Charles Wilson Greene

14th APS President (1934-1935)
Charles Wilson Greene
(1866-1947)

Charles Wilson Greene, elected a member of APS in 1900, was long active in the service of APS. Born in Indiana, he received his A.B. and A.M. degrees from Stanford University and his doctorate from Johns Hopkins in 1898. He returned to Stanford to teach physiology from 1893 to 1900 before commencing his long tenure as professor of physiology and pharmacology at the University of Missouri from 1900 to 1936. He reorganized the Physiological Department into a center for research and teaching and set up the first laboratory of experimental pharmacology in the Mississippi Valley. His edition of Kirke's Handbook of Physiology (1922) was widely used. Greene's research interests were exceedingly varied. He published studies on the physiology of Pacific salmon as special investigator for the Bureau of Fisheries; he carried on research in high-altitude physiology during and after World War I; and he wrote numerous papers in cardiovascular physiology - on the influence of inorganic salts on inorganic tissues, on pharmacological reactions of the mammalian heart, on changes in the human heart in hypoxic conditions, and on cardiac nerve control of the coronary blood vessels.

As secretary of APS from 1915 to 1923, during a period of rapid growth of the Society, Greene instituted many of the mechanisms that allowed the Society to function smoothly in the period before it acquired an executive officer. His duties were many: he sent out annual notices, organized the program, collected abstracts of the papers presented, channeled communication among the members of Council, acted as the interface between the Council and the managing editor of the journals, and maintained the minutes of the Society. For many years he was the Society's representative to the Union of American Biological Societies, which founded Biological Abstracts. He was a constant attendee at annual meetings; Meek recalled in 1938 that Greene had been on the program of all but four meetings since his election. One of his last services to the Society was as author of the second quarter century of the Society's history. Meek wrote of him, "Throughout his long connection with the Society Doctor Greene has been constantly relied upon by the Council and officers for advice and help in initiating all kinds of administrative policies."

Selected Publications

1. Anonymous. Charles Wilson Greene, 1866-1947. Physiologist 14: 1-2, 1971.

2. Howell, W. H., and C. W. Greene. History of the American Physiological Society Semicentennial, 1887-1937. Baltimore, MD: Am. Physiol. Soc., 1938, p. 153-154. [Biographical sketch by W. J. Meek.]