Leon W. Cunningham, Jr. Papers

Identifier: EBL-0097

  • Staff Only

Content Description

Collection includes correspondence, slides, appointment books and other misc. manuscript materials, manuscript and research data compiled for Department of Biochemistry history.


  • 1953-1994


Conditions Governing Access

All collections are subject to applicable Vanderbilt privacy and confidentiality policies. Collection specific restrictions: No Restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by History of Medicine Collections, Eskind Biomedical Library, Vanderbilt University.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Leon W. Cunningham, Jr. was Professor of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt from 1953 until 1994 when he was elevated to emeritus status. He served as Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry from 1973 until 1988. Dr. Cunningham was well known for his contributions to the fields of enzyme chemistry, glycoproteins and connective tissue biochemistry, and for his commitment to the department and to the graduate students he mentored. A native of Columbus, Ga., Dr. Cunningham earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Auburn University and his master’s and doctoral degrees in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Washington before joining the Vanderbilt faculty as assistant professor of Biochemistry in 1953. In 1961-62, he received a Special Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to pursue his research at the Netherlands National Defense laboratories in Rijswijk. In 1965, Dr. Cunningham was promoted to professor of Biochemistry, and in 1967 became the medical school’s first associate dean for Biomedical Sciences. In 1973, he was named chairman of Biochemistry, a position he held until 1988. During his tenure, the Department of Biochemistry became one of the leading departments in the country in NIH funding and its faculty received international recognition. In 1988, Dr. Cunningham was named Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor, and returned to teaching and research until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1994. Dr. Cunningham was a member of several scientific societies, including the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Chemical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He contributed to more than 100 scientific papers and to several books, including a history of the Department of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He died in Nashville, June 8, 2013 one day short of his birthday. He was 85. (Excerpted from VUMC Reporter Jun. 11, 2013).


15.40 Cubic Feet (12 Paige Boxes)

Language of Materials



Papers and materials belonging to Dr. Leon W. Cunningham, Jr. documenting his research writing and teaching activities. Dr. Cunningham served as Professor of Biochemistry at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine from his appointment in 1953 until his retirement in 1994.

Physical Location

EBL Vault

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials donated by Dr. Leon Cunningham.

Leon W. Cunningahm, Jr. Papers
History of Medicine Collections Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Eskind Biomedical Library Manuscripts Collection Repository

Eskind Biomedical Library
2209 Garland Ave.
Nashville TN 37232


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