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Camillo Artom Personal Collection

Dr. and Mrs. Camillo Artom

Size: 5 cubic feet

Restrictions: The papers of Dr. Camillo Artom are open to qualified scholars after an interview with the Archives’ staff.

Preservation: Staples, rubber bands, and paper clips have been removed. Photos have been placed in Mylar sleeves and older documents interlaced with acid free paper. The entire collection has been placed in Hollinger boxes.

Number of boxes: 13

Provenance: The papers of Camillo Artom, M.D., Ph.D. were given to the Dorothy Carpenter Medical Center Archives, Coy C. Carpenter Library, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, on July 26, 1974 by Bianca Artom.


Dr. Camillo Artom, know as the "fat" chemist for his work with lipids, was born in Asti, Italy on June 6, 1893. After studying medicine at the University of Rome and the University of Padua, he received his M.D. from Padua in 1917. Artom served as a cadet sergeant and later a lieutenant in the Italian medical corps from 1916 to 1920. He was awarded the Italian and Romanian Crosses for his work terminating a typhus epidemic during his time in the service. Dr. Artom was also a skilled mountain climber, a talent much appreciated by the Alpine troops.

In 1923 he received his Ph.D. from the University of Messina and in 1926 a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Palermo. Although Artom earned a M.D., he only practiced medicine during the time he spent in the Corps. After the Great War or World War I, Artom took positions in the Universities of Messina and Palermo. During this ten-year period, he also conducted research at the Universities of Amsterdam and Frankfurt. According to an article in the Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel from September 24, 1967, "In 1930, he became chairman of the department of biochemistry at the University of Cagliari, and in 1935, he took the same position at the University of Palermo in Sicily." He became a research fellow with the Rockefeller Foundation in Naples around the same time. At the time of this appointment, Dr. Camillo Artom was considered one of the foremost biochemists in Europe.

According to the same article in the Winston-Salem Journal, by the late 1930s Artom and other Jews in Italy were beginning to be aware of the negative feeling toward Jews in Europe. Artom described the situation: "By 1938, we were aware of the plight of the Jews in Germany. We did not expect the same trouble in Italy, for we Jews were so few." However, after Artom was denied permission to attend a conference of biochemists in Zurich, Switzerland, and dismissed from his position at the University of Palermo he realized the enormity of the situation, "I knew then that it was time we left Italy. There was nothing there for us anymore."

Dr. Artom and his wife, Bianca, did not have an easy time leaving Italy. Working through the American consul in Naples, Artom sought to be included in the 1938 or 1939 quota of Italian immigrants to the United States. At the same time he worked relentlessly to secure a passport.  Unfortunately, Artom would not be included in the quotas without proof of a job. 

Dr. Coy Carpenter, dean of Wake Forest Medical School secured that job. Dr. L. Emmett Holt of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland recommended Dr. Artom to Dr. Carpenter. Carpenter offered Artom the position of chairman of the Biochemistry Department at Wake Forest Medical School. As the head of this one-man department, Artom was paid a meager salary of $200 month.  Unfortunately, when Artom presented Dr. Carpenter’s cable offering him the position, the Italian consulate was furious. Dr. Artom was not allowed the leave because he was told his presence in the United States would provide unfair competition to the citizens of the United States.   Fortunately, for Wake Forest Medical School, men of academic talent were exempted from the quota restrictions.

Dr. Artom and his wife were allowed to move to the United States in 1939. Artom questioned their ability to live on such a low salary, but was assured it was possible in the small town of Wake Forest in North Carolina. Years later, despite offers from such prestigious universities as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Artom continued at Wake Forest. When asked why he remained in such a rural setting, Artom replied, "[t]his school helped me in a difficult time of my life. I felt an obligation to stay here."

Dr. Artom was best known for his work in biochemistry, specifically lipid metabolism. Lipid metabolism deals with how the body absorbs fats, how the liver processes fats, and how fats collect in the walls of the arteries. Artom’s explanation of how fats are digested is still accepted today.

