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Calloway, Nathaniel

Calloway, Nathaniel

October 10, 1907
December 3, 1979

The chemist and physician Nathaniel Oglesby Calloway was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, the son of James and Marietta (Oglesby) Calloway. He graduated from Iowa State College in 1930. In 1933, when he earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry (also at Iowa State), Calloway became the first African American to receive an academic doctorate from an institution west of the Mississippi. He taught chemistry until 1940 at Tuskegee Institute and then at Fisk University. In 1935, he prepared the first English-language review of the so-called Friedel-Crafts reaction (1877), a phenomenon in organic chemistry with important applications in the plastics, perfume, textile, and petroleum industries. Calloway's work was widely cited.

Calloway enrolled in medical school at the University of Illinois, graduating with an M.D. in 1943. During World War II, he directed a government-sponsored study of convalescence practices. He became a staunch advocate of early ambulation, the theory (now generally accepted) that post-operative patients improve more rapidly when not confined to their beds. After 1947 his research focused on topics in gerontology and geriatrics. He proposed a "general theory of senescence" (or aging) in 1964. Over the next ten years, he published twenty-six articles in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Calloway served as medical director of Provident Hospital in Chicago until 1949, when he founded Medical Associates of Chicago, a black group-practice in the inner city. After fourteen years as president of Medical Associates, he became chief of medical services for the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tomah, Wisconsin. A civil rights activist, he was president of the Chicago Urban League from 1955 to 1960 and of the Madison, Wisconsin, branch of the NAACP in 1969.

See also Science


Calloway, N. O. "The Friedel-Crafts Syntheses." Chemical Reviews 17 (1935): 327392.

philip n. alexander (1996)

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