John Charnley McKinley-1891-1950
Maurice B. Visscher*
The most fitting tribute to a modest man is the simple story of the work he did and of the way, he did it. John Charnley McKinley played a leading part in the building of a great medical teaching and research center. The role he played was primarily that of a working scientist. He took an important part in policy making too, but he preferred to remain in the background, working through committees and faculty organization rather than by entering into public controversy.
His social idealism made
him decide to spend his life in teaching and research. His humanitarianism also
drove him to accept larger administrative responsibilities, such as the
temporary chairmanship of the department of medicine,
than he was personally anxious to assume.
He held the post only until a younger man, whom he had helped choose, could be groomed properly for that important position. He gladly relinquished it when, the interests
of the medical school as a whole could be better served by his stepping
aside. A team worker, he did not play to the galleries, but to advance the interests of society. He was willing to sacrifice himself to public
exposure for a good cause, but he was not interested in publicity or fame for
One of Dr. McKinley’s
great contributions to human welfare was his service as secretary of the
Minnesota Basic Medical Science Board.
This position not only was time-consuming and boresome
in its routines, but it exposed him to the danger of bodily assault at the
hands of persons- mainly chiropractors and osteopaths- who were
prevented from exploiting the people of
The author of this statement had the privilege of association with Charnley McKinley in several ways over twenty-seven years. Dr. McKinley was his laboratory instructor in neuro-anatomy and one of his teachers in clinical neurology. He was also a faculty colleague for fourteen years. It is on the basis of such day to day contact that these words are written.
Over many years Charnley McKinley and I
worked together in planning projects for improvement in medical education, for
filling gaps in staff for teaching and research, for improvement in
administrative arrangements within the University, for improvement in
opportunities for young recruits to medical science, and in many other
projects. I can testify to the fact that
his basic motivation was entirely unselfish.
He was a man, not with a dream, but with a well-conceived mission. He had a purpose and it was
not related to the personal welfare of J. C. McKinley. His purpose was to advance human welfare
through improvements sn
teaching and research in medicine at the
He played a very
important part in the years 1919 - 1945 in making the
Any life that ends at
fifty-four is a tragedy. It is a tragedy
in Charnley McKinley case because the world, and
especially his community, so badly needs men with his courage, his insight and
his vigor to save itself from the calamities which
mental mediocrity, social insensitivity and personal laziness may impose upon
society. The medical profession, perhaps
as much as any social group, needs brains more than brawn,
and humility more than hate. Charnley McKinley has left his indelible mark upon 20th
century medicine through his contributions to education, to research and to the
elevation of the standards of medical practice in
Publications OF J. CHARNLEY MCKINLEY
Lethargic Encephalitis: Symptomatology and Histoparhology
(with E. M. Hammes) Archives of Internal Medicine,
Vol. 26, pp. 60-75, July, 1920.
The Intraneural Plexus of Fasciculi
and Fibers in the Sciaric Nerve. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, Vol. 6, pp. 377-399,
in the Brain of a Patient with Postencephalitic
Paralysis Agitans. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, Vol. 9, pp.
47-58, January, 1923.
Subacute Combined Degeneration of the Spinal Cord Without Pernicious Anemia: Report of Two Cases with Autopsy Findings (with L. B. Dickey).
Journal.Lancet, July 15, 1925.
Destruction in Postencephalitic Paralysis Agitans Micrometric Study of the Lenticular
Region and Substantia Nigra
Detorticate Rigidity (with N. J. Berkwitz,
R. E. Morris, F. H. Scott). Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine,
vol. 24, pp. 536.538, 1927.
Sodium Ricinoleace and Active Immunity Against
Experimental Monkey Poliomyelitis (with W. P. Larson). Proceedings
of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, vol. 24, pp. 297.300,
Simple Method for Determination of Threshold Value of Vibration Sense. Proceedings of the Society for
Experimental Biology and Medicine, vol. 25, pp. 827-831, 1928.
Studies on Human Muscle Tonus (with N. Joseph Berkwitz). Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, vol. 19, pp.
1036-1056, June, 1928.
Ueber die Innervation und Tãtigkeit der Atemmuskeln
(with Kurt Wachholder). Pfiügers
Archiv für die gesamte Physiologle des Menschen und der Tiere, 222 Band. 5. und 6. Heft, August, 1929.
Ueber das sogenannte Bremsungsphanomen in Muskeldehnungs. kurven (with Kurt Wachholder). Zeitschrift für die gesamte Neurologie und Psychiatrie, 1929, 121 Band. 1. und 2. Heft.
Medical Library. Hospital
Progress, vol. 12, No. 7, July, 1931.
Diffuse Subcortical Sclerosis of the Brain.
A Proposal of Wholesale
Passive Immunization Against Poliornyelitis
Epidemics. Medicine, vol. 14, p. 921, October, 1931.
Potentials in Muscles During Recording of Mechanical
Tonus Tracings (with Nathaniel J. Berkwitz). Archives
of Neurology and Psychiatry, vol. 29, pp. 272.285, February,
Following Ablation of the Motor Cortex in Monkeys (with Nathaniel J. Berkwitz).
Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, vol. 78, No. 6, December,
1933, pp. 604-626.
of the Electromyogram of the Simple Reaction by Cerebellar Lesions (with S. R. Hathaway). Proceedings of the Society for
Experimental Biology and Medicine, vol. 34, pp. 783-787, 1936.
The Problem of Acute Poliomyelitis. Journal-Lancer, vol. 60, No. 10, p. 458, October, 1940.
Outline of Neuropsychiatry. Fourth edition. John S. Swift Co., Inc.,