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Gene Copeland photograph collection

 Record Group
Identifier: PC-MBL-Copeland

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 112 3x5½" black-and-white photographs of resident or visiting scientists at the MBL. Many of the photos are signed.


  • 1921-1938

Conditions Governing Access

Open: materials are available for research.

Biographical Information

Professor Gene Copeland was born in Mendon, Ohio, in 1912. He attended Findlay College, received an AB from Rochester University (1935), an MA from Amherst College, and a PhD in Biology from Harvard University (1941). Additionally, he was a summer scholar/fellow at the Marine Biological Station in Bermuda (1939) and Atkins Institute (Harvard Station) in Cienfuegos, Cuba (1941). In 1942, he joined the US Army Air Corp, was commissioned to the School of Aviation Medicine and attended the first class of Aviation Physiologists at Randolph Field, Texas. He then chose duty assignment at Peterson Field in Colorado Springs, Colorado (“because they were flying the highest at that time”), implemented the first low-pressure chamber, and directed the first high-altitude physiological training unit (for Photo Recon).

While serving in the military, he learned to fly and obtained a private pilot’s license. He separated from the service in 1946 as a Captain. In 1951, at the beginning of the Korean War, he was requested by the Office of the Surgeon General USAF at the Pentagon to reactivate and serve as Director (GS-15; 1951-1953) for the Air Force’s Aviation Physiology Training Program. As part of his duties, he chaired a NATO conference on aviation physiology in Brussels, Belgium (1952).

Professor Copeland taught at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (1941-1942), Brown University (1946-1950), and Tulane University (1959-1977; Emeritus). He also worked for the Medical Science Division, National Academy of Science, National Research Council (1953-1956), and as Executive Secretary of the Morphology and Genetics Study Section in the Division of Research Grants, NIH (1956-1959) in Washington, DC.

Professor Copeland was a Trustee Emeritus of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL). His association with the MBL began in 1936 as a summer scholar in Embryology. From 1959, he spent most summers doing research at the MBL. His primary research interest was in the cellular mechanisms whereby animals maintain their internal salt and water balance. In 1977, he retired to his home in Woods Hole but continued for several years doing published research at the MBL.

[Adapted from Copeland’s MBL obituary.]


1 box (one enclosure containing 112 photographs)



Physical Location

The collection resides in a four-flap enclosure in the Photographic Collection, box 15.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The photographs were obtained by Gene Copeland from a resident photographer at the MBL in the late 1930s to early 1940s (probably Berlin Messter, Kine-Optik Photo).

Dr. Copeland gave his set to Sydney Craig III upon his retirement around 1974. Dr. Craig “loaned” them to the Stazione de Napoli in Italy from 1979-1998. In 1998 Dr. Craig begged for them back and gave them to the MBL through Kerry Bloom in May 2000.

Related Materials

The collection has been digitized by the MBLWHOI Library, and the scanned images are available from Arizona State University’s MBL History digital collections:

Processing Information

Processed by Jean Monahan, June 23, 2003. Finding aid revised by Katy Sternberger, June 2016.

Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Marine Biological Laboratory Archives Repository