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Dr. Michael Somogyi Collection

Identifier: 2001-003-001

Scope and Content

The Dr. Michael Somogyi Collection was created and maintained by Dr. Michael Somogyi. The collection mainly concerns Dr. Somogyi’s work with diabetes research during his years as the director of the Clinical Laboratory at the Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. The collection is arranged into the following 8 series:

  1. Dr. Michael Somogyi - Biographical
  2. Notebooks
  3. Research Notes
  4. Reprints of Articles
  5. Photographs
  6. Slides and Glass Lantern (Lecture) Slides
  7. Audio Cassettes (Somogyi Diabetes Institute)
  8. Scrapbook Material


  • 1912-1981
  • Majority of material found within Bulk 1924-1970


Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions on the materials and the collection is open to the public.

Copyright Information

The Science History Institute holds copyright to the Dr. Michael Somogyi Collection. The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Background Note

Dr. Michael Somogyi was a Hungarian-American clinical chemist. Somogyi was in born in Zsámánd, Austria-Hungary (now part of Heiligenbrun, Austria) in 1883. At the age of 16, he enrolled in the University of Budapest and received a degree in Chemical Engineering. After spending some time at the University of Budapest as a graduate assistant in biochemistry, he immigrated to the United States. From 1906 to 1908 he was an assistant in biochemistry at Cornell University.

Somogyi returned to Hungary in 1908 where he became head of the Municipal Laboratory at Budapest. In 1914, he earned his Ph.D. at the University of Budapest after writing his dissertation on catalytic hydrogenation. After World War I, the politically unstable situation in his homeland led him to return to the United States. In 1922, he took a job as an instructor in biochemistry at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

While at Washington University, Somogyi worked with future Nobel prize recipient Edward Adelbert Doisy Sr. and Philip A. Shaffer to develop a new method for the preparation of insulin to make it a viable treatment for diabetes. The method they developed is still in use today for the commercial production of insulin. This early work with insulin helped foster Dr. Somogyi’s life-long interest in the treatment and cure of diabetes.

Somogyi was the first biochemist appointed to the staff of the newly opened Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri and he remained there as the director of their clinical laboratory until his retirement. During his tenure at the Jewish Hospital, Dr. Somogyi publicly stated that many diabetic patients were receiving larger than necessary quantities of insulin and were suffering as a result. He also advocated for alternative treatments to diabetes, such as adjusted diet and weight loss. Physicians around the world read Dr. Somogyi’s research and reached out to him for advisement on how to best treat patients with diabetes. Dr. Somogyi retired from the Jewish Hospital in 1957 and suffered a serious stroke in 1969. This curtailed the many teaching and writing activities Dr. Somogyi had planned for his retirement years. In 1971 Dr. Michael Somogyi died in St. Louis, Missouri at age 88.


Dr. Michael Somogyi Collection, Science History Institute Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Harvey Walker, “Michael Somogyi, Ph.D. 1883-1971”, Clinical Chemistry, Volume 17, Issue 11, 1 November 1971, Page 1138,


20.0 Linear Feet (24 Boxes)

Language of Materials






The Dr. Michael Somogyi Collection contains the papers of Hungarian-American clinical chemist Dr. Michael Somogyi. The collection contains laboratory notebooks, research notes, reprints of published articles, photographs, lecture slides, and audio tapes. Also included to a lesser extent are pages from a scrapbook.

Acquisition Information

The Dr. Michael Somogyi Collection was donated to the Science History Institute (formerly known as the Chemical Heritage Foundation) by Dr. Harvey Walker, Jr. in 2001.

Related Materials

No other known archival collections created by Michael Somogyi are preserved at the date of processing.

Processing Information

The Dr. Michael Somogyi Collection was processed by Andrew Mangravite in 2010. This finding aid was revised by Birch Mezzaroba in April 2022.

Dr. Michael Somogyi Collection
Finding aid created by Andrew Mangravite and encoded into EAD by Birch Mezzaroba.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • April 2022: Finding aid revised by Birch Mezzaroba.

Repository Details

Part of the Science History Institute Archives Repository

315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia PA 19106 United States
215.873.5265 (Fax)