O’Leary, James Lee
- Joanna B. Downer
O’Leary, James Lee (08 December 1904–25 May 1975), pioneer in neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, was born in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, the son of James O’Leary, an engineer turned lawyer, and Mary Whalen. Shortly after O’Leary was born, his mother developed a lung infection, and the family had to move to a drier climate. He grew up in San Antonio, Texas. O’Leary’s father died when the boy was eleven, and his mother began a real estate business to provide for her children. O’Leary did quite well in school and at the age of sixteen entered the University of Chicago. In 1925 he received his bachelor’s degree, and under the influence of Robert R. Bensley of the department of anatomy, he was drawn toward research. With Bensley’s assistance, he received a scholarship to study anatomy and entered the doctoral program at Chicago, remaining in the laboratories of Bensley. Other influential professors at Chicago included ...