J. Lawrence  Pool, MD
Senior: 1966
Distinguished Service Award: 1983


J. LAWRENCE POOL was born in New York City on August 23, 1906, son of Esther Phillips Hoppin and Dr. Eugene Hillhouse Pool, once President of the American College of Surgeons and of the New York Academy of Medicine. He was educated at St. Paul’s School, Concord, N.H. (1920-24); Harvard College (A.B., 1928); College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia (M.D., 1932; Doctor of Medical Science, 1941). He interned in medicine at New York Hospital-Cornell (1932-33); did research on cerebral vasospasm, Boston City Hospital (1933-34); served residency in surgery, Presbyterian Hospital, N.Y. (1934-36); residency in neurology, Neurological Institute of New York (1936-37); and neurosurgery, Neurological Institute, N.Y. (1937-39).

He was in private practice in New York City (1939-42) and on the staff at Bellevue Hospital, while completing research at Columbia P & S for his degree of D.Med.Sci. From 1942 to 1946, he served as a major in the U.S. Army with the Roosevelt Hospital unit, the 9th Evacuation Hospital, with three years overseas duty in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Southern France, and Germany.

In 1946, he resumed private practice, teaching, and research in New York City. He was appointed Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery, Columbia University, in 1949. He retired in 1972 as Emeritus Professor of Neurological Surgery.

Among his significant contributions to neurosurgery are: work on paraplegia (1942-46); psychosurgery (1950s); total removal of acoustic neurinomas, leading to two books on subject (late 1950s); intracranial aneurysm surgery which led, in one case, to an extracranial-intracranial arterial shunt with plastic tube (believed the first such shunt in surgical history); microsurgery for aneurysm (performed, 1963; reported, 1966)

While at Harvard he and his brother Beckman were the amateur squash champions of the world. Their coach considered their skills had changed the whole competitive game of squash. He wrote more than 13 books, 11 after he retired in 1972, several of which relate his various remarkable exploits including trips across the Atlantic in a sailboat. He also published historical articles in standard neurosurgical journals as a series of small books on subjects as varied as America’s Valley Forges, Fighting Ships of 1775-83, and Here and Hereafter. His last composition was finished on his 96th birthday. As a role model to many neurosurgeons now in their 60s and 70s he has few equals. He is especially proud of being a member of the Rogue River Neurosurgical Society. He is a member of the AANS, and the AAcNS.

On December 1, 1994, The Neurological Institute announced an endowed Professorship in Dr. Pool’s honor. Dr. Pool and his late wife Angeline Krech James had three children: J. Lawrence, Jr., Eugene H., and Daniel S.

In his latter years, arthritic joints progressively immobilized him. However, his mind always remained sharp, and he was a regular contributor of poems and comments that were published in the local newspaper in Cornwall, CN, where he lived.

Until his death, Larry continued to write short articles on all kinds of subjects that he circulated to his friends, and he was always ready to participate in an animated conversation, preferably in person, but if not, on the telephone. Nobody could be a better example of how to live and how to make to the most of what aging delivers.

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