Skip to main content

Edward A. Holyoke Papers

Identifier: MS-019

Scope and Contents

The collection documents the academic career of anatomist and educator Edward Augustus Holyoke, MD, PhD, including material ranging from 1915-2001. A bulk of the 10.876 linear feet of material dates from around 1932-1973. Significant topics represented in the collection are twentieth century anatomy education, medical illustrations, and anatomical research with special interest relating to fascial spaces, mammalian embryos, and mammalian spleens. Found within the collection are research materials, manuscript materials, course materials, publications and reprints, scholarship, autobiographical material, anatomical illustrations, and artwork. Important names in this collection include Bernard Beber, James Blair, R. Russell Best, Manuel Grodinsky, J. Jay Keegan, J.C. Kennedy, John Latta, Joanne Volenec McLean, Rose Reynolds, and Ernest Lynn MacQuiddy. Each series is arranged alphabetically.

Research materials consist of anatomical dissection notes, anatomical photographs, and human embryo limb-bud illustrations by Rose Reynolds.

Manuscript materials consists of research notes, dissertation works, manuscript drafts and publications, black-and white-photographs, negatives, and medical illustrations that are linked with specific published research projects. The manuscripts are primarily single author works by Dr. Holyoke, but there are also single- or co-authored works by R. Russell Best, James Blair, Manuel Grodinksy, John S. Latta, Joanne Volenec McLean, and Ernest MacQuiddy present. Many of the manuscripts contain multiple drafts whose order cannot be determined. During processing, letters (A, B, C, etc.) were assigned to each draft manuscript to distinguish it from the others, but researchers should not assume that Draft [A] was written before Draft [B].

Course materials contain anatomy lecture, or possibly lecturer, notes organized by body part and including week-by-week dissection guides. These course materials pre-date Dr. Holyoke’s time at UNMC, circa 1915-1925.

Publications and reprints include various books, poems, and article reprints primarily authored by Dr. Holyoke. The Department of Anatomy and College of Medicine histories can be found in this series.

Scholarship contains professional development material, including a poster abstract, supplemental program, and possible presentation notes.

Autobiographical materials include information, such as news clippings, a CV, and photographs. Dr. Holyoke’s oral history interviews, including VHS tapes and the 1979 interview transcript are included in this series.

Anatomical illustrations consist of various signed and unsigned medical illustration sketches, renderings, and prints. Subject matter mostly consists of fascial spaces of the hands and feet, OB-GYN procedures including labor and delivery, and pelvic cross-sections.

Artwork contains a single watercolor.


  • Majority of material found within 1915-1973


Conditions Governing Access

This collection contains a single restricted document. A redacted copy is used in its place.

This collection contains sensitive material that some people may find disturbing. Such material is noted on the container list.

This collection contains contain records that are historical in nature and products of the time and society under which they were created. Some materials within this collection contain language or images that users could find inappropriate or offensive. The University of Nebraska Medical Center does not endorse the views expressed in these materials, which are inconsistent with the University’s commitment to creating an inclusive, open, and accessible learning community. These items have been retained as they originally existed to preserve the integrity of the historical record and to foster accountability for the institution's actions and decisions.

Anatomical dissections and illustrations in this collection predate 1971 and are not subject to the 2013 modified HIPAA regulations "individually identifiable health information of a person who has been deceased for more than 50 years is not protected health information under the Privacy Rule." See p. 5613-5614 of the final rule at

Biographical / Historical

Edward Augustus Holyoke, MD, PhD (1908-2001), was born in Madrid, Nebraska on March 10, 1908. Deciding to be a physician as a teenager, Dr. Holyoke took prep school classes and attended Chadron State Teachers College before transferring to the University of Nebraska, earning his Bachelor of Science degree from Lincoln in 1928. He continued his education at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, earning his MA in 1932 and an MD in 1934. As a medical student, an instructor vacancy opened in the College of Medicine. Anatomy professor John Latta, PhD, and Dean Charles William McCorkle Poynter, MD, persuaded Dr. Holyoke to take up this position and a career in anatomy rather than pursue clinical practice. Other external factors of the times, like the Great Depression, solidified his decision to teach.

Dr. Holyoke pursued a graduate degree while serving as an instructor and in 1938, he became the first student in the Department of Anatomy to earn a PhD. At this time, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Anatomy, later taking over teaching the Gross Anatomy course upon Dr. Manuel Grodinsky’s retirement. Dr. Holyoke continued to rise through the departmental ranks, eventually serving as chair of the Department of Anatomy from 1960-1973. During his tenure as chair, he doubled the number of departmental faculty and oversaw the departmental move from Poynter Hall to the newly built Basic Science Building, now Wittson Hall. After retiring as department chair, he continued to teach Gross Anatomy until 1983, a 53-year involvement in the course. That same year he was named professor emeritus and retired in 1995.

