Monday, June 17, 2013

Dr. Edgar Davidson Congdon (1879 - 1970)

Edgar Davidson Congdon (Lafayette4, Phineas3, Thomas2, John1)

  Birth 25 Apr 1879 in Walworth, Wayne, New York, USA
  Death Jun 1970

Parents: Lafayette Congdon 1845 – 1927 & Frances Anna Kingsley 1849 – 1931
Spouse: Edith Dana Jones 1879 – 1930
Children: Eleanor Estill Congdon 1912 – 2007 & Edgar Dana Congdon 1916 – 1997

Edgar Davidson Congdon was a biologist and anatomist that studied both animals and humans. He grew up all over western New York and northern Pennsylvania due to his fathers occupation as an Episcopal Theologian who change parishes every 2-4 years. Edgar attended Syracuse University for his undergraduate and Harvard for his Doctorate in the arts and sciences. In 1910, while on a post-doctorate tenure in Zurich, Switzerland he met his soon to-be wife, Edith Dana Jones. Edith was traveling the globe on a photo safari  and had come to Vienna to take classes. The next year they moved to NYC and had their daughter, Eleanor Estill Congdon.  Edgar took a position as an assistant professor at Stanford University in Palo Alto where his son, Edgar Dana Congdon, was born.  After four years at Stanford, Edgar took a Rockefeller Scientist position teaching abroad. His first stint was at the Peking Union Medical College in 1922 (his brother Wray Hollowell Congdon was also in China at this time doing missionary work) and then in 1925 moved to the Chulalongkorn University Medical School (now called the Siririj Medical School) in Bangkok, Siam. While living in Bangkok, Edith fell ill so she took the two children to Europe for her health and the children's education. Eleanor mainly studied french in various schools around France with her mother while Edgar Jr. attended a boarding school in Germany. In 1931, Edith succumbed to her illness and died. It took some months before Edgar received word and made the voyage to Europe to collect his children and move them to NYC (Brooklyn). Edgar then taught at the Long Island College of Medicine. In the 1950's he was teaching at the Chicago Medical College and in 1970 he died at the age of 91.

I am still trying to unearth many of the family-mysteries around Edgar and Edith. I am trying to put together a more thorough timeline of events through Asia, Europe and after returning to the US.


1879 April 25   Born in Walworth, Wayne, New York.
1901   Received his A.B in Biology from Syracuse University.
1902   Received his A.M. from Syracuse University.
1906 - 1909   Austin Teaching Fellow in Zoology, Harvard University
1909   Received his Ph.D. in Zoology from Harvard University.
1909 - 1910   Hooper Traveling Fellow in Zoology of Harvard University at University of Zurich
1910 - 1911   Sheldon Traveling Fellow in Zoology of Harvard University at Versuchs Anstalt and K. K. Institut fur Radiumforschungen, Vienna (Also mention of Manchester)
1911 July 20   Marriage to Edith Dana Jones, at The American Embassy in Vienna, Wien, Wien, Austria
1911-1912   Instructor in Embryology, Cornell University Medical College, Ithaca, NY
1912 May 09  Daughter, Eleanor Estill Congdon, born in Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA.
1912 - 1922 Assistant Professor at Leeland Stanford University Department of Biology, Palo Alto, California, USA
1916 January 27   Son, Edgar Dana Congdon, born in Palo Alto, Santa Clara, California, USA.
1922 - 1931   Rockefeller Scientist teaching abroad
1922 - 1926   Professor of Biology and Anatomy at Peking Union Medical School in Peking, China.
1926 - 1931   Professor of Anatomy and Chairman at Chulalongkorn University Medical School, Bangkok
   (now the Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University)

   Wife died. Retrieved children from Europe and moved back to USA.
   Professor of Biology and Anatomy at Long Island College of Medicine in Brooklyn.
   Lived in Bronxville, Westchester, New York, USA.

1940 - 1942+   Lived in Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA.
1944 - 1955+   Professor of Anatomy, The Chicago Medical School, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
1970 June   Death at the age of 91. Location unknown. Probably not buried. (donated to science)

Was a member of the American Association of Anatomists and the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.
Reportedly taught in Baltimore for a short time before moving to China.

Chronological List of Scientific Publications

Notes on the Morphology and Development of Two Species of Eudendrium
Biological Bulletin, Volume 11, Number 1, 1906, Pages: 27-46, Edgar Davidson Congdon

The Hydroids of Bermuda
Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Volume 42, Number 18, January 1907, Pages: 463-485, Edgar Davidson Congdon

The effect of temperature on the migration of the retinal pigment in decapod crustaceans
Journal of Experimental Zoology, Volume 4, Issue 4, October 1907, Pages: 539–548, Edgar Davidson Congdon

Recent studies upon the locomotor responses of animals to white light
Journal of Comparative Neurology and Psychology, Volume 18, Issue 3, June 1908, Pages: 309–328, E. D. Congdon

