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Potter NIH Stetten Museum Artifact Page

Esso Standard Oil Co. Bayol F Drum, c. 1960



This barrel of mineral oil was used by Dr. Michael Potter to induce plasma cell tumors in mice.

Read Potter and Boyce’s paper “Development of Plasma-Cell Neoplasms in BALB/c Mice After Intraperitoneal Injection of Paraffin-Oil Adjuvant, Heat-Killed Staphylococcus Mixtures,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 25(4), October 1960, pp. 847-861.

Learn more on the Esso Oil Drum artifact page.

Esso Oil Can

Mouse Reliquaries, 1960-1961



Potter wanted to study the early stages of tumor growth, but the tumors only grew in animals. Each of these containers holds the bones of one mouse. The labels indicate the mouse’s identifying number, gender, and colony, as well as what the mouse was injected with, such as “1 dose one Fruends adj + Staph” or “mineral oil only,” and when it was injected. Potter would inspect the bones for lesions about 90 days after tumor X5563 had been transplanted into the mice.

Read Nordan and Potter’s paper, “A macrophage-derived factor required by plasmacytomas for survival and proliferation in vitro,” Science 233(4763), 01 Aug 1986, pp. 566-569.

Learn more on the Mouse Reliquaries Artifacts page.

Mouse bones in glass vials

Waring Blendor 700, c. 1963


Donated by Dr. Rose Mage

Drs. Michael Potter and Rose Lieberman prepared their Freund’s adjuvant in a Waring Blendor (yes, that should be an “o”). An adjuvant is a substance that affects an action in a predictable way; Potter used Freund’s adjuvant to generate mouse plasma cell tumor cell lines. Freund’s adjuvant, named after Dr. Jules Freund, keeps an antigen from breaking down quickly and/or increases its effects.

For a complete look at Freund’s impact, see “Jules Freund, 1890-1960,” Journal of Immunology, 909(3), 1963, pp. 330-336.

Learn more on the Waring Blendor Artifacts page.

Waring Blendor brand blender

Olympus BH-2 Microscope, c. 1985


Donated by Dr. Beverly Mock

Scientists are often associated with microscopes, and in some cases, for good reason. Dr. Michael Potter was usually at his laboratory bench using his Olympus BH-2 Microscope. The BH-2 was part of the first Olympus series that allowed a microscope to the transformed to meet many specifications by switching the microscope head lens modules.

More information is available on the Olympus Microscope Artifacts page.

Learn more about the BH-2 here.

Olympus BH-2 Microscope

Bird shell sculptures


Donated by Melissa Potter Adde

An inveterate beach comber, Dr. Michael Potter expressed his artistic side when he created sculptures of sea birds like pelicans and terns from shells and stones that he had collected. He had a good eye for which shells would fit together to become part of a bird’s body.

Learn more about these sculptures.

Bird sculpture created from seashells

Molecular Model of Variable Part of Antigen-binding Fragment of Mouse Antibody, 1975


Donated by Dr. David Davies

Made by Dr. David Davies, an expert in crystallography, this was the first molecular model of an antibody fragment of a mouse antibody (FAB).

Molecular model artifacts page

Molecular model

Keuffel & Esser Log Log Duplex Decitrig Slide Rule, 4081-3, c. 1955


Donated by Dr. Beverly Mock

If you are of a certain age, you might know how to use this slide rule, which belonged to Dr. Michael Potter.

Slide rule artifacts page

Photo of a slide rule


Here are a few books, spanning several decades, that Dr. Michael Potter added it to his laboratory shelves, whether they belonged in the main library or not.

Neoplastic Diseases: A Treatise on Tumors, 3rd edition, 1928


Donated by Dr. Beverly Mock

This book, by James Ewing, was bought for the NIH when it was still singular (National Institute of Health) and located on Navy Hill in downtown Washington, D.C. Ewing was the first director of pathology at Memorial Hospital in New York, which was the first cancer center in the United States.

Potter's books artifact page

neoplastic diseases book

Pathology of Tumours, 1948


Donated by Dr. Beverly Mock

The book was bought for the NIH by Dr. Wilton Earle, who was responsible for the development of many tissue culture techniques. Potter may have used Willis’ book as inspiration for a manuscript that he was working on when he died about the history of plasma cell tumor research.

Potter's books artifact page

anthology of tumors book

Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology: The Wild Mouse in Immunology, 1986


Donated by Dr. Beverly Mock

This book was edited by Michael Potter, Joseph H. Nadeau (Jackson Laboratories, Bar Harbor, Maine), and Michael P. Cancro (University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Department of Pathology), from papers presented at a 1985 workshop in Bethesda on the use of wild mice in a wide variety of research.

Potter's books artifact page

The Wild Mouse in Immunology book

Statute of a Woman, undated


Donated by Melissa Potter Adde

Dr. Michael Potter did not finish this sculpture of a woman, which sat upon a driftwood base. This sculpture represented an artistic change from making sculptures out of found natural elements like shells and stones, to a more traditional medium

Several additional images of another sculpture of a woman's head are also included on the Potter clay sculpture artifacts page.

statue of a woman