Artom discovered that if the liver is not supplied with choline, a vitamin B-like substance, then the liver produces fatty tissues, a condition similar to cirrhosis. Working with rats and later humans, Artom and two other doctors, Cayer and Cornatzer, discovered that an injection of choline helped to reduce this condition. Dr. Artom also demonstrated that in the digestion of fats, mono- and diglycerides are formed. It is these forms of fats that are digested in the intestine.

During the 1960s, Artom used pigeons in his study on atherosclerosis. During this time, hardening of the arteries was considered the number one killer in the United States and Europe. For this reason, alone, Artom’s work was considered extremely important.

Other landmark research by Artom included using radioactive isotopes. Artom used a radioactive isotope of phosphorus and injected it in a rat to trace the movement of phosphorus in the body.

In the span of his professional life Dr. Artom published over 200 papers relating to his work and received numerous grants, even after age 70. His only hobby as professor of emeritus seemed to be reading the Journal of Biochemistry. According to Artom in 1967, "it is no longer possible to be a cultivated biochemist. The explosion of knowledge in biochemistry is so vast, so rapid, a man has time only to keep pace with his own field. It is so in my field which, is narrower than I like."

In a nomination for the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation’s 1966 Medical Research Award, Irving Carlyle writes,

"The nature of Dr. Artom’s contribution [to science] cannot be stated as a single discovery or technique. Rather, it is the comprehensive, wide-nature of his investigations that have made them significant advances all across the field of fat metabolism."

In addition to professor and head of the department of Biochemistry at Wake Forest College School of Medicine from 1939 to 1942 and the professor and head of the Department of Biochemistry at Bowman Gray School of Medicine from 1941 to 1963, Dr. Artom was a member of various societies and held many offices. These include the:

  • American Society of Biological Chemists
  • Societe de Chimie Biologique (France)
  • American Clinical Society
  • Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine (Southeastern Section)
  • Vice-Chairman – 1955-1957
  • Chairman – 1958-1960
  • New York Academy of Science
  • Alpha Omega Alpha
  • Secretary, Beta Chapter of North Carolina, 1959-1965
  • Sigma Xi Society
  • Winston-Salem Torch Club

Dr. Artom served as Emeritus Professor from 1963 until his death on February 3, 1970.  Dr. Artom has been described as a faithful, humble, man totally lacking any "meanness" of spirit.  His colleagues described him as intense but serene, a man that always worked diligently whether he was in the lab or in the classroom. In 1963 the graduating class of the Bowman Gray School of Medicine dedicated their yearbook, The Gray and White Matter to Dr. Artom, "an internationally known scientist (who) has engendered our awe and admiration."                   

Scope of the Collection: The papers of Camillo Artom, M.D., Ph.D. reflect, in part, the professional and personal life of one of Europe’s most prestigious biochemists from the time he and his wife left Italy until Dr. Artom’s death in 1970. There are documents in the collection that are dated before 1939, the date of Dr. Artom’s arrival in the United States, however, they are few.

The Artom Collection is primarily a collection of research notes and recorded data. However, there are teaching materials; evaluations of people and papers; papers presented at conferences and symposiums; correspondence and an address book; and, finally, items that recognize Dr. Artom’s achievements. These series comprise a partial collection that focuses on the professional life of Dr. Camillo Artom.

As one of Europe’s leading biochemists, Dr. Artom’s research with lipids and lipid metabolism was on the cutting edge. The main body of research notes have been arranged by subject according to Dr. Artom, while the remainder of the notes have been arranged artificially according to subject and alphabetical order. Other research materials include two boxes of bibliographic note cards, reprints related to Dr. Artom’s work, and reprints of articles that have been written by Dr. Artom or in collaboration with Dr. Artom.  The collection also contains several unusual items. The items include a piece of rubber tubing with strings attached to the opposite ends, notes written on paper towels, and an address book. The address book is labeled "Rubrica" and contains the names and addresses of Artom’s friends and scientists.

