Norman F. Conant Papers, 1930-1981

Navigate the Collection

Using These Materials Teaser

Using These Materials Links:

Using These Materials

More about accessing and using these materials...


Conant, Norman Francis
Contains the professional papers of Norman Francis Conant (1908-1984), James B. Duke professor and chair of Microbiology and Immunology at Duke University. Types of materials include correspondence, speeches, conference and presentation materials, manuscript materials, reprints, teaching materials, and meeting minutes. Major subjects include the Duke University School of Medicine, the Department of Immunology, and study and teaching of immunology, microbiology, and mycology. Materials range in date from 1930 to 1981.
19.5 Linear Feet (13 cartons)
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

Contains general, personal, publication, and university correspondence; speeches; notes; conference and presentation materials; manuscript materials; reprints; teaching materials; records for medical and research organizations; budget and financial materials; and meeting minutes related to the research, career, and personal life of Norman F. Conant. Major subjects include the Duke University School of Medicine; the Department of Immunology; and the study and teaching of immunology, microbiology, and mycology. Materials date from 1930 to 1981.

Biographical / historical:

Norman Francis Conant (1908-1984) received degrees from Bates College (BS, 1930) and Harvard University (MA, 1931, PhD, 1933). Conant was a postgraduate student at the Laboratorie de Parasitologie at the University of Paris (1933-1934). There, he trained with Raimond Sabouraud, who is recognized as the founder of medical mycology. Other postgraduate training includes the Army Medical School in Washington (1944), Institute Oswalds Cruz in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1944), and Universidade de Sao Paulo in Sao Paulo, Brazil (1944).
Conant joined Duke University in 1935 as an instructor in the Department of Microbiology. He served as an instructor in bacteriology, microbiology, and mycology and professor at many levels, including chair of the Department of Microbiology (1958-1968) and James B. Duke Professor of Microbiology (1961). Conant became a pioneer in medical mycology and established the discipline in the United States. He taught the Duke University summer mycology course from 1948 until he retired in 1973, directed numerous dissertations, and supervised many others who came from all parts of the world to learn about medical fungi.
In addition to teaching duties, Conant was a lecturer in mycology at the Army Medical School in Washington, D.C. (1943-1946) and expert consultant on tropical medicine, communicable diseases, infectious diseases, and allergies to various government agencies and educational institutions. He was a frequent consultant to the Office of Naval Research, National Institute of Health, and the United States Secretary of War. During the 1940s, Conant worked with David Tillerson Smith, also of Duke University, to prepare a military manual of clinical mycology to aid them in the care of men in the South Pacific during World War II. Conant co-authored several editions of this book, which was the seminal text for this new discipline. It continued to be revised over the next thirty years by Smith, co-authors Norman F. Conant and Roger Denio Baker, and the Duke University Department of Microbiology.
During his career, Conant, along with a small number of other investigators including Rhoda Benham at Columbia, Charles E. Smith at Stanford University, Arturo Carrion in Puerto Rico, Chester Emmons at the National Institutes of Health, Pablo Negroni in Argentina, and G. C. Ainsworth in England, comprised the first generation of medical mycologists. The second generation of eminent medical mycologists who studied with Conant included Drs. Libero Ajello, Margarita Silva-Hutner, Howard Larsh, Morris Gordon, and Lorraine Friedman.
Conant was a recipient of the Ralph Sanger Scholar award (Harvard University, 1932-1933), a Sheldon Traveling Fellowship (Harvard University, 1933-1934), Poteat Award of the North Carolina Academy Science (1940), and certificate of appreciation in recognition of services rendered to various groups. Conant was also honored as a lecturer in Mycology at the Universidad de la Habana in Havana in Cuba (1951) and University of Lund in Sweden (1951).
Norman Conant was a member of American Academy of Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology, American Board of Microbiology, Mycological Society of America, American Institute of Biological Sciences, International Society for Human and Animal Mycology, International Society for Tropical Dermatology, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and Alpha Omega Alpha.
Norman F. Conant married Sylvia Clare Nute in 1939 and the couple had seven children together. He retired from Duke University in June 1974 after thirty-nine years of service, and died in 1984.

Acquisition information:
Source unknown: (1982)
Processing information:

Processed by Archives staff and Emily Glenn: August 2003; encoded by Emily Glenn: March 2004

Organized into the following series: General and Personal Correspondence, 1948-1972; Duke University Correspondence, 1950-1969; Lectures and Presentations, 1955-1974; Manuscripts and Reprints, circa 1940-1970; Medical Mycology Teaching Materials, 1935-1973; Subject Files, 1930-1969; Organizations, 1960-1971; The Chemical Corps and Fort Detrick, 1955-1959, 1965; Department of Microbiology and Immunology Files, 1958-1981.
Physical location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.


Using These Materials

Using These Materials Links:

Using These Materials



Terms of access:

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Norman F. Conant Papers, Duke University Medical Center Archives.