Skip to main content

Personal Papers of Elmer V. McCollum

Call Number: PP 120


McCollum received his A.B. from the University of Kansas in 1903 in organic chemistry and later discovered vitamins and their nutritional necessity. This collection contains his diploma, awards, certifications, photographs, research notebooks, manuscripts, and scrapbooks.


  • Creation: 1903 - 1981


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Elmer McCollum

Elmer Verner McCollum was born March 3, 1879 on his family farm near Fort Scott, Kansas; he had a younger brother, Burton. Eventually the family moved to Lawrence, Kan., where McCollum graduated from high school and enrolled at the University of Kansas.

Initially interested in becoming a physician, McCollum's interests quickly switched to organic chemistry. Completing his bachelors in 1903, he completed his masters in 1904. He received his doctorate from Yale in 1906. After a postdoctoral fellowship in Dr. Lafayette Mendel's lab, McCollum went on to work at the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station and began a lifelong career in the study of nutrition and its effects upon the body. In 1917 McCollum with Marguerite Davis discovered Vitamins A and B1. He later worked on research on other vitamins and wrote a regular column for McCall's Magazine on good nutrition.

McCollum won a variety of awards for his work and served in a variety of professional capacities, including as President of the American Society of Biological Chemists in 1927-1928. He was involved in several debates regarding human dietary policy.

McCollum joined the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in 1917, retiring professor emeritus in 1944. Elmer V. McCollum passed away on November 15, 1967.


6 Linear Feet (7 boxes + 4 oversize boxes, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

PP 120

Related Materials

Burton McCollum Collection, University Archives, PP 263, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Elmer V. McCollum and Harry G. Day collection, Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Processing Information

Collection reprocessed 10/2015. Box 3 Folders 104-117 were moved to Box 3a Folders 1-14. Box 5 Folders are now spread across Boxes 5 and 5a.

Guide to the Elmer V. McCollum Collection
Personal Papers of Elmer V. McCollum
Finding aid prepared by ad, 2005; revised by jrw, 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Elmer V. McCollum Collection, PP 120, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States