Dr. Holyoke wrote extensively, publishing many articles on anatomy, and contributing to several textbooks. He had a special interest in history, writing a volume for the Centennial Trilogy of the University of Nebraska College of Medicine and a separate The Department of Anatomy: University of Nebraska Medical Center centennial history. Dr. Holyoke also wrote satirical poems under the pseudonym E. Gustave Polehock.

A dedicated educator and alumnus, Dr. Holyoke received a Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and two Golden Apple Awards from the student body. He served as an officer and board member of the University of Nebraska College of Medicine Alumni Association from the 1940s until the late 1980s, primarily as secretary and treasurer. He was also secretary and treasurer of the C. W. M. Poynter Foundation.

Heavily involved in professional organizations, Dr. Holyoke was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association of Anatomists, the Anatomical Association of Great Britain and Ireland, and the Midwest Anatomists Association, where he served as president in 1969. He served terms as president of the Nebraska chapters of both Alpha Omega Alpha and Sigma Xi.

In 1940, Dr. Holyoke married Lois Carse. They had two children, Edward A. “Ted” Holyoke Jr., and Thomas T. Holyoke. Lois Holyoke died in 1976, and Dr. Holyoke was remarried to Francis Lewis of Omaha in 1981.

Dr. Holyoke died on August 20, 2001, in Omaha.  


.417 Linear Feet (Half-Width Legal-Sized Document Box (Flip-Top Hollinger Box) [15.5d, 10.5h, 2.5w inches] extent measured by width)

.417 Linear Feet (Half-Width Legal-Sized Document Box (Flip-Top Hollinger Box) [15.5d, 10.5h, 2.5w inches] extent measured by width)

.417 Linear Feet (Half-Width Legal-Sized Document Box (Flip-Top Hollinger Box) [15.5d, 10.5h, 2.5w inches] extent measured by width)

.417 Linear Feet (Half-Width Legal-Sized Document Box (Flip-Top Hollinger Box) [15.5d, 10.5h, 2.5w inches] extent measured by width)

2.19 Linear Feet (OS Box 25x19 [19.5d, 2.5h, 25.25w inches] extent measured by width)

2.19 Linear Feet (OS Box 25x19 [19.5d, 2.5h, 25.25w inches] extent measured by width)

1.875 Linear Feet (OS Box 22x13 [13.5d, 2.25h, 22.5w inches] extent measured by width)

1.54 Linear Feet (OS Box 18x13 [13.5d, 3h, 18.5w inches] extent measured by width)

1.54 Linear Feet (OS Box 18x13 [13.5d, 3h, 18.5w inches] extent measured by width)

4.16 Linear Feet (Map Case 50x41 [41d, 2h, 50w inches] extent measured by width)

Language of Materials



As a graduate of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and 53-year member of the Department of Anatomy faculty, Dr. Holyoke was a staple in basic science education for the bulk of the 20th century. The Edward Augustus Holyoke Papers contain research and manuscript material related to Dr. Holyoke’s long tenure at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Additionally, this collection contains anatomical illustrations for Dr. Holyoke’s manuscripts, conference presentations and class lectures. These illustrations were important teaching tools in the 20th century. Rose Reynolds is a notable illustrator of many of the anatomical illustrations in these papers. As a medical illustrator for UNMC from1929-1977, she also conducted and photographed anatomy dissection.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains material that is restricted due to poor physical condition.

This collection contains a format(s) that is not viewable in the library. Contact the library for details.

Related Materials

Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy  material

Edward A. Holyoke oral history

1979, collection number UNMC-3-001

1980s, collection number UNMC-3-002

Framed art by Rose Reynolds “Some Days are Like That,” 1972, donated by COM and Alumni Association. This is not an anatomical illustration. It looks like a frenzied chicken. 

Selection of Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy  manuscript collections including:

Keegan, J.J. (John Jay), 1889-1978

Latta, John Stephens (1928-1998)

Rosenlof, Robert C. (1924-1997)

Rubnitz, Abraham S. (1885-1968)

Guide to the Edward A. Holyoke Papers
Edward A. Holyoke Papers
DiAnna Hemsath and Maria Shellman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
First Edition of this Finding Aid

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nebraska Medical Center Robert S. Wigton Department of Special Collections and Archives Repository

Robert S. Wigton Department of Special Collections and Archives
986705 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha NE 68198-6705 USA