Edward F. Adolph

26th APS President (1953-1954)
Edward F. Adolph

Edward Frederick Adolph succeeded to the presidency in the spring of 1953. There was no fall meeting in 1953 because of the International Congress of Physiological Sciences at Montreal in August, but APS Council did meet in Montreal on 20 August and again in Washington on 9 November 1953. Adolph presided at the spring meeting in Atlantic City in April 1954.

Edward Adolph was born in Philadelphia and received his A.B. (1916) and Ph.D. (1920) degrees from Harvard University, where he worked under L. J. Henderson. He pursued graduate studies at Yale University (1916-18) and served with the Army Medical Corps (1918-19). From 1920 to 1921 he held a fellowship at Oxford University, where he worked with J. S. Haldane. He returned to appointments as instructor in zoology at the University of Pittsburgh (1921-24), a National Research Council Fellow at Johns Hopkins, and then assistant professor of physiology at the University of Rochester (1925), where he became professor in 1948. For over sixty years he used the same office, from 1975 in emeritus status.

Adolph is best known for his research in environmental physiology, particularly in adaptation to hot and cold environments. His wartime work in the field led to a book, Physiology of Man in the Desert (1947), a well-known classic. However, these interests were rooted in a more general concern with physiological regulation and integration. Examples of his scope of interest can be found in his Physiological Regulations (1943) and his Physiological Integrations in Action (1982) published as a supplement to The Physiologist.

Elected a member of APS in 1921, Adolph was a member of the Society for sixty-five years. His complete set of APS programs from 1921 through 1941 (after which they were printed in Federation Proceedings) were donated to the APS archives.

Adolph was much concerned both before and after his term as president with the problems of recruitment and training of future physiologists. It is not surprising therefore that in 1945 he initiated the Society's first survey of the status of physiology and that he later took responsibility for organizing a Committee on Education, which he served as first chairman from 1953 to 1958. Other activities in which he played a part as president were the exact timing of papers given at the meetings and the purchase by the Society of the Hawley estate as a permanent home for the Society and the Federation. On his retirement from the University of Rochester he was honored by the establishment in his name of an award made annually to a medical student showing superior accomplishment. Other honors he received included the U.S. Presidential Certificate of Merit (1948), the Alumni Gold Medal of the University of Rochester (1964), and the Ray G. Daggs Award of APS (1984) for contributions to physiology and to the Society.

Adolph wrote the introduction to the History of The American Physiological Society. The First Century, 1887-1987 and was looking forward to the Centennial Celebration in 1987. Unfortunately, he did not live to see it as he died in December 1986 at the age of ninety-one.

Selected Publications

1. Adolph, E. F. The physiological scholar. Past president's address. Am. J. Physiol. 179: 607-612, 1954.

2. Adolph, E. F. Educational activities in the society. In: History of the American Physiological Society: The Third Quarter Century, 1937-1962, edited by W. O. Fenn. Washington, DC: Am. Physiol. Soc., 1963, p. 146-154.

3. Adolph, E. F. Prefatory chapter: research provides self-education. Annu. Rev. Physiol. 30: 1-14, 1968.

4. Adolph, E. F. Growing up in the American Physiological Society. Physiologist 22(5): 11-15, 1979.

5. Anonymous. Ray G. Daggs Award, 1984. Physiologist 27: 150-151, 1984.

6. Fenn, W. O. History of the American Physiological Society: The Third Quarter Century, 1937-1962. Washington, DC: Am. Physiol. Soc., 1963, p. 30-32.

7. Fregly, M. J., and M. S. Fregly. Edward F. Adolph, 26th president. Physiologist 25: 1, 1982.