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Stella Yates Botelho papers

Identifier: WM-363

Scope and Contents

The papers include materials documenting both the personal life and professional career of Stella Yates Botelho, from her birