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SPENZER, JOHN GEORGE

SPENZER, JOHN GEORGE

SPENZER, JOHN GEORGE (6 Sept. 1864-28 July 1932), an expert in forensic medicine who introduced the latest European toxicological techniques to Cleveland, was born in Cleveland to Peter Ignatius and Mary Theresa (Molloy) Spenzer. In 1880 he entered Western Reserve University, studying chemistry and toxicology under Dr. EDWARD MORLEY. He received his medical degree in 1884 but continued studying under Morley until 1887. After 5 years of additional study at the University of Strassburg and in Paris, Spenzer returned to Cleveland to teach at the College of Pharmacy, and later at the Cleveland College of Physicians & Surgeons. In 1910 he joined the faculty at WRU to teach legal chemistry and medical jurisprudence, covering topics such as medical evidence and testimony and criminal acts determined by medical knowledge. He became a regional expert on blood and poison analysis and was often called upon for blood identification. He also testified in numerous court cases requiring medical evidence, such as whether or not a person was poisoned, or if certain spots were human blood. In 1917, Spenzer became director of the Medical Chemistry Laboratory. Much of his research was devoted to vitamins and vitamin treatment for malnutrition. Because of his work in toxicology, in 1926 Spenzer was called upon to analyze the CUYAHOGA RIVER to determine how harmful the discharge of acids and alkalines was to the water supply. Spenzer married Minnie Elizabeth Kittelberger in 1898 and had two children, John Calvin and Caroline.


Biographical Files, CWRU Archives.