Lemuel Diggs

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Lemuel Whitley Diggs
Born (1900-01-08)January 8, 1900
Hampton, Virginia
Died January 8, 1995(1995-01-08) (aged 95)
Memphis, Tennessee
Nationality American
Fields Pathology and hematology
Institutions University of Tennessee 1929
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital 1962
Alma mater Randolph-Macon College
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Known for Sickle cell anemia

Lemuel Whitley Diggs (January 8, 1900 – January 8, 1995) was a pathologist who specialized in sickle cell anemia and hematology.


Diggs was born in Hampton, Virginia, but spent most of his life and did most of his work in Memphis, Tennessee. He received his undergraduate and master's degrees from Randolph-Macon College, and his medical degree in 1925 from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He joined the faculty of the University of Tennessee in Memphis in 1929 and later became Director of Medical Laboratories.

In 1938 he helped create in Memphis the first blood bank in the South, only the fourth in the US. He helped Danny Thomas create the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, also in Memphis, in 1962.

In 1971 his work led to the creation of the first comprehensive research center for sickle cell disease at the University, which later endowed a Professor of Medicine position named after him.

His Morphology of Human Blood Cells, which he co-authored with Ann Bell and medical illustrator Dorothy Sturm, is on its 7th edition and is still used as a textbook.[1][2][3]

A 1984 interview with Diggs entitled, History of Medicine in Memphis has been published.[4] Diggs died in January 1995, on his 95th birthday.


  • Morphology of Human Blood Cells. 1956.


  1. ^ Diggs, L. W., Sturm, D., & Bell, A. (1954). The morphology of blood cells in Wright stained smears of peripheral blood and bone marrow, by W.L. Diggs, Dorothy Sturm and Ann Bell. Chicago: Abbot Laboratories.
  2. ^ Book Review: The Morphology of Human Blood Cells. Ann Intern Med. 1956;45:968-968. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-45-5-968_1
  3. ^ Amazon.com: Morphology of Human Blood Cells: 7th Edition.
  4. ^ Mabry, Thelma Tracy History of Medicine in Memphis: Interview with Dr. Lemuel Whitle Diggs, November 15, 1984.. Oral History Research Office, Memphis State University.