The collection has been arranged into seven series:

    1. Curriculum Vitae, Bibliography, and Publications
    2. Research Materials
    3. Teaching Materials
    4. Evaluations
    5. Retreats, Conferences, and Symposiums
    6. Correspondence and Address Book
    7. Recognition

The papers in Dr. Artom’s collection have been arranged artificially with two exceptions: files 55 through 100, in boxes 5-9, and the note cards. These groups have been retained according to the arrangement by Dr. Artom. Also noted is the correspondence interspersed throughout the papers, in addition to the series labeled correspondence.

Series Description:

Series I. Curriculum Vitae, Bibliography, and Publications, Box 1, Files 1-5.

Series one consists of the curriculum vitae of Dr. Camillo Artom and rough draft of the curriculum vitae of Dr. Hugh Lofland.  This series also consists of Dr. Artom's bibliography, revised and updated through the years, as well as a list of his publications.  It should be noted that there are four bound volumes of Dr. Artom's writings.   These volumes contain Xeroxed copies of reprints.

Series II. Research Notes, Box 1-13, Files 6-131.

The research notes have been artificially arranged according to subject. File numbers 6-54 have been artificially and then alphabetically arranged. The last three files that have been arranged artificially are the notebooks. These books contain data and research findings. They may have been used for class or in the lab.

Numbers 55-131 have been retained according to Artom’s arrangement. These notes contain the findings of Dr. Artom’s research on lipids and lipid metabolism. The files contain notes, graphs, charts, and papers reporting his results. The numbers at the end of each file label indicate the number of the file placed there by Dr. Artom. Interspersed throughout the notes and data is correspondence concerning the research in that particular file.

Within Dr. Artom’s arrangement there are three files of materials he collected concerning the changing nature of science. These files are labeled, "Science in a Changing World," "Science and Politics 1963-1964," "Serendipity-Science in a Changing World." Two other files not directly related to research under this series are labeled, "Federation proceedings."

Other research materials include two boxes of bibliographic note cards. Box 1-A, Dr. Artom’s label, has been arranged alphabetically according to the author. Also found in box 1-B were advertisements and postcards from the 1950s. Dr. Artom also collected reprints of other’s work. The final file under this series is an extensive collection of reprints of journal articles written by Artom or in collaboration with Artom.

Series III.  Teaching Materials, Box 14, Files 132-138.

Series III reflects the teaching aspect of Dr. Artom’s career. These files contain experiments assigned to the students; lecture notes; a file on the History of Medicine Society; and two files labeled, "Advanced Topics in Biochemistry, 1966, and "Biochemistry Course, 1968,". There are also two theses within this series by Marjorie Swanson and Margaret Mitchell.

Series IV. Evaluations, Box 14, Files 139-141.

Series IV consists of correspondence inviting Dr. Artom to evaluate other doctors and scholarly works. The file also contains correspondence requesting that Dr. Artom evaluate faculty for promotion.

 Series V. Conferences, Retreats, and Symposiums, Box 15, Files 142-146.

This series contains documents generated in response to the conferences, retreats, and symposiums attended by Dr. Artom. Such documents include papers, receipts, lists, and other items concerning travel arrangements.

Series VI. Correspondence and Address Book, Boxes 15-16, Files 147-153.

Although correspondence is interspersed throughout the collection, this series contains only personal and professional correspondence. The correspondence that is grouped according to subject concerns grants and experiments as well as the sale of back journals. The final item in this series is the address book, which contains the addresses of scientists, colleagues, and friends from around the world.

Series VII. Recognition, Box 16, Files 154-156.

This series documents, in part, the achievements of Dr. Artom. This series contains an encyclopedia entry written by Dr. Artom explaining lipids, a handwritten speech accepting the portrait dedicated to Dr. Artom, and a speech given to the Torch Club, a professional organization of distinguished members who are asked to share, on a monthly basis, their work to be commented on.


