Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Loss for Rice, Gain for University North Carolina

On the second page of the scrapbook, I found this article dated July, 1939. It was published during Ethel's summer break, and prior to all the previous articles, which were also published before Rice opened it's door for the academic year of 1939-1940. In this particular article she pays homage to a distinguished biology instructor who was leaving Rice. Dr. Kitchin, had strong roots in North Carolina where he was taking an assistant professor position at UNC. I think fellow genealogist and story teller extraordinaire, +Mariann Regan of Into the Briar Patch, A Memoir will appreciate this story as she also has deep roots in the state of North Carolina. Who knows, maybe Ethel's Scrapbook and the Briar Patch  will cross paths?



July, 1939

Dr. Irwin C. Kitchin, for the last three years instructor in biology at Rice Institute, is leaving Houston August 1 to take over his new duties as assistant professor, of zoology at the University of North Carolina.

Doctor Kitchin is the only American to have received a degree from Prof. Hans Spemann at famed German embryologist and winner of the Nobel prize in medicine.

Doctor Kitchin worked for four years, with Professor Spemann at Freiburg. Germany, and in the marine biological station at Naples. After receiving his Ph. D. degree from the University of Freiburg, Doctor Kitchin held the Session research fellowship at Yale University.

Working as an experimental embryologist, Doctor Kitchin has produced twins and Siamese twins from single eggs of salamanders. He explains at by studying the conditions y which his double‑headed monsters are produced, fundamental embryological principles are brought to light which are presumably as applicable to man and the higher animals as to salamanders.

Explaining this method of study he says, "If we know exactly the conditions necessary for producing our second and extra head, we are lead to believe that similar but naturally occurring causes bring about the development of the single head in normal animals.

"When properly cared for, these two-headed animals are capable of living a normal span of life like any side-show freak.”

At Rice, Doctor Kitchin has also carried on a series of is investigations on the development of both the pituitary gland-end the backbone.

Doctor Kitchin, at 27, is returning to North Carolina, where his family name has become distinguished in the public life of that state. His father, Dr. Thurman D. Kitchin. is president of Wake Forest College. Two of his uncles have represented North Carolina as congressmen. One of his uncles has served as governor of the state. His grandfather was a congressman and his great-grandfather a North Carolina governor.

With such an esteemed background, and distinguished credential, at such a young age, I am not surprised he was called back home. Rice certainly lost a great educator!


  1. Don't this people would be impressed buy breading double headed animal now, animal rights would have a field day.

  2. Smadar, this is fascinating! They must have lured Dr. Kitchin away from Rice -- even though Rice had so many great faculty members -- because of Kitchin's family connections to North Carolina! Family is especially a big deal in the South, even today.

    And you are exactly right. I do have a lot of place connections with Dr. Kitchin! His father is president of Wake Forest College? That was just a few streets away from me in Winston-Salem, where I grew up. And he went to teach at the University of North Carolina? That's just "down the road" from Duke, where I went to college.

    I don't remember Kitchins in the legislature, because that was probably a bit before my time. Ethel was studying at Rice a few years after my mother got her degrees at Coker College and USC. But still, it's right in my area. And Dr. Kitchin held a fellowship at Yale, years before I did -- what a lot of coincidences!

    Especially thank you for your very kind and generous words! Many paths are crossed here, indeed!

    1. I think you are right Mariann. I don't think UNC had a hard time recalling him back to NC with his deep roots there! I'm glad you enjoyed the connection! Those compliments were very true! I enjoy your blog very much!


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