Diverse Science

McKinney, Roscoe Lewis | Studies on Fibers in Tissue Culture III

  • The rare offprint of the dissertation of the first Black American to earn a doctorate in anatomy, a presentation copy inscribed by the author to his doctoral advisor on the upper wrapper, “To Dr. W. Bloom with my best regards, Roscoe L. McKinney”. WorldCat locates only three institutional copies: at Duke University, the University of Chicago, and the Bibliothèque Nationale. Together with another offprint of the same paper, from Abdruck aus Archiv für Experimentelle Zellforschung besonders Gewebezüchtung, with McKinney’s pencilled ownership signature to the upper wrapper.

    Roscoe L. McKinney (1900-1978) earned his bachelor’s degree from Bates College in 1921 and then worked as a biology professor, first at Morehouse and then at Howard University, where his department head was the famed zoologist Ernest Everett Just.

    McKinney’s doctoral work was done at the University of Chicago where, with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, “he became involved in tissue culture studies under the late Alexander Maximow and later under professor William Bloom. Illustrations and citations of work contained in his PhD thesis there were later included in several succeeding editions of the Textbook of Histology by Maximow and Bloom” (obituary in the Journal of the National Medical Association, volume 71, number 5, May 1979).

    After completing his doctorate, McKinney founded the Howard University anatomy department and was its chairman between 1930 and 1947, concurrently serving as vice-dean of the College of Medicine. During the 1950s and 60s he spent significant time overseas, first as a Fulbright fellow at the Royal College of Medicine in Baghdad, then as an instructor at the Osmania Medical College of Hyderbad. He worked as a consultant in anatomy at the University of Saigon during the height of the Vietnam War, between 1969 and 1971.

    The recipient of this offprint, McKinney’s advisor William Bloom (1899-1972), was a prominent histologist, “well-known for his research on cells of connective tissue and their interrelationships; the ionizing radiation on cells and tissues; and the development of clinical hematology. He developed apparatus for pinpointing small parts of cells, including chromosomes, with beams of ionizing or ultra-violet radiations... He was also part of the Manhattan Project, where he studied the effects of radiation on cells” (finding aid for the William Bloom Papers, University of Chicago Library, 2009).

  • ...The Development of Reticulum into Collagenous Fibers in Cultures of Adult Rabbit Lymph Nodes (with Five Figures and Two Plates). A Dissertation Submitted to the Graduate Faculty in Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Anatomy, 1930. Reprinted from Arch. für Experimentelle Zellforschung IX: 14-35. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago, 1929.

    25 page pamphlet. Original grey wrappers printed in black. 4 colour plates, 5 illustrations from microphotographs within the text. Closed tears to the wrappers at the head and tail of spine, light toning and dulling at the edges of the wrappers, a few light marks, contents faintly toned. Very good condition. 

    Together with another offprint of the paper as published in English in a German journal in the same year. The German offprint in good condition, the wrappers separated and chipped.