Series I. Curriculum Vitae, Bibliography, and Publications, Box 1, Files 1-5

Box 1:    


File 1: Curriculum Vitae of Camillo Artom and Hugh Lofland, 1930-1950

File 2: Bibliography Rough Draft, 1914-1966

File 3: Artom publications, 1913-1969

File 4: Bibliography, 1945-1947

File 5: Revised Bibliography, 1969-1971


Series II.  Research Materials (Artificial Arrangement), Boxes 1-13, Files 6-131
 Box 1: 
 File 6: Choline [oversized, Box A]

File 7: Choline (DTMs) C14 Methyl labeled Dimethylaminoethanol [oversized, Box A]

File 8: Choline phosphokinase

File 9: Coconut Oil in human feeding

File 10: Enzymes for Phospholipid Synthesis Experimental Results [oversized, Box   A]

File 11: Enzymes for Phospholipid Biosynthesis PC Diglyceride Transferase Summary  (undated)

File 12: Cytioyl Transferase Glyceride Transferase (undated)

File 13: Paper by Raymond Reiser "The Intestinal Absorption of Triglycerides"

File 14: Two Pathways (Fatty Liver Statistical Treatment) [oversized, Box A]

File 15: Two Pathways for Lecithin Formation=B.B. Aeta Manuscript, 1950s

File 16: Two Pathways – Manuscript 1967 slices

File 17: Two Pathways Normal (Experimental Data Notes) [oversized, Box A]

File 18: Drafts of paper—Seminar, January 1969 "Pathways for Lecithin"

File 19: Lecithin Formation in Rat Tissues, 1964

File 20: Lecithin Formation in Rat Liver Slices (charts) [oversized, Box A]

File 21: Two Pathways for Lecithin Formation, undated

File 22: Two Pathways (Fatty Livers Statistical Treatment) [oversized, Box A]

File 23: Enzymes for the Formation of Lecithins by Transmethylation the Livers of   Developing Rats, 1969

 Box 2:    
  File 24: Reprints from others work on Ethionine, 1950s

File 25: Manuscript – "Metabolism Phospholipid"

File 26: Phospholipid Metabolism, 1953

File 27: Abstracts of proofs – Incorporation of Amino Acids Methyl C., 1965

File 28: Notes on lipid metabolism in Rat Liver Slices, 1960 [oversized, Box A]

File 29: Future Experiments on lipid metabolism, 1960 [oversized, Box A]

File 30: Metabolism of Phospholipid, undated

File 31: Enzymes for Phospholipid, 1968

File 32: Phospholipid levels in liver disease, 1952

File 33: Paper "Ionizing, Radiation, Atherosclerosis, and Lipid Metabolism in Pigeons," undated

File 34: Data used in Manuscript of Pigeon paper [oversized, Box A]

File 35: Correspondence - "Ionizing, Radiation, Atherosclerosis, and Lipid Metabolism in Pigeons," 1960

File 36: Galley Proofs Var-Drafts Proofs of the paper, 1960

File 37: Enzymes for Lecithin Formation by Transmethylation in developing rats, final manuscript, undated 

File 38: Phosphatidye Choline by Transmethylation, undated

File 39: Liver Data – Methionine Activity and Methyl Transferase

File 40: TLC and paperchromatography Methyl Transferase, undated

File 41: Identity of Methionine 4 Methyl Transferase in liver and lungs

File 42: Methyl Transferase Data Graphs and Notes

File 43: To Biophysical and Research communications, 1965

File 44: Determination of MME – Notes

 Box 3: 
  File 45: Additions of DME and MME – Notes, 1962

File 46: Preparation of C 14 Methyl DNA and other, 1950s

File 47: Methylations in Metabolism, 1950s

File 48: Charts and Graphs, 1950s

File 49: Camera Ready Prints of Charts

File 50: Tables and drafts, "Incorporation of the Carbons of L-[14 C] -Methionine Into  the Lipids of Rat Intestinal Mucosa."

