The Alexis Carrel Collection: materials of the French physician and philosopher Alexis Carrel, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1912


The Alexis Carrel Collection at Georgetown is the world’s most extensive and important body of materials relating to the entire career of the Nobel laureate, medical researcher, and public health theorist. Included are Carrel’s research files, laboratory notebooks, offprints, photographs, and specimens for work on suturing blood vessels for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1912; innovations in France and at the Rockefeller Institute in wound sterilization, cell research and tissue culture; pioneering experiments in organ preservation outside the body, which laid the groundwork for modern organ transplants; and voluminous correspondence with leading intellectual and literary figures, especially Paul Claudel, Paul deKruif, John Dewey, Upton Sinclair, Sinclair Lewis and Charles Lindbergh. Carrel’s prodigious writings, much of it unpublished, cover the relationship between medicine and faith, war and human rights, as well as drafts, revisions and the final manuscript of his influential book, Man the Unknown. Some scholars of Carrel have had inventory-level access to part of the collection. Full cataloging would have a major impact on such hotly contested fields as sociology of religion, bioethics, and the history of genetics and eugenics.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



Georgetown University


  • John Buchtel

Collection Size

180 boxes, 159 linear feet

Date Range

1893 - 1973

Geographic Scope

The collection encompasses scholarship and research in North America, especially the United States, and Europe, especially France.