Diverse Science

Leffall, LaSalle D. | No Boundaries. A Cancer Surgeon's Odyssey.

  • First edition, first printing of the autobiography of one of the world’s leading cancer surgeons. Presentation copy inscribed by the author to columnist William Safire on the title, “To Bill Safire, with best wishes & thanks for all you do for so many at Dana and the New York Times, Lasalle D. Leffall, 9/27/06.”

    LaSalle D. Leffall (1930-2019) graduated first in his class from the Howard University School of Medicine and served as a senior fellow in cancer surgery at Memorial Sloane-Kettering, which he chose because “I thought surgery was the most dynamic field” and “Memorial Sloane-Kettering was using some of the most exciting techniques” (Krapp, Notable Black American Scientists, p. 205). In 1962 he joined the faculty of Howard, rising to chair of the department of surgery only eight years later.

    Leffall “focused on clinical studies of cancer of the breast, colorectum, head, and neck,” publishing more than 116 journal articles across his career. He became the first Black president of the American Cancer Society in 1978, and “used this national forum to emphasize the problems of cancer in minorities, holding the first conference on cancer among Black Americans in February 1979” (Krapp). Leffalle also served as the first Black president of the American College of Surgeons, was a visiting professor at more than 200 institutions, and received numerous awards. In 1996 Howard University established an endowed chair in surgery in his name.

    Bill Safire (1929-2009) began his career as a public relations executive before joining the Nixon campaign in 1960, working as a speechwriter for both Nixon and Agnew. In 1978 he began a nearly thirty year-long career as a New York Times political columnist. Lefall’s mention of “Dana” in the inscription references the Charles A. Dana Foundation, a private charity supporting brain research, of which Safire was chief executive and chairman and Leffalle a member of the board of directors. This copy of No Boundaries was inscribed to Safire at a Dana Foundation event, “Can Immunology Help Win the War on Cancer?” at which Leffall was one of the panellists, and which was followed by a reception and signing to celebrate the book’s publication.

  • Washington D. C.: Howard University Press, 2005.

    Octavo. Original black boards, titles to spine gilt. With the dust jacket. 8 double-sided plates from photographs. Only the lightest rubbing and a few minor creases to the jacket. A superb, fresh copy.