- Harold Amoss
- Hometown (Last School)
- Cobb, KY (Paducah High)
- 1902-03, 1903-04
- September 8, 1886
Legal Name: Harold Lindsay Amoss
Date of Death: November 2, 1956
Member of Kentucky’s first basketball team. Member of Pi Kappa Alpha social fraternity, Phi Chi, Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi.
Dr. Harold L. Amoss obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Kentucky in 1905 and an M.S. degree from UK in 1907. His theses in 1905 was “A Chemical Study of the Translocation of the Reserve Materials of the Potato During Sprouting.” His theses in 1907 was “A New Reagent for the Recognition and Estimation of Free Hydro-chloric Acid in Gastric Contents.”
Dr. Amoss started his career as an agricultural chemist in his home state at the UK Experiment Station and had also served with the hygienic laboratory of the U.S. Public Health Service and the Bureau of Chemistry of the Department of Agriculture. After, he went to the Harvard Medical School where he remained for a year after graduation in their Department of Pathology and Bacteriology. On a fun note, while attending Harvard, Amoss played the bass-fiddle in a bar band.
In 1912 he accepted an appointment at the Rockefeller Institute at the invitation of Dr. Simon Flexner, at that time the Director. While there he met his wife, Marguerite Dupree Moore. They were married in 1917, in New York. During his 10 years at the Institute, not only was he intimately associated with Dr. Flexner, but his interests followed those of his chief along two lines in particular; studies on experimental poliomyelitis and on experimental epidemiology, notably in mice. His record of research at the Institute was impressive in spite of the fact that during this time he served in World War I in France as a medical officer, being discharged with the rank of major. He was the author of about 60 original articles on bacteriology, immunology, pathology and clinical medicine. He produced the anti-serum for meningococci meningitis and erysipelas. He first described what is known as the “Tripod sign”, also known as the “Amoss’s sign,” a useful sign of meningeal irritation. It is used for diagnosing conditions like meningitis, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and poliomyelitis.
In 1922 he turned to clinical medicine and joined the staff of the Department of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Medical School as an Associate Professor of Medicine. There he worked largely in the field of infectious disease for the next 8 years, to become at the end of this time, Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical School in Durham, North Carolina. Here he stayed for only three years, for apparently, the career of a full-time Professor of Medicine was not to his liking, and so he made one of those abrupt switches which are not often achieved by those who have been brought up in the research field or in full-time medicine and have spent more than 20 years in it. This change was from research and teaching, -to practice. He established himself as an internist in Greenwich, Connecticut, where he remained for the rest of his life. At first, he maintained a laboratory at the Rockefeller Institute, where Dr. Flexner had encouraged him to keep in touch with scientific medicine.
For the last 20 years of his life, he was a busy practitioner and served as consultant in medicine in a number of communities and local hospitals in Connecticut and New York State, including the Grasslands, White Plains, Greenwich, United and North Westchester Hospitals. He also had been director of the Gaylord Sanitarium. During World War II he was chairman of the Fairfield County (Conn.) Medical Advisory Board.
He was an enthusiastic member of the Climatological Association and indeed it was the ideal Society for him in that it seemed to bridge the gap between scientific medicine and the practice of medicine in a special way and one which marked the two phases of his own career. He had a number of interests outside of medicine and was an enthusiastic fly fisherman.
Harold Amoss was a kindly, thoughtful physician with a broad outlook on many phases of medicine. He will be remembered in various fields by many people and for different reasons according to the particular interests which he represented to each of them.
In 1956, Mrs. Harold L. Amoss (Marguerite Dupree Moore Amoss) and friends of the late Dr. Amoss, established an endowment fund with income to be used for loans to aid deserving medical students at John Hopkins University.