Dates: b. 1871; 1890's‑1920's; d. 1933
Locations: Rhode Island Shellfish Commission; Dept. Milk Inspector for Providence; Bacteriologist, Providence Health Department; Assist. Prof. Biology (around 1900); Prof. of Zoology, Brown University; Later, Prof. of Bacteriology and Head of the Dept. of Biology, Brown (1910's)
Training: AB from Brown, 1893; A.M. Brown 1894; graduate work at Harvard.
Fields: medical; public health; water; milk; BACT‑NOM; biology; industrial;
Publications: editor of APHA Standard Methods for Water Analysis and Shell Fish Examination; A Laboratory Course in Bacteriology, for the Use of Medical, Agricultural, and Industrial Students (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders & Co., 1901)
SAB Involvement: Charter SAB member; Chair, SAB Comm. on Working Organization 1903‑; Sec. Treas. 1904, 1905; Chair then Member, SAB Comm. on Uniform Methods for the Identification of Bacterial Species 1904‑1910; SAB vice‑president 1906 (but absent first day of meetings), 1910; Member SAB Council 1907, 1908; president of SAB in 1911; committee member Identification of Bacterial Species; session chair for industrial bacteriology 1916 meeting.
Presidential Address: “Some Biochemical Problems in Bacteriology” Science 35: 357-362 http://www.sciencemag.org/content/35/897/357.short (first page only; full text requires subscription) Archive Files: See, John W.M. Bunker, "Frederic Poole Gorham, 1871‑1933," from American J. of Public Health v. 23, 1933, 716; J. Bact. 26:5, 1933; Nat. Cyc. American Biog. 23, 1933
Member of the Bug Club.
Came to Brown in 1895, interested in distribution of sewage in Narragansett Bay with special effect on the oyster industry, but quickly added diphtheria studies. His work on sewage was intended to save the failing shellfish industry and the sanitary reforms were able to bring back a dying industry. He performed studies on bacterial variation, with reference to the pseudo‑diphtheria bacillus. Quickly established a course in bacteriology.
Worked for the Health Dept. of the City of Providence, performing the first diphtheria diagnosis and influencing Chapin's vision of Public Health. He also worked on milk examinations, and mosquito eradication. Interestingly, Gorham was a professor of zoology, and worked on phosphorescent bacteria.
At the 1899 meeting of the SAB, Gorham presented a paper on "Some Varieties of Bacillus pyocyaneous Found in the Throat," and another on "Demonstration of Photogenic Bacteria." At the 1900 meeting, he delivered a "Demonstration of Some New Laboratory Devices," including culture tubes with etched surface for writing (discussed by Robin, Hill, Sedgwick, Ward, Abbott and Park), and another "Demonstrations of Pathogenic Bacteria." Gorham also submitted "Some Varieties of B. pyocyaneous Found in the Throat," which was discussed by Welch, Abbott, E. Smith, Ford and Blumer, and presented a demonstration of phosphorescent bacteria. At the 1901 meeting, he discussed "The Morphology of Bacillus diphtheriae," in which he demonstrated that the long granular form could be modified, through a series of sections and platings, into the short, thick, solid‑staining form. He also submitted three short technical papers, read by title: "White Acid and its Use in the Laboratory," "An Electric Water Bath for Gelatin and Agar," and "Photographs Taken by the Light of Photogenic Bacteria."
At the 1902 meeting of the SAB, Gorham described "A Mold Pathogenic to Lobsters" (discussed by Conn). And, at the 1903 meeting, Gorham returned to the "Photogenic Bacteria" (discussed by Sternberg, Conn, Novy and Bergey). He presented a purely technical paper on "A Germ‑Proof Filter," at the 1904 meeting (discussed by Houghton and Rickards).
Gorham submitted a report on "Azolitimin (sp?) as a Substitute for Litmus," to the 1907 SAB, which was read in abstract by the secretary. The interest in non‑traditional media was extended in Gorham and Dolt's report on "A Synthetic Medium as a Substitute for Litmus Lactose Agar in Isolation of the Colon Bacillus from Water Supplies," which was read in abstract by the secretary.
Gorham joined two of his juniors at Brown at the 1908 meeting of the SAB, to discuss synthetic media. His paper was on "A Synthetic Medium as a Substitute for Loeffler's Blood Serum in the Diagnosis of Diphtheria." The actual research was performed by Hadley.
Gorham was a key figure in the laboratory section of the APHA. In his 1911 presidential address before the SAB ("Biochemical Programs in Bacteriology"), Gorham issued a plea for greater use of synthetic media to determine, quantitatively, the physiological aspects of bacterial growth. In addition, the address noted: "Variation, selection, and heredity are factors of evolution in bacteria as elsewhere; they would provide an excellent field for the study of evolution." (Clark 141)
At the 1912 meeting, Gorham supervised the session on "Systematic and Physiologic Bacteriology." At the 1913 meeting of the SAB, Gorham, Hebden and Levine discussed the "Use of Bacterial Cultures in Treating Textile Fibers." Also at the 1913 meeting, Gorham presented the "Report of the Comm. on Methods of Identification of Bacterial Species."
Gorham was included in the 1914 SAB/AAAS joint session on "Lower Organisms in Relation to Man's Welfare,” and presented the "Use of Bacteria in the Treatment of Textile Fibers." At the 1915 SAB, Gorham issued the "Rept. of the Comm. on Standard Methods of Bacteriological Analysis of Water," and delivered a paper on "The Collection of Milk Samples for Bacteriological Examination: Presentation of Apparatus."
Gorham was instrumental in the development of the Standard Methods for Water Analysis, and the Standard Methods for Shell Fish Examination.