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Maurice B. Visscher papers

Identifier: ua-01004

Scope and Content

The collection documents the professional life and personal interests of Dr. Maurice Visscher. The bulk of the collection contains personal and professional correspondence to peers at the University of Minnesota and throughout the world, including Dr. Owen Wangensteen, A.O.C. Nier, Harold Diehl, and Earl Wood. Other materials document his involvement in various committees, organizations and societies, such as the American Heart Association, the American Association of Scientific Workers, American Medical Association, Federation of American Scientists, and Unitarian Service Committee. A small collection of publications, photographs, pamphlets, speeches and clippings are also included.


  • 1926-1981


Language of Materials

Collection materials in English

Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Biographical Sketch of Maurice B. Visscher (1901-1983)

Maurice B. Visscher, B.S. (1922) Hope College (Holland, MI), Ph.D. (1925), M.D. (1931) University of Minnesota. Appointed as professor and head of the department of physiology at the University of Minnesota in 1936. Member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, president of the American Physiological Society, the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, the International Organization of Medical Sciences, the National Society for Medical Research, and secretary-general of the International Union of Physiological Sciences. Dr. Visscher was a world renowned expert in cardiac energy metabolism, heart membranes, and the use of isotopic tracers.

Maurice Visscher was born in Holland, Michigan on August 25, 1901. After completing his bachelor's degree at Hope College in 1922, Dr. Visscher moved to Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota, earning his Ph.D. in physiology in 1925 and his M.D. in 1931. He was a National Research Fellow at University College, London (1925-1926) and the University of Chicago (1926-1927).

Dr. Visscher was the chair and professor of the department of physiology at the University of Tennessee (1927-1929), the University of Southern California (1929-1931), and the University of Illinois (1931-1936) before joining the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 1936. Appointed as Regents' Professor in 1967, the highest honor bestowed upon the faculty at the University of Minnesota and retired from the faculty in 1970 as Regents' professor emeritus.

His academic interests included heart and lung research, digestive research, cancer, kidney research, aging and nutrition. Dr. Visscher led his department to form an interdisciplinary approach to physiological research, conducting weekly meetings with the then chief of surgery in the Department of Surgery, Owen Wangensteen. He was president of the American Physiological Society (1948-1949), chairman of the American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, president of the National Society for Medical Research and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Known for his research, Dr. Visscher published over 250 articles and books during his academic career.

Dr. Visscher believed in promoting science to help solve social issues. He served as co-leader of the medico-nutrition unit dispatched to war-torn Italy in 1945 by the United Nations' Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. He opposed McCarthyism, atmospheric testing of nuclear bombs, the Vietnam War, and the anti-vivisectionist movement, was a supporter of civil liberties of academic faculty and scientists, and in 1957 helped establish the Group Health Plan, an early health maintenance organization. Maurice Visscher died on May 1,1983.


42.5 Cubic Feet (34 boxes)


Collection contains correspondence, publications, photographs, pamphlets, speeches and clippings regarding the life and work of Maurice Visscher, Regents professor emeritus of physiology at the University of Minnesota.


The collection is arranged in alphabetical order by subject.

Source of acquisition

The collection was deposited in University Archives from 1981 to 1984.

Related Materials in University Archives

Owen H. Wangensteen papers

Department of Physiology records

Department of Surgery records

Maurice B. Visscher papers, 1926-1981
Karen Spilman
January 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area