Lives of the fellows

Rudolph Herman Kampmeier

b.15 January 1898 d.23 June 1990
MD Iowa(1923) *FRCP(1968)

Rudolph Kampmeier was born in Butler County, Iowa, USA, and was active and productive until a few months before his death. His father August Kampmeier was a Protestant clergyman and his mother Mary, née Ehrlicher, was the daughter of a merchant. He was educated at Iowa City High School and the State University of Iowa medical college, and served an internship at St Martin’s Hospital, Salt Lake City, Utah. He then worked for two years as a general practitioner at Castle Gate, Utah. Subsequently he spent four years on the faculty of the University of Michigan medical school, where he began his career as a recognized expert m syphilis. It was there that he met John B Youmans; they both continued to write papers on syphilis and later were to be colleagues for many years at Vanderbilt University medical school But before joining Vanderbilt, Rudolph spent three years in general practice in Pueblo, Colorado. Once appointed to Vanderbilt his tenure was continuous until his death. He taught the course in physical diagnosis and his textbook on this discipline was widely acclaimed and used. From 1947-61 he was director of the medical outpatient department and during the second world war he was acting head of the department of medicine.

Rudolph Kampmeier wrote prodigiously. He was editor of the Journal of the Tennessee Medical Association and also editor of the journal of the Southern Medical Association, Southern Medical Journal. He published 179 papers on a wide variety of subjects including thyrotoxicosis, plasma proteins and cholesterol, pernicious anaemia in the negro, medical care of psychiatric patients, medical education, medicine as an art, Whipple’s Disease, collagen disease, tropical disease and nutrition. In addition to Essentials of Syphilology, Philadelphia, J B Lipincott Co, 1943, which was also published in England and Spain, he wrote a book entitled A Picture history of Vanderbilt Medical School. In 1981 he presented a landmark paper to the American Clinical and Climatological Association of which he was a member. He did most of his writing and editorial work early in the morning.

He was an officer of the Nashville Academy of Medicine and the Nashville Society of Medicine, becoming president of both. He also served as president of both the Tennessee and Southern Medical Associations.

Kampmeier was a long time fellow of the American College of Physicians, being its president from 1967-68 and receiving the Alfred Stengel Memorial award. During his presidency the American College and the Royal College of Physicians of London held a joint meeting at Boston, Massachusetts, and at the subsequent dinner the presidents of the Royal Colleges of Edinburgh, Ireland, Australia and Canada each gave presentations. Lord Rosenheim [Munk's Roll, Vol.VI, p.394], as president of the London College, presented an antique silver tea caddy m memory of the Boston Tea Party. It was a truly splendid occasion and the following year Rudolph Kampmeier, Russell Elkinton and Edward C Rosenow Jr were elected Fellows of the College.

On May 26, 1979, on the occasion of the Vanderbilt Medical Alumni Reunion, a portrait of Rudolph Kampmeier was unveiled and presented to the medical school which was commissioned largely by the Vanderbilt alumni, former students and faculty colleagues in recognition of his contributions over many years.

Kampmeier was a great proponent of getting academic leaders to participate in organized medicine and according to his good friend F Fremaine Billings: ‘When one came to know him, one discovered that underneath his resolute and efficient demeanour was a warm and friendly spirit that made it a privilege to know him.’ He was indeed a remarkable physician who was loved and respected by all.

In 1922 he married Blanche Elnora, née Davis, daughter of a farmer, and they had one child - a daughter, Joan. Apart from his writing, he was greatly interested in cabinet making and much of the furniture in his home was crafted by himself.

Edward C Rosenow

* Elected under the special bye-law which provides for the election to the fellowship of "Persons holding a medical qualification, but not Members of the College, who have distinguished themselves in the practice of medicine, or in the pursuit of Medical or General Science or Literature.."

[Southern med.J., 1964,57,No 10,pp.l210-ll;1969,62,No.7,pp.885-888; 1973,66,No.l,pp.2-3;1975,68,No.8,p.l057; Journal Tennesse med.Assoc., 1972,65,No.l,pp.21-33]

(Volume IX, page 282)

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