Vaughan, Victor Clarence


Dates:         b. 1851; 1881 to Michigan; retired 1921; d. 1929

Locations:    Assist. Prof. Physiological Chemistry (1881‑), Prof. Hygiene and Physiological Chemistry and Chair Hygiene Dept. (1891‑1921); Dir. State Hygienic Laboratory (late 1890's); Dean Medical School, University of Michigan (1891‑1921); Bacteriologist, Mich. State Board of Health (1883‑1895, 1901‑1919); National Research Council (early 1920's)

Training:      BA Mt. Pleasant College 1872; MA Univ. Mich. 1875; Ph.D. Univ. of Mich. 1876; MD from Univ. of Mich.; 1888 to Berlin under Koch and Frankel

Fields:        hygiene; sanitary; food; public health

Publications: Lomb Prize paper for APHA, "Healthy Homes and Food for the Working Classes," (1885); with Novy, Ptomaines, Leucomaines and Cellular Toxins (1888); with Reed, and Shakespeare, Abstract of Report on the Origin and Spread of Typhoid Fever in U.S. Military Camps during the Spanish War of 1898 (Washington:  GPO, 1900); on water bacteriology, JAMA (9 April 1904): 304; with Novy, Cellular Toxins (1902); with Wheeler, "The Split Products of the Tubercle Bacillus," (1907); with V.C. Vaughan Jr. and J. Walter Vaughan, Protein Split Products (1913); with Henry F. Vaughan and George T. Palmer, Epidemiology and Public Health (1922);

SAB Involvement:  Charter member of SAB; SAB Council Member 1906; active in AAPB but resigned in 1910's; Pres. American Medical Association; SAB Honorary Member 1911

Archive Files: 2‑IXC Folder 56, " Bact. at the University of Michigan," by Malcolm H. Soule;  D.H. Bergey, "Early Instructors in Bacteriology in the United States," J. of Bact. 2 (1917): 595‑601; Novy, "Victor C. Vaughan:  An Appreciation," Michigan Alumnus 36 (1929); 171‑173; Novy, "Victor Clarence Vaughan," Science 70 (1929); 624‑626; Gay, "Dr. Victor Vaughan and his Relations to the National Research Council," J. Lab. Clin. Med. 15 (1930): 888‑890; Vaughan, A Doctor's Memories (Indianapolis:  Bobbs‑Merrill, 1926); Nat. Cyc. American Biog. 29, 1941; ANB; DAB



     ERIC ‑‑ Vaughan is really a chemist before a bacteriologist, and interested in physiological aspects of bacterial metabolism.  He researched the poison of bacteria, some of which he termed ptomaines.  For example, Vaughan isolated from poisonous cheese a ptomaine which he called tyrotoxicon, which while appearing only rarely, resembled other poisons in cheese.  Vaughan held that a bacterium from the colon group played an important part in producing poisons in dairy products.

     In 1881, as assist. prof. in physiological chem., taught elective course in school of political science on "Sanitary Science," which included discussion on germs, filth, disinfectants, vaccines, etc.  The course emphasized "the mastery of man over his environment and his fate." (Soule 6), and was given to literary students.  In 1883, his title was listed as "medicinal chemistry."  He also gave a practical course, "Sanitary Examinations" in the chemistry dept. from 1884, and then transferred to the Hygienic Lab. after 1892 and titled "Methods of Hygiene."  Vaughan also taught hygiene to med students until his retirement in 1921.

     His early research interest was in poisons, and he believed that bacteria caused disease by a similar poison process.  His most famous work was on bacterial fractions (ptomaines) and anaphylaxis.

     Vaughan was appointed to the State Board of Health in 1883 which he held until 1919 (save a period between 1895‑1901) when the Board was abolished and the office of the State Health Commissioner created.  In 1885, he served on a APHA committee established to evaluate the practice of disinfection.  Sternberg, Vaughan, and Leeds, conducted research at the biological laboratories of JHU, issuing a final report as Rept. of the Comm. on Disinfectants of the Am. Pub. Health Assoc.

     In 1887, he helped set up the Dept. of Hygiene, and was given the chair of Prof. of Hygiene and Physiological Chemistry and Director of the Hygienic Lab.  In 1889, Vaughan and Novy offered the first formal course in bacteriology in Hygienic Laboratory.  The course was elective for both medical and Arts & Sciences students.  From 1890 to 1902 he taught "Hygiene" a lecture course to medical and dental students.

     Vaughan had several students (and a few children) who also became bacteriologists.

     In 1900, Vaughan served with Shakespeare and Reed on the Typhoid Commission, and wrote the majority of the report that followed, emphasizing the role of personal contact and flies, rather than water supplies.  During World War I, Vaughan worked with the National Research Council.

     At the 1901 meeting of the SAB, Vaughan discussed "A Tank for the Growth of Germs in Large Numbers," which was designed to produce toxins on a commercial basis.  At the 1904 meeting of the SAB, Vaughan presented on "The Intracellular Toxins," a paper that was discussed by Rosenau and Bergey and later published in JAMA.

     At the 1921 SAB meeting, Vaughan delivered an "address" on Epidemiology.  At this time he was listed at the NRC.