Edward Calvin Kendall
Kendall in 1950
Born(1886-03-08)March 8, 1886
DiedMay 4, 1972(1972-05-04) (aged 86)
Princeton, New Jersey, United States
Alma materColumbia University
Known forIsolation of thyroxine
Discovery of cortisone
AwardsLasker Award (1949)
Passano Foundation (1950)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1950)
Cameron Prize for Therapeutics of the University of Edinburgh (1951)
Scientific career
St. Luke's Hospital
Mayo Clinic
Princeton University

Edward Calvin Kendall (March 8, 1886 – May 4, 1972) was an American biochemist. In 1950, Kendall was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine along with Swiss chemist Tadeusz Reichstein and Mayo Clinic physician Philip S. Hench, for their work with the hormones of the adrenal glands. Kendall not only researched the adrenal glands, he also isolated thyroxine, a hormone of the thyroid gland and worked with the team that crystallized glutathione and identified its chemical structure.

Kendall was a biochemist at the Graduate School of the Mayo Foundation at the time of the Nobel award. He received his education at Columbia University. After retiring from his job with the Mayo Foundation, Kendall joined the faculty at Princeton University, where he remained until his death in 1972. Kendall Elementary School, in Norwalk is named for him.

Early life and education

Kendall was born in South Norwalk, Connecticut in 1886. He attended Columbia University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1908, a Master of Science degree in Chemistry in 1909, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1910.[1]

Research career

After obtaining his Ph.D., his first job was in research for Parke, Davis and Company, and his first task was to isolate the hormone associated with the thyroid gland.[2] He continued this research at St. Luke's Hospital in New York until 1914.[1] He was appointed Head of the Biochemistry Section in the Graduate School of the Mayo Foundation, and the following year he was appointed as the Director of the Division of Biochemistry.[1]

Kendall made several significant contributions to biochemistry and medicine. His most important discovery was the isolation of thyroxine, although it was not the work for which he received the most accolades.[3] Along with associates, Kendall was involved with the isolation of glutathione and determining its structure.[2] He also isolated several steroids from the adrenal gland cortex, one of which was initially called Compound E. Working with Mayo Clinic physician Philip Showalter Hench, Compound E was used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. The compound was eventually named cortisone.[1] In 1950, Kendall and Hench, along with Swiss chemist Tadeus Reichstein were awarded the 1950 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "their discoveries relating to the hormones of the adrenal cortex, their structure and biological effects."[4] His Nobel lecture focused on the basic research that led to his award, and was titled "The Development of Cortisone As a Therapeutic Agent."[5] As of the 2010 awards, Kendall and Hench were the only Nobel Laureates to be affiliated with Mayo Clinic.[6]

Kendall was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1950,[7] and both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society in 1951.[8][9]

Kendall's career at Mayo ended in 1951, when he reached mandatory retirement age. He moved on to Princeton University, where he was a Visiting Professor in the Department of Biochemistry.[1] He remained affiliated with Princeton until his death in 1972.[3] In addition to the Nobel Prize, Kendall received other major awards including the Lasker Award, the Passano Foundation Award and the Cameron Prize for Therapeutics of the University of Edinburgh.[1][citation needed] Kendall received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1966.[10] He was awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Cincinnati, Western Reserve University, Williams College, Yale University, Columbia University, National University of Ireland, and Gustavus Adolphus College.[2]

Family life

Kendall married Rebecca Kennedy in 1915, and they had four children.[1] He died in 1972 in Princeton, New Jersey.[3] His wife died in 1973.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Edward C. Kendall". The Nobel Foundation.
  2. ^ a b c Ingle, Dwight (1974). "Edward C. Kendall" (PDF). Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences. 47. National Academy of Sciences: 249–90. PMID 11615626.
  3. ^ a b c "1926 Edward C Kendall". American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Archived from the original on 2012-03-19. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
  4. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1950". The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
  5. ^ "Edward C. Kendall – Nobel Lecture". The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
  6. ^ "Nobel Laureates and Research Affiliations". The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
  7. ^ "Edward Kendall". www.nasonline.org. Retrieved 2023-02-15.
  8. ^ "Edward Calvin Kendall". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2023-02-15.
  9. ^ "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved 2023-02-15.
  10. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.