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Biography: Harold E. Harrison
Harold Harrison was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He received a BS in 1928 and a MD in 1931 from Yale University. After pediatric residency training at Yale, Harrison began his research career in calcium and phosphorus metabolism. At Yale, he met Helen Coplan, a Ph.D. student in physiological chemistry and their subsequent marriage in 1936 began a lifelong collaboration in the research of mineral metabolism, vitamin D metabolism, the treatment of rickets and the introduction of oral rehydration therapy in children. In 1938, the Harrisons moved to Cornell University to establish their own research laboratory. The Harrisons received the E. Mead Johnson Award in 1942 for their pediatric research studies. Returning to Yale in 1942, Harold Harrison worked on top secret studies of metal poisons and translated some of this work to the 1956 study of lead poisoning in children with J.J. Chisolm. Edwards Park recruited the Harrisons to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1945. Harold was appointed as an associate professor of pediatrics and pediatrician-in-chief of Baltimore City Hospitals, the first full time clinical chief of that institution. Harrison developed a pediatric training and clinical program at the Baltimore City Hospitals as well as a research laboratory at the Harriet Lane Hospital on the Johns Hopkins Hospital campus to continue his collaborative research with Helen C. Harrison.

From 1945 until his death in 1989, the Harrisons individually and collectively published over 175 papers and one textbook covering topics related to the physiology of calcium and phosphorous, parathyroid hormone and bone, vitamin D, renal and intestinal transport, nutrition, rickets, and lead poisoning. Harrison was promoted to professor of pediatrics in 1965 and professor emeritus in 1975. He received the Borden Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1961 and the American College of Nutrition Award in 1980.
Biography: Helen Coplan Harrison

Helen Coplan Harrison was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She received an AB from Goucher College in 1931, a MA from Smith College in 1934 and a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1939. Following her marriage to Harold Harrison, she was appointed as a research assistant, pediatrics, Cornell University, and jointly with her husband opened a research laboratory to study the role of serum phosphate, calcium and vitamin D in various forms of rickets. This study was the basis for their joint award from the Society of Pediatric Research, the E. Mead Johnson award in 1938. When the couple returned to Yale University in 1942, she was appointed the Alexander Brown Coxe Fellow and Instructor in Physiological Chemistry at Yale Unversity School of Medicine, a position she held until 1945. Helen C. Harrison rejoined Harold Harrison’s research laboratory at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1947 as a pediatric research associate. She was appointed assistant professor of pediatrics in 1959, associate professor of pediatrics in 1973 and emeritus associate professor in 1977. In 1983, Harold and Helen C. Harrison were awarded the John Howland Award from the American Pediatric Society for their outstanding contributions to the health and welfare of children. It was the first time this prestigious award was given jointly and to a husband and wife.

Scope and Content

Collection consists of the following series: Biographical and Personal Records, Correspondence, Research Subject Files, Manuscripts and Lectures, Reprints by the Harrisons and Others, Research Data and Patient Records, Photographs, and Material Evidence. The collection documents the Harrisons’ research on Rickets and Vitamin D deficiency.

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