The identification of tissues in artificial cultures

The Anatomical Record, Volume 9, Issue 5, May 1915, Pages: 343–364, E. D. Congdon

The embryonic structure of avian heart muscle with some considerations regarding its earliest contraction
The Anatomical Record, Volume 15, Issue 3, October 1918, Pages: 135–150, E. D. Congdon

The distribution and mode of origin of septa and walls of the sphenoid sinus
The Anatomical Record, Volume 18, Issue 2, March 1920, Pages: 97–123, E. D. Congdon

Acquired skeletal deformities in a young fowl
The Anatomical Record, Volume 19, Issue 3, August 1920, Pages: 164–172, E. D. Congdon

Anomalous fibrous cords in the hand and the phylogeny of the flexor digitorum sublimis tendon
The Anatomical Record, Volume 19, Issue 3, August 1920, Pages: 159–163, E. D. Congdon

Simultaneous occurrence of very small sphenoid and frontal sinuses
The Anatomical Record, Volume 19, Issue 3, August 1920, Pages: 153–157, E. D. Congdon

A supernumerary paranasal sinus
The Anatomical Record, Volume 19, Issue 6, November 1920, Pages: 367–371, E. D. Congdon

Transformation of the aortic arch system during the development of the human embryo. 
Contributions to Embryology, Volume 14, 1922, Pages: 47-110, Carnegie Inst. Wash. Pub. no. 277, E. D. Congdon

The mechanical processes concerned in the formation of the differing types of aortic arches of the chick and the pig and in the divergent early development of their pulmonary arches
American Journal of Anatomy, Volume 37, Issue 3, July 1926, Pages: 499–520, E. D. Congdon and H. W. Wang

An attempt to improve the methods of anatomical teaching, including the organization of the dissection to an unusual degree by systems and the bringing of the developmental, gross, and microscopic anatomy of individual organs together in the schedule
The Anatomical Record, Volume 45, Issue 4, May 1930, Pages: 323–337, E. D. Congdon

The use of albuminous paints in anatomical preparations
The Anatomical Record, Volume 51, Issue 3, January 1932, Pages: 327–331, E. D. Congdon

Two basic aims in teaching anatomy of the first medical year and their methods
The Anatomical Record, Volume 53, Issue 2, July 1932, Pages: 161–166, E. D. Congdon

Human congenital auricular and juxta-auricular fossae, sinuses and scars (including the so-called aural and auricular fistulae) and the bearing of their anatomy upon the theories of their genesis
American Journal of Anatomy, Volume 51, Issue 2, November 1932, Pages: 439–463, E. D. Congdon, Saguan Rowhanavongse and Prasob Varamisara

The primary types of extra-organic gross connective tissue structures
The Anatomical Record, Volume 67, Issue 2, January 1937, Pages: 193–203, Edgar D. Congdon

The cone of renal fascia in the adult white male
The Anatomical Record, Volume 80, Issue 3, July 1941, Pages: 289–313, Edgar D. Congdon and John N. Edson

Fasciae of fusion and elements of the fused enteric mesenteries in the human adult
American Journal of Anatomy, Volume 70, Issue 2, March 1942, Pages: 251–279, Edgar D. Congdon, Ralph Blumberg and William Henry

Gross structure of the subcutaneous layer of the anterior and lateral trunk in the male
American Journal of Anatomy, Volume 79, Issue 3, November 1946, Pages: 399–429, Edgar D. Congdon, John Edson and Salvitore Yanitelli

The chief insertion of the bicipital aponeurosis is on the ulna. A study of collagenous bundle patterns of antebrachial fascia and bicipital aponeurosis
The Anatomical Record, Volume 116, Issue 4, August 1953, Pages: 395–407, Edgar D. Congdon and Harold S. Fish

A symposium on the closely correlated or integrated course in anatomy
The Anatomical Record, Volume 117, Issue 4, December 1953, Pages: 805–828, Edgar D. Congdon, Davenport Hooker, John F. Huber and Otto F. Kampmeier

Subcutaneous attachments of the human penis and scrotum. A study of 55 series of gross sections
American Journal of Anatomy, Volume 97, Issue 2, September 1955, Pages: 331–357, E. D. Congdon and J. M. Essenberg


Known Associates:
Dr. Thomas P. Noble, Professor of Surgery at the Chulalankarana University, Bangkok.
Harold S. Fish, Co-author
Prof. A. W. Meyer
Prof. F. C. Blaisdell of the Department of Surgery
Prof. Claude Witherington Stump, previous Chairman in Bangkok


1880 United States Federal Census for Newark, Wayne, New York
1920 United States Federal Census for Palo Alto, Santa Clara, California
California, Voter Registrations, 1900-1968
Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 (in German)
Harvard alumni directory
Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003
New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925
U.S. School Yearbooks
U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Obituary for Eleanor Estill Congdon Putney, 18 Nov 2007
Eleanor Memoirs
The Chicago Medical School Quarterly, Volumes 5-6, 1944