Skip to main content
Please contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections for assistance with accessing these materials.

Alexis Carrel Papers

Identifier: GTM-530913

Scope and Contents

This collection contains material on all facets of Alexis Carrel's career as well as files dealing with his cancer studies, tactile sensibility experiments, physiological and psychological research done on mice, and the effect of infusing blood from young dogs into older ones.

The collection also includes Carrel's laboratory notebooks and other experimental records together with his literary writings and general correspondence. There are numerous medical articles and photographs, both scientific and personal. There are histological slides of cells, tissues and organs used in laboratory experiments. In short, all scientific and personal papers of Dr. Carrel are present in this collection as well as Fr. Joseph Durkin's correspondence and material relating to Carrel.

See the External Documents section below for the collection's finding aid and inventory. Please note that some published materials have been removed from the collection since this finding aid was authored.


  • 1893 - 1973


Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biographical Note

Alexis Carrel (1873-1944) was a noted French surgeon who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1912 for inventing a method to suture blood vessels.

Born in 1873 in Lyon, France, Carrel earned an M.D. from the University of Lyon in 1900. In 1904, he moved to the United States where he worked first at the University of Chicago and then at the Rockefeller Intitute for Medical Research in New York City. Carrel conducted experiments to keep organs alive outside the body.

During World War I, Carrel served as a Major in the French Army Medical Corps. At this time, he also helped to develop the Carrel-Dakin method of using antiseptic solutions to prevent infection during suregries. After World War I, Carrel returned to the Rockefeller Institute. During his second stint there, he researched for that institution from 1919 to 1939. He continued his experiments on surgery and the transplantation of organs and tissues. Carrel also worked with famous American airman Charles Lindbergh to develop a machine to support organs removed from the body.

Carrel returned to France during World War II. He generated controversy when he remained in Paris during the Nazi occupation and received Vichy support for his French Foundation for the Study of Human Problems. Carrel died before World War II ended.

Carrel wrote several books including "Man, the Unknown" (1935) and "Voyage to Lourdes" (1950).

Carrel received the last rites from the Roman Catholic Church. He died in 1944 in Paris.

[Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica Online; Online; and Online].


158.5 Linear Feet (109 boxes)

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Originally donated by wife of Alexis Carrel to the Society of Jesus, which then transferred the materials to the Georgetown University School of Medicine. From there, the collection transferred to the Georgetown University Library, circa 1953 and 1990s.

See the External Documents section below to view the collection's finding aid. Please note that some published materials have been removed from the collection since this finding aid was authored.

Alexis Carrel papers
Georgetown University Library Special Collections, Washington, D.C.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2023-11: Edited for DACS compliance by John Zarrillo

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057