McFarland, Joseph


Dates:         b. 1868; 1891 to Penn; 1894 to Board of Health; d. 1945

Locations:    Lecturer in Bacteriology, University of Pennsylvania Medical School (1896‑); Philadelphia General Hospital (Blockley); Dir. Biological Laboratories, H.K. Mulford Company (1894‑1900); Bacteriologist, Phil. Board of Health (1894‑1895); Chair in Pathology and Bacteriology, Medico‑Chirurgical College (1896‑); Park, Davis and Co. (1900‑1910); Prof. of Pathology, Woman's Medical College (1910‑1914); Director of Laboratories, Henry Phipps (1907‑1910);

Training:      MD at Penn 1889; Halle and Heidelberg, under Fraenkel 1895; Pasteur Inst. under Metchnikoff 1903

Fields:        pathology; medical;

Publications: Pathogenic Bacteria and Protozoa and Fighting Foes too Small to See; “The Beginning of Bacteriology in Philadelphia” Bull. Inst. Hist. Med. V:2, 1937

SAB Involvement:  Charter SAB member; SAB council member 1906‑; Member, SAB Comm. Standardization of Sera 1906‑;

Archive Files: see McFarland's own article; D.H. Bergey, "Early Instructors in Bacteriology in the United States," J. of Bact. 2 (1917): 595‑601; “Memoir of Joseph McFarland” by Stanley Reimann, Transactions & Studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia 4 ser. 14:3, 1946



     In 1892, McFarland was appointed lecturer in bacteriology of the Univ. Penn Medical School, and gave a lecture course with some lab instruction to 2nd year medical students.  According to Bergey, the course consisted of making hay infusions, studying saliva, urine and sputum, etc.  "The students were taught the ordinary methods of cultivation and staining, special attention being given to the staining of the tubercle bacillus." (Bergey 601)

     Lots of simultaneous jobs.  McFarland organized and directed a laboratory of biology for the H.K. Mulford Co. in 1894, located first in West Philadelphia and then in Glenolden Station.

     In 1894, McFarland was appointed bacteriologist to the Phil. Board of Health, and aimed to produce antitoxin for the whole city.  However, he was dissatisfied with the city's stables, and the shared laboratory at Univ. Penn.  Initially, he used stables provided by the Fire Dept., and then those of the Police Dept.  He left in frustration for the Mulford Co. in 1895. 

     At the 1900 meeting of the SAB, he presented a paper on "Immunization of Animals to Rattlesnake Venom, and Some Studies of Antivenine."  At the 1905 meeting, McFarland and Edwar M. L'Engle presented their "Observations upon the Phagocytic Power of the Blood of Normal Human Beings," using cultures of Staph. pyogenes aureus, which was discussed by Ruediger.