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C. Lloyd Claff papers

Identifier: M031

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Scope and Content

Sixteen scientific notebooks, as well as loose notes and one published article from the period of Claff's research at the Woods Hole Research Laboratory in Massachusetts and Harvard Medical School. The topics of the notebooks include protozoology, mammal resuscitation, and most extensively his Cartesian Diver experiments, which led to his work with Dr. Lande on the artificial gill. Seven of the notebooks were compiled for Claff by his research assistants at Woods Hole. Also included are certificates concerning Claff's membership in scientific academies and organizations.


  • Creation: 1935-1968, undated


Access Restrictions

The collection is stored offsite and must be requested at least 1 full business days in advance for retrieval. Contact Special Collections & Archives before visiting. Otherwise, no restrictions.

Biographical/Historical Note

Clarence Lloyd Claff was born on October 15, 1895 in Perry, New York. Claff served a brief stint in the navy from 1917-1919 during World War I, graduating from Bowdoin in 1918. In 1920, Claff began working for his father's shoe box factory, M.B. Claff & Sons. He became president of the factory in 1928, a position he held until his death on March 28, 1974, in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Although a successful businessman, Claff is probably more well known as a scientist and inventor. With little in the way of formal scientific training, in 1932 Claff began spending his summers at the Woods Hole Laboratory (now the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute) in Massachusetts studying protozoa and single-cell organisms. In 1940 he became a research fellow in surgery at Harvard Medical School. Claff was responsible for the invention of the Claff Explosion-Proof Heart Defibrillator, the Claff Autotherm for congestion, and the Crescenzi-Claff Membrane Blood Oxygenator for the resuscitation of blue babies. Founder of the Single Cell Research Foundation, Inc., Claff also invented a heart-lung machine for use during cardiac surgery, and he made essential contributions toward the success of Dr. Arnold J. Lande's artificial gill.


2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



C. Lloyd Claff's scientific research notebooks from his work at Woods Hole Research Laboratory in Massachusetts and Harvard Medical School.


Organized into a single series:Arranged chronologically.

Location Note

The collection is stored offsite.

Guide to the C. Lloyd Claff Papers
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011 Repository

3000 College Station
Brunswick Maine 04011 USA
(207) 725-3288