 Box 4: 
  Files 51-54 Notebooks, 1030s, Files 43-45 in Box 4 Artom's Arrangement
 Box 5:    
  File 55: Serine phospholipid (complete manuscript) 1, 1964

File 56: Serine incorporation into phospholipid 2, 1962

File 57: Two pathways – liver slices experimental results 3, undated

File 58: Two pathways of lecithin formation –  future experiments 4, undated

File 59: Science in a changing world 6, 1963

File 60: Science and politics, 1963 and 1964

File 61: Serendipity – Science in a Changing World 8, 1964

File 62: Serine incorporation into lipids preliminary report 9

File 63: Serine incorporation into phospholipid 10, 1962

File 64: EA and Serine Incorporation into phospholipid and Experimental Results     11 [oversized in Box A]

File 65: MME phospholipid preliminary reports 12, 1960

File 66: MME phospholipid B and B research communications 13, 1964

File 67: MME phospholipid 14, 1961

File 68: MME phospholipid, literature, and methods 15, 1963

File 69: MME phospholipid-summaries of experiment results 16, 1963

 Box 6:    
  File 70: Orotic acid ethionine fatty livers, 1963

File 71: EA and PEA 18 [oversized in Box A]

File 72: DME = experimental data (summary) 19, undated

File 73: DME, 1961

File 74: Choline determination [notes on paper towels] 21, 1966

File 75: Col-stimulation of phospholipid formation 22, 1963

File 76: Atp Dtm, 23

File 77: Aminoeaeyl-lipids experimental results 24, 1959

File 78: Experiments in progress (April 1, 1960) 25 [oversized Box A]

File 79: DME Reprints 28, 1960s

File 80: Reprints for current investigations, 1960s

File 81: Enzymes of lecithin formation seminar, January 1968

File 82: Experiment Results – enzymes of lecithin information CCl14 ethionine effects 31, 1967

File 83: Current Experiments 1967 32

File 84: Not labeled [reprints], 1950s and 1960s

File 85: Seinis N.D., 34 1961

File 86: Peptidolipids 35 1966

File 87: Outside of file correspondence about methione Methyl-C-14, 1968

 Box 7:    
  File 88: Two pathways of lecithin formation results and Calculations on permeability 36, undated

File 89: PC-Glyceride transferase choline phosphokinase reprints 37, 1950s and       1960s

File 90:  Aminoacyl lipids 1960 experiments 38

File 91: Two pathways liver slices 1965 statistical treatment of data 39

File 92:  Methionine activating enzymes 40 1965 

File 93: Liver enzymes (relative values and statistical evaluations) 41, undated

File 94: Lung lecithin 42, 1960s

File 95: Enzymes for phospholipid biosynthesis choline Kinase cytidyl transferase 43

File 96: Two pathways for lecithin formation seminar (v. of n.d.) 44

File 97: Federation proceedings, 27 (2), 457 (1968)

File 98: Federation proceedings, 28, 845, (1967)

 Box 8: 
  File 99: Note cards Box 1-A, 1913-1970
  • CA++ (and other ions)
  • Accumulation in cell particles  
  • Enzymes for phospholipid-biosynthesis development
  • Serine phospholipid (in vitro)         
  • Monodimethylethanolamine             
  • Diethanlamine Ethanolamine (in vitro exp.)
  • Phospholipid synthesis in vitro
  • Choline formation by transmethylation
  • Serine -CH2O
  • Ethionine
  • Lung Lecithin (surfactant)
  • Lecithin formation – enzymes (two pathways)
  • CCl4 fatty liver                                                       
  • Orotic acid fatty liver                                                      
  • Intestinal mucosa and lipid metabolism (also:  peptidolipids)
  • Carnitine, choline, and fatty acid oxidase                                                       
  • Choline antimetabolite                                                       
  • Phospholipids (intermediate producers of Synthesis or hydrolysis)     
  • Choline oxidase                                                   
  • Formaldehyde                                                       
  • Cystine and fatty liver                                                      
  • TMA from choline                                                      
  • Glycol-glycolic-glyoxylic (aldehydes-acids)                                                      
  • Fatty acid oxidation (isolated tissue CCl4-choline)                                                       
  • Enzymes of F.A. oxidation
  • Alloxan diabetes
  • Cholesterol artherosclerosis
  • Radiation and lipids
  • Diet and radiation
  • Sulfur-co vt. amino acids
  • Choline, ethanolamine (methods)
  • Methods
  • Synthesis of labeled compounds
 Box 9: 
  File 100: Box 1-B: Note cards missing a label, possibly labeled under B
  • Under D                                                       
  • C fragment (tetialvydioflate)                                                       
  • Cyclopropane and branched fatty acids                                                        
  • Unsaturated Fatty Acids (Metabolism)                                                       
  • Oxidation                                                       
  • Minor phospholipid                                                       
  • Glycerol ethers                                                       
  • Carnitine                                                       
  • Biochemistry of lipids (advanced course -  1968)                                                       

