AAI In Memoriam

Henry Claman

Henry N. Claman, M.D. (AAI '65), a long-time professor of allergy and clinical immunology at the University of Colorado, died on September 3, 2016 in Denver. During his time as an AAI member, Dr. Claman served on the Education Committee, the Nominating Committee, as chair of the Awards Committee, and as a representative on the IUIS Advisory Committee. Dr. Claman was an emeritus member at the time of his death. The following tribute, submitted by Dr. Claman’s University of Denver colleague, Stephen C. Dreskin, M.D., Ph.D., will appear in a forthcoming issue of the AAI Newsletter.

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It is with great respect that I inform the AAI membership of Dr. Henry Claman’s passing on Saturday, September 3, after a battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Henry N. Claman was a third-generation physician and a second-generation allergist. He attended Harvard College, the New York University School of Medicine, and completed training in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital and at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He concluded his military duties as head of allergy at the U. S. Army Hospital in Fort Meade, Maryland. Dr. Claman then moved to Denver in 1961 to work with Dr. David Talmage (AAI President, 1978 - 1979) in the Division of Allergy and Immunology in the Department of Medicine at the University of Colorado (UC) School of Medicine.

In 1966, Dr. Claman and colleagues published the seminal observation that cellular cooperation between lymphocytes from the bone marrow and those from the thymus was essential for antibody production, the beginning of our understanding of T-B collaboration in immunology. In 2004, this article was celebrated in The Journal of Immunology as the first article in the “Pillars of Immunology” series.

For further discussion of Dr. Claman’s early contributions to the field of immunology, please see:

  1. Dreskin SC. Henry N. Claman in profile. J Allergy and Clin Immunol, 117:959-960, 2006.
  2. Kirkpatrick CH. Identification of cellular cooperation in antibody production. J Allergy and Clin Immunol, 117:960-962, 2006.
  3. Marrack, P. Thymocytes and bone marrow cells in 1966. Where did we go from there? J Allergy and Clin Immunol, 117:962-964, 2006.

Among his many achievements, Dr. Claman served as head of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the UC School of Medicine. He also published and lectured widely on topics such as effects of corticosteroids on lymphoid cells, the cellular basis of tolerance, the nature of suppressor T cells (the historical predecessor of T regulatory cells), chronic graft vs. host disease, the role of mast cells in scleroderma, and the immunology of pregnancy. He served on a variety of prestigious editorial boards and received a number of awards, including the Sulzberger Prize from the American Dermatologic Society, the Besredka Prize of the Foundation Franco-Allemande (for Immunology), the Chairman’s Award of the UC Department of Medicine, and the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation (Denver) Award for Achievement in Science.

Henry was also involved in the community beyond the university, serving on the boards of Temple Emanuel and the Rocky Mountain Harvard Club. Dr. Claman was also the president of the Denver Institute for Jewish Studies.

Dr. Claman was appointed Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Immunology and Professor Emeritus of the UC School of Medicine. He received an honorary UC doctorate in 2014 and was the recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award, one of the university’s highest honors.

In his later years, Henry wrote Jewish Images in the Christian Church: Art as the Mirror of the Jewish-Christian Conflict, 200-1250 CE (available through Amazon) and founded the Arts and Humanities in Healthcare Program at UC, integrating the arts, literature, and reflective writing into the medical education curriculum. He was also the founding editor of The Human Touch, an annual anthology of poetry, prose, and photography from the UC Denver medical campus.

A service was held September 5, 2016, at Temple Emanuel, and was followed by a grave site ceremony on September 6, 2016.

Henry’s charm, wit, and intellect will be sorely missed. Dr. Claman is survived by his wife, Dr. Janet Stewart, his son, David Claman, and his brother, Victor Claman.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Denver Hospice (http://www.thedenverhospice.org/Pages/Home.aspx), Friends of Chamber Music (http://friendsofchambermusic.com), or Temple Emanuel (http://www.emanueldenver.org).


Stephen C. Dreskin, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine and Immunology
University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine

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