Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History

Sauer, Anne

Branco, Jessica

Bennett, John

Crowley, Zachary


Carpenter, Russell LeGrand "Bud", 1901-1991


Russell LeGrand "Bud" Carpenter (1901-1991), A1924, H1977, was professor of zoology, an active alumnus, and curator of the P.T. Barnum Collection during the more than thirty years he spent on the Hill.

Born in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1901, Carpenter entered Tufts in 1920 intending to study English and become a journalist, after spending a year as a reporter following high school. He received twenty-five dollars in student aid from the college and one hundred dollars from the Universalist Church to help finance his education. After attending the lectures of Professors Herbert Neal and Fred Lambert in biology, Carpenter changed his major to biology. During his undergraduate years, he wrote a column for the Tufts Weekly, sang in the Glee Club, and also played the banjo in a small dance orchestra.

Following graduation from Tufts in 1924, he entered the Graduate School of Harvard University, receiving his doctorate in zoology in 1928.That same year, he married Elsie Stuart Clark, with whom he had two children, and started teaching in the new anatomy department at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.

Carpenter returned to Tufts in 1938 as professor of zoology succeeding his former professor. Addressed as "Doc" by his students, he was recognized on campus for his teaching in both the classroom and laboratory and his many years as the college's pre-medical advisor. The 1968 yearbook was dedicated in his honor on the occasion of his retirement.

His scholarly and research interests were the histology of the eye with specific focus on the biological effects of microwave radiation on the eye. This led to the establishment of the Microwave Radiobiology Research Laboratory, of which he served as director and principal investigator. He published more than a dozen papers on the subject. Tufts awarded him the honorary degree doctor of science in 1977.

He also was a lecturer in ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School for thirty-five years and acted as a consultant on ophthalmic biology for the Retina Foundation in Boston. For thirty years he served on the faculty of the summer Lancaster Course in Opthalmology for specializing physicians. Carpenter received many scientific honors, including election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Beyond his teaching, Carpenter's involvement with Tufts as an alumnus was substantial. He was the first editor of the Tufts Alumni Review, the president of the New York Tufts Club, and, beginning in 1943, a member of the Tufts Alumni Council. He received the Tufts Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 1942 and also served on the committee in charge of redesigning the Tufts Seal.

Carpenter undertook the responsibility of establishing the Tufts University Barnum Collection, which included letters and personal mementos of P.T. Barnum. Acting as the collection curator, Carpenter spread the story of Tufts and Jumbo through his notable, witty lectures, using whatever honoraria he receivedto acquire additional items for the collection and to maintain the Barnum Room where Jumbo was located. In March 1968, for the first time in his thirty years as a professor, Carpenterpresented a lecture on the history of Jumbo and how he "happened to matriculate" to his Biology 2 classes at Tufts. President Hallowell was extended an invitation to attend the morning course.

Carpenter retired from Tufts in 1969.The following year he was invited to establishand direct a program of microwave bio-effects research for the Bureau of Radiological Health of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Carpenter died in Williamstown, Massachusetts, on July 28, 1991.

The room in Barnum Hall where Carpenter presented his lectures carried his name from his retirement until the building burned in 1975. The top floor of Barnum's newest west wing was given and identified by a plaque in his name by the donor when it was constructed. His former students established the Russell L. Carpenter Fund for Teaching and Research in Biology following his death; it supports summer research by undergraduate interns. Carpenter House, a student residence located at 8 Winthrop Street, was named in his honor. In 2001, his former national research colleagues honored his work and memory by publishing all his research papers in a single volume.

Source: VF

Subject terms:
  • The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.
This object is in collection Subject Temporal Permanent URL
Component ID:
To Cite:
TARC Citation Guide    EndNote
Detailed Rights
View all images in this book
Numeric Entries
Dame, Lorin Low, 1838-1903
Dana, Charles A., 1881-1975
Dana Laboratory, 1963
Daniel Ounjian Prize in Economics,
Davies, Caroline Stodder, 1864-1939
Davies House, 1894
De Florez Prize in Human Engineering, 1964
de Pacheco, Kaye MacKinnon, ca. 1910-ca. 1985
Dean Hall, 1887-1963
Dean, Oliver, 1783-1871
Dearborn, Heman Allen, 1831-1897
Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, 1893
Department of Anesthesia, 1970
Department of Art and Art History, 1930
Department of Biochemistry, 1893
Department of Chemistry, 1882
Department of Community Health, 1930
Department of Dermatology, 1897
The Department of Economics, 1946
Department of Medicine, 1893
Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Department of Neurology, 1893
Department of Neuroscience, 1983
Department of Neurosurgery, 1951
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1893
Department of Ophthamology, 1893
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 1906
Department of Otolaryngology, 1895
Department of Pathology, 1893
Department of Pediatrics, 1930
Department of Pharmacology, 1915
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 1854
Department of Physiology, 1893
Department of Psychiatry, 1928
Department of Radiation Oncology, 1968
Department of Radiology, 1915
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, 1955
Department of Surgery, 1893
Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, 1973
Department of Urology, 1910
Dental Health Sciences Building, 1969
Dewick, Cora Alma (Polk), 1875-1977
Dewick/MacPhie Dining Hall, 1959
Dickson Professorship of English and American History, 1913
Dirlam, Arland A., 1905-1979
Dog Cart, 1900
Dolbear, Amos Emerson, 1837-1910
Donald A. Cowdery Memorial Scholarship, 1946
Dr. Benjamin Andrews Professorship of Surgery, 1987
Dr. Philip E. A. Sheridan Prize, 1977
The Drug Bust, 1970
Dudley, Henry Watson, 1831-1906
Dugger, Edward Jr., 1919-75
Durkee, Frank W., 1861-1939
Durkee, Henrietta Noble Brown, 1871-1946
 List of Sources