University of Notre Dame

Marcus and Martha Lyon Papers


Origination : Lyon, Marcus Ward, 1875-1942
Extent : 7 linear inches
Repository : University of Notre Dame Archives
Address : Notre Dame, Indiana 46556

Administrative Information

Contractual restrictions may apply

Preferred Citation

Marcus and Martha Lyon Papers (LYF), University of Notre Dame Archives (UNDA), Notre Dame, IN 46556

Scope and Content

Correspondence and papers of Marcus Lyon; notes on protozoology, 1916; manuscripts of Marcus and Martha Lyon; medical case studies of Martha Lyon; newsletters of the Society of American Bacteriologists, 1938-1939; a scrapbook of Martha Brewer, 1887-1902 (before she married Marcus Lyon); and printed matter.

Marcus Lyon's papers are of three main types:

1. Letters, mostly on mammalogical and botanical subjects, including various letters he received from the Smithsonian Institution for the specimen he had sent to there for determination when he was a teenager. Letters from Donald Paettie and Charles Deam deal mostly with the fauna of Indiana.

2. Articles and Speeches by Marcus Ward Lyon are primarily about extinct and living mammals in the State of Indiana.

3. Articles collected by Lyon on various subjects, especially botanical, medical, and zoological problems.

Personal materials are only scarcely represented.

Of the papers of Martha Brewer Lyon, only a few letters and articles are connected with her research. The one scrapbook concerns her early (collegiate) life, starting in 1887, and includes invitations for dances, photographs of her family, documents from her days at the university, articles about her favorite football team (Navy), Grand Army relics, letters of congratulation when she received her bachelor's degree, and a commencement invitation from Marcus Ward Lyon Jr.


Marcus Ward Lyon, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., was a professor of physiology, bacteriology and zoology at Howard University, 1903-1915, and George Washington University, 1915-1918, and pathologist at the Walter Reed General Hospital, 1917-1919. He was an authority on the natural history of the dunes region of Indiana. His wife, Martha, born Martha Brewer, was also a medical doctor.

Dr. Marcus Ward Lyon Jr. was born February 5, 1875, at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. After graduating from High School in 1893, he entered Brown University where he received his Ph.B. in 1897. Upon moving to Washington D.C. in 1898, he started his two careers, which he pursued for the rest of his life. He was appointed Aid, and later Assistant Curator for Mammals, at the U.S. National Museum, and at the same time enrolled at the George Washington University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1913. From 1903 until 1917 he taught several classes in bacteriology, pathology, veterinary zoology, and parasitology. During World War I he joined the Army and served as pathologist in Walter Reed General Hospital.

In 1919 he moved with his wife, Martha Brewer Lyon, whom he had married in 1902, to South Bend, Indiana. Mrs. Lyon was also a doctor. She received a master of science degree from Columbian College in 1901 and a Ph.D. from Howard University in 1907. In South Bend both worked at the South Bend Clinic. In 1931 Martha Brewer Lyon opened her own office and worked as an ophthalmologist until her death on January 18, 1942. Next to his work as a doctor, Marcus Ward Lyon published several books and articles on zoology, medicine, and botany, especially on the flora and fauna of Indiana. He was also a member of several scientific organizations, including the Indiana Academy of Science, the American Society of Mammologists, and the Society of American Bacteriologists. He died on May 19, 1942, in South Bend.


Lyon, Marcus Ward, 1875-1942
Sand dune ecology
Lyon, Martha, 1871-1942

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