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Edward Cornelius Humphrey

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Edward Cornelius Humphrey
2015-12-15 2244 Edward Cornelius Humphrey (1905-1966).png 2015-12-15 2244 Edward Cornelius Humphrey (1905-1966).png
Born(1905-12-28)December 28, 1905
Louisville, Kentucky
💀Died(1966-01-07)January 7, 1966
Albemarle, North Carolina(1966-01-07)January 7, 1966
🏳️ NationalityAmerican
💼 Occupation
Public health physician, TVA Chief Medical Officer
👩 Spouse(s)Ruth MacGillivray Humphrey
👶 Children
👴 👵 Parent(s)
🥚 TwitterTwitter=
label65 = 👍 Facebook

Edward Cornelius Humphrey, M.D. (1905–1966), a graduate of Yale University[1] and of Harvard Medical School, served as a U.S. Army medical officer during World War II serving in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe, achieving the rank of Major. He was Chief Medical Officer of the Tennessee Valley Authority during the 1950s, with offices located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Later, in the 1960s, he served as Chief Health Officer for the counties of Stanley County and Montgomery County in North Carolina. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Lewis Craig Humphrey and Eleanor Silliman Belknap Humphrey. He died in North Carolina on January 7, 1966 at age 60 and was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.


In 1920 Humphrey was living in Two-Mile House in Jefferson, Kentucky. His early education was in the public schools of his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Before entering Yale at the age of 17, he briefly attended Phillips Andover Academy.[2][3] After graduating from Yale in 1927,[4] he entered Harvard University Medical School, from which he graduated in 1932. His two-year internship was served at Presbyterian Hospital (New York City) from 1932 to 1934.

Medical career[edit]

Following his graduation from Harvard Medical School and his two-year internship (1932–1934) in medical service at Presbyterian Hospital (New York City), he conducted a private medical practice in his hometown of Louisville from 1934 to 1939. He also worked for three years (1934–1942) with the Kentucky State Health Department as a medical officer for Mercer County, Kentucky. He began World War II service as a medical officer, training at Camp Croft in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He was commissioned with the rank of Captain and then promoted to rank of Major (1942–1945). After the war, he accepted an appointment as a physician in the student health department of the University of Kentucky before moving to his post as Chief Medical Officer for the Tennessee Valley Authority based in Knoxville, Tennessee. At that time TVA's headquarters were located in the Old Federal Customs House at the corner of Market Street and Clinch Avenue. The offices of the East Tennessee Historical Society are currently located in the East Tennessee History Center which now occupies the former TVA building which housed the medical offices of Doctor Edward C. Humphrey and his staff.

Humphrey retired from the TVA to take a post as County Health Supervisor for the counties of Stanley, North Carolina and Montgomery County, North Carolina, remaining there until his illness and death at age 60.

Tennessee Valley Authority[edit]

TVA sign at Hyde Park, NY IMG 5665
Norris Dam

From 1948 to the late 1950s (or early 1960s), Humphrey served as the chief medical officer for the Tennessee Valley Authority in its headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee at a time when TVA was the United States' largest supplier of electricity. He, along with two nurses, two clerks, and one x-ray and laboratory technician, oversaw the medical care of about 1500 TVA employees. In addition to his medical duties at the Knoxville TVA office, he was sometimes called upon to conduct tours for international engineers and other visitors to the TVA lakes and hydroelectric dams in the TVA's service area, such as those at Norris Dam, Loudon, Tennessee, Hiwassee Dam, Fontana Dam, and Cherokee Dam, covering most of Tennessee, parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky, and some small areas of Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. The Tennessee Valley Authority was the first large regional planning agency of the United States federal government, and remains the largest today.

Military service[edit]

Humphrey held the rank of Captain as a medical officer specializing in epidemiology during most of his World War II military service with the United States Army. He enlisted on May 18, 1942 in Mercer County, Kentucky, when his home residence was Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Prior to his overseas service, he was stationed at Camp Croft in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He was later promoted to the rank of Major. He was with the US Army Medical Corps for three and one-half years (1942 -1945), one and one-half years of which were in the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe. As documented in a photostatic copy of his certificate of service (issued at the Separation Center at Camp Blanding, Florida, on February 1, 1946, and signed by Personnel Officer H. S. Mason, Captain AGD), he also received a European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal ribbon, an American Theatre ribbon, and a World War II Victory Medal (United States) ribbon.