Notecards Bibliography, B-W, arranged alphabetically by author's last name

Reprints and other works collected by Artom

 Box 10:    
  File 101: 1946

File 102: 1950-1951

File 103: 1952-1953

File 104: 1954-1955

File 105: 1956-1957

File 106: 1958

File 107: 1959

File 108: 1960

Artom Reprints

 Box 11:  
  File 109: undated reprints

File 110: Paper written in 1918

File 111: 1910-1915

File 112: 1916-1920

File 113: 1921-1923

File 114: 1924-1925

File 115: 1926-1927

File 116: 1928-1929

 Box 12:  
  File 117: 1930-1932

File 118: 1933, 1935, and 1936

File 119: 1937

File 120: 1938

File 121: 1940, 1941, and 1942

File 122: 1943 and 1944

 Box 13: 
  File 123: 1945 and 1946

File 124: 1947, 1948, and 1949

File 125: 1950 and 1951

File 126:  1954 and 1955

File 127: 1954 and 1955

File 128: 1956 and 1957

File 129: 1958 and 1959

File 130: 1960, 1961, and 1962

File 131: 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969


Series III. Teaching Materials, Box 14, Files 132-138
 Box 14:   
  File 132: Student Assignments (lipid experiments)

File 133: Lecture Notes [oversized Box B]

File 134: Thesis by Marietta Crowder, 1948

File 135: Thesis by Margaret Mitchell, 1948

File 136: Advanced Biochemistry Class 1966

File 137: Biochemistry Course 1968

File 138: History of Medicine Society, 1960s


Series IV. Evaluations, Box 14, Files 139-141
 File 139: Requests to evaluate people for awards, 1940s and 1950s

File 140: Requests to evaluate people for papers, 1950s and 1960s

File 141: Faculty Promotions, 1950s and 1960s


Series V. Conferences, Retreats, and Symposiums, Box 15, Files 142-146
 Box 15:
  File 142: Paper given in New Orleans, 1940

File 143: Lipid Symposium, 1950

File 144: Faculty Retreat, 1958

File 145: Lipotropic Symposium, 1958

File 146: Deuel Conference on Lipids, 1962


Series VI. Correspondence and Address Book, Box 15-16, Files 147-153
 Box 15
  File 147: Personal and Professional, some in Italian, 1935-1966

File 148: Personal and Professional, some in Italian, 1960

 Box 16:    
  File 149: Speech and visit by Dr. Severo Ochoa and Dr. William Rose, 1962

File 150: Grants and Experiments, 1950s and 1960s

File 151: Sale of Back Journals, 1969

File 152: Address Book

File 153:  Miscellaneous items interspersed with correspondence


Series VII. Recognition, Box 16, Files 154-156
 Box 16:
  File 154: Encyclopedia Entry, 1949, [also oversized, Box B]

File 155: Portrait Dedication, 1969 [oversized, Box B]

File 156: Torch Club, 1960s [oversized, Box B]

Addendum: May 1994

Box of Research Notebooks generated by Dr. Artom


  1. Curriculum Vitae, Bibliography, and Publications, Box 1, Files 1-5
  2. Research Matierals (Artificial Arrangement), Boxes 1-13, Files 6-131
  3. Teaching Materials, Box 14, Files 132-138
  4. Evaluations, Box 14, Files 139-141
  5. Conferences, Retreats, and Symposiums, Box 15, Files 142-146
  6. Correspondence and Address Book, Boxes 15-16, Files 147-153
  7. Recognition, Box 16, Files 154-156

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