, 1915

Academic Positions

  • 1899 - 1900 Instructor in Pathology, Harvard (with Councilman)
  • 1900 - 1903 Demonstrator then Assistant Professor of Pathology, University of Pennsylvania (Simon Flexner, Chair)
  • 1903 - 1908 Professor of Pathology and Bacteriology, Albany Medical College and Director of the Bender Hygienic Laboratory and Director of the Bureau of Pathology of the New York State Board of Health (succeeded by S. Burt Wolbach)
  • 1908 - 1910 Professor of Pathology, University and Bellevue Medical College, New York City
  • 1910 - 1919 Professor of Research Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (served a year as Chair when Howard Taylor Ricketts, who had accepted the Chair, died in Mexico from typhus)
  • 1919 - 1930 Director, Division of Medical Education, Rockefeller Foundation, New York City


  • 1897 - 1899 Resident Pathologist, Boston City Hospital (with F.B. Mallory)

Selected Career Highlights

  • Pursued productive lines of research on mechanisms of injury including studies on the pathology of scarlet fever and diphtheria, experimental pancreatitis (with Flexner); reported first case of visceral Leptothrix infection in man; studies on cytotoxins, the islet of Langerhans, necrosis of the liver, nephritis, diseases of the spleen; the biochemical pathology of the liver and kidney.

  • Earliest description of the pathogenesis of ABO blood group-mediated rejection of liver transplants (1904 Journal of Medical Research paper: Toxicity of Antibodies; rediscovered in 1988).

  • Interested in and pursued throughout his lifetime experimental methods as a base for medical education; lectured on "The Scientific Method in Medicine."

  • One of the founders of the IAMM (1907): President IAMM 1912-1913.

  • In 1913, he and S.J. Meltzer of Rockefeller founded the American Society for Experimental Pathology (now the ASIP); Founding President.

  • During the 1920's he fostered medical education around the world by his travels (including a year in residence at Peking Union Medical College) and by dispensing millions of Rockefeller dollars.

  • President of the Association of Pathologists and Bacteriologists; responsible for the establishment of the Rush Lecture Society of Philadelphia.

  • Exhibited supreme talent with a capacity for sensing the most opportune methods of achieving his ideals equaled only by his tack/persuasiveness; extremely devoted to the interests of his friends--mentor and confidant, faithful and inspiring. He worked until the day before his death.

  • In his 1912 Hitchcock Lectures at the University of California, San Francisco, he declared it, "...the duty of the university so to organize its laboratories and hospital that this advance of medicine by research may continue, side by side with an aid to the advancement of civilization."


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