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John F. Fulton Papers

Identifier: MS C 603


Reports, meeting minutes, photographs, and speeches collected by John F. Fulton for Yale's Aeromedical Research Unit and the National Research Council's Division of Medical Services document military and aviation physiological studies.


  • 1929-1953


12.88 Linear Feet (13 boxes)



Reports, meeting minutes, photographs, and speeches collected by John F. Fulton for Yale's Aeromedical Research Unit and the National Research Council's Division of Medical Services document military and aviation physiological studies.

Physical Location

Materials stored onsite. History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access.

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NLM does not possess copyright to the collection. Archival collections often contain mixed copyrights; while NLM is the owner of the physical items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. It is the user's responsibility to research and understand any applicable copyright and re-publication rights not allowed by fair use. NLM does not grant permissions to publish.

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Biographical Note

John F. Fulton (1899-1960), was an internationally renowned physiologist, specializing with the nervous system, and a medical historian of note. He was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received both his bachelor's (1921) and medical (1928) degrees from Harvard. Between 1921 and 1928, as a Rhodes scholar, he received a B.A. (1923) and completed a Ph.D. (1925) at Oxford. He joined the faculty at Yale in 1930 as the Sterling Professor of Physiology, a position he held until 1951. During the 1930s, his laboratory's experiments involving the removal of chimpanzee brain lobes led to the development of human frontal lobotomy operations which were initiated by Egaz Moniz. Fulton was also founder, in 1937, of the Journal of Neurophysiology.

In 1940, Dr. Fulton established the Yale Aeromedical Research Unit, which was devoted to the study of the physiological problems associated with aviation. The unit's research, including the development of a high-altitude flying suit, was invaluable to allied aviators during World War II. He was appointed to membership in the National Research Council's Division of Medical Services in 1942, serving with the Committee on Aviation Medicine and the Sub-Committee on Decompression Sickness.

Collection Summary

Reports, meeting minutes, photographs, and speeches collected by John F. Fulton document military and aviation physiological studies solely related the Yale Aeromedical Research Unit (1940-1951) and from Fulton's membership on the National Research Council's (NRC) Division of Medical Sciences from 1942 to 1945. The NRC, established in 1916, provided independent advice, often to the U.S. Government, on scientific and medical problems. These papers mostly represent data collected from various official sources which formed part of the NRC's research on questions of physiological concern to ground troops and aviators during World War II. Post-war reports and data were obtained in support of the Yale Aeromedical Research Unit's continued studies. Nothing in the collection was created by Dr. Fulton himself.

Series 1, Reports (1935-1953), the largest segment of the collection, is arranged first by country and then by the name of the originating organization. Studies by U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force on health and survival aspects of military aviation are complemented by reports generated at the National Research Council. Great Britain represents the largest foreign source, with information from the military and government. Air Ministry Flying Personnel Research Committee (FPRC) reports address aviation issues, while Ministry of Home Security's Research and Experiments Department reports such as research committee (R.C.) reports, research experiment notes (R.E.N.), and casualty surveys study the injuring capabilities of different types of explosives. Smaller report groups come from Canada and Australia.

Series 2, Meeting Minutes (1937-1952), originate from the same organizations represented in Series 1 and provide accompanying administrative perspective to those reports. They are arranged first by country and then by organization. Topical conferences and committee meetings conducted by the National Research Council make up the bulk of the American portion, followed by Great Britain's Air Ministry and Medical Research Council. The majority of the meetings were aviation oriented.

Series 3, Speeches (1940-1950), comprises a few addresses on physiology and aviation medicine.

Series 4, Printed Material (1929-1949) provides product manuals, articles, and pamphlets. Most of them are concerned with aviators' oxygen supply and other flight-related health issues.

Series 5, Correspondence and Photographs (1941-1952), holds one folder of letters which accompanied the transmission of the reports and minutes, while the other presents a series of images of staff and equipment at the Yale Aeronautical Research Unit.


Gift, Yale University Library, 7/3/1988, 7/26/1988, 7/24/1990. Acc. #0520, 0523, 0646.

Related Collections

Yale University holds the majority of Fulton's personal papers. See


Processed by
Jim Labosier
Processing Completed
January 2014
Encoded by
Jim labosier

Language of Materials

Collection materials primarily in English

Finding Aid to the John F. Fulton Papers, 1929-1953
Unverified Partial Draft
Jim Labosier
January 2014
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English
Edition statement

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Archives and Modern Manuscripts Collection Collecting Area

8600 Rockville Pike
Bldg 38/1E-21, MSC 3819
Bethesda MD 20894 US
(301) 402-8878