Born December 28, 1905 in Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky, USA, Edward Cornelius Humphrey was the son of Eleanor Silliman Belknap Humphrey and Lewis Craig Humphrey[5] and the grandson of William Richardson Belknap.[6][7]

Humphrey and his sister Alice as children

He and his little sister Alice were the subjects of a rare autochrome Lumière photograph by Ethel Standiford-Mehlingan.[8]

His mother was the daughter of William Richardson Belknap, who was a long-time president of Belknap Hardware and Manufacturing Company, and his father was Lewis Craig Humphrey, a newspaper editor[9] who started as a reporter at the Louisville Herald. After the Herald's merger with the Louisville Post, his father became associate editor of the Louisville Herald-Post, a broadside founded in 1925, which ceased publication in 1936. His grandfather was the lawyer and theologian Edward William Cornelius Humphrey. His siblings were Alice Silliman Humphrey Morgan, Mary Humphrey Gray, and Cpl. William Belknap Humphrey. His great-grandfather was the Rev. Dr. Edward Porter Humphrey.

Edward Cornelius Humphrey and his bride Ruth Eleanor MacGillivray Humphrey (1905–1986) were married in Manhattan, New York on September 21, 1932, when he began his internship at Presbyterian Hospital (New York). His wife, Ruth, from Proctor, Vermont, was a former nurse at Boston Children's Hospital and was a private nurse to the young daughter of novelist John P. Marquand.

Aspen Hall, Harrodsburg

Edward and Ruth Humphrey's children were Thomas MacGillivray Humphrey, Lewis Craig Humphrey II, Sally Reed Humphrey, and Edward Porter Humphrey, all born in Kentucky. Prior to his Army service, during his tenure as a public health officer in Mercer County, Kentucky, his family rented and lived in Aspen Hall in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Upon his enlistment as a medical officer in the U.S. Army, the family transferred to Spartanburg, South Carolina for his training at Camp Croft. For the remainder of his overseas army service, they lived just blocks away from his widowed mother Eleanor Belknap Humphrey's home in Coconut Grove, Florida. After Humphrey's return to the United States and his acceptance of a temporary appointment at the University of Kentucky as physician to the students, he lived with his wife and children in Lexington, Kentucky.

In the 1960s, when he moved from his long-term position with the Tennessee Valley Authority, he and Ruth and their youngest son Edward Porter Humphrey (namesake of the Rev. Dr. Edward Porter Humphrey) moved to Albemarle, North Carolina. There Humphrey served as chief public health officer for the counties of Stanley County and Montgomery County, North Carolina until his death on January 27, 1966 in Albemarle, Stanly County, North Carolina. He was buried in the Humphrey family plot at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky, where his great-grandfather Rev. Dr. Edward Porter Humphrey gave the dedicatory address on July 25, 1848.


  1. Yale Class of 1927 Class Directory. New Haven, Connecticut: Class Officers Bureau. 1956. p. 39. Search this book on
  2. Humphrey Ancestry, (2010). U.S. School Yearbooks. Provo, Utah, USA: Operations, Inc. |access-date= requires |url= (help) Search this book on
  3. E-Yearbooks, Yale University. "Alpha Delta Phi". E-Yearbooks. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  4. Yale Class of 1927, Twenty-fifth Yearbook, 1952.
  5. History, Strong Family. "Eleanor Belknap Humphrey". Google Books. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  6. A History of Kentucky and Kentuckians, E. Polk Johnson, three volumes, Lewis Publishing Co., New York & Chicago, 1912. Common version, Vol. III, pp. 1153–54
  7. Catalog, Online. "Pedigree of Eleanor Belknap". Library of Virginia. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  8. "Ethel Standiford Photograph Collection: Scope and Content". Ohio Link Finding Aid Repository. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  9. Prominent Journalist of Louisville is Dead. Kingsport Times (Kingsport, Tennessee), Feb. 3, 1927, p. 7.

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