ASM Attends UN General AssemblyASM President, Susan Sharp, Ph.D., joined global leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York today in a historical meeting to focus on the commitment to fight AMR.
Dr. Halvorson (1897-1975) received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering (1921) and a Ch.E. degree (1922) from the University of Minnesota. He continued graduate work in Bacteriology at Minnesota, receiving the Ph.D. in 1928, and remaining as a member of the Bacteriology faculty until 1949, becoming Director of the Hormel Institute there in 1943. In 1949, Dr. Halvorson was appointed head of the Bacteriology Department at the University of Illinois, and when the School of Life Sciences opened there in 1959, he was its first Director. He retired in 1965, returning to Minnesota as a Research Professor.
Dr. Halvorson's research interests were varied, including: application of statistical methods to microbiology; chemical and sanitary engineering; immunology; chemistry of soaps and antiseptics; virology (purification of poliovirus); and bacterial physiology.
Dr. Halvorson's service to ASM was extensive: he served as President of the Society of American Bacteriologists (now ASM) in 1955; was the first Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology (1955-58); and first Chairman of the American Board of Microbiology (1958-65). He also served on the Committee for Guidance in Training for Microbiology, conducting site visits and providing evaluations for the Microbiology programs at a number of universities. He was elected to Honorary Membership, the Society's highest honor, in 1969.
This collection is comprised of three series: miscellaneous personal papers; materials relating to the American Academy of Microbiology (including valuable material concerning the establishment of AAM); and materials relating to the SAB/ASM.
Two topics of particular interest are covered in Series 3. In 1953, the SAB Council accepted an invitation from the Texas Branch to hold the 1956 Annual Meeting in Houston. Shortly thereafter, concerns were raised about the possibility that African-American members of the Society would not be able to participate fully in the meetings due to local discrimination practices. The correspondence concerning this issue (Folders 5 and 10) offers interesting insights into the question of the proper role of a scientific society in regard to larger social questions.
The file (Folder 13) on the Presidential Address of 1955 is also of great interest. Dr. Halvorson's address, "The Hybrid Bacteriologist" (published in Bacteriological Reviews 19:217-221) examined the typical academic background of practicing bacteriologists, as well as prescriptions for the proper training of future workers in the field. The research for this speech consisted of establishing a list of the thirty or so most eminent bacteriologists of the day and sending them a questionnaire asking at what point in their formal training they decided upon bacteriology; what their previous major and minor fields were; what background they had in chemistry, physics and mathematics; and what prescriptions they would offer for the proper training of future bacteriologists. Although the results of the survey are only summarized in the address, and none of the respondents mentioned by name, Dr. Halvorson kept the questionnaires. The varied backgrounds and recommendations offered by these men are of great interest. Respondents included C.B. van Niel, Robert Buchanan, Joshua Lederberg, Albert J. Kluyver and K.F. Meyer.
SERIES 1: PERSONAL PAPERS, 1953-1971 (chronological)
SERIES 2: AMERICAN ACADEMY OF MICROBIOLOGY 1953-1971 (chronological)
SERIES 3: SOCIETY OF AMERICAN BACTERIOLOGISTS/AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR MICROBIOLOGY
[As the majority of folders in this series cover the same years, the arrangement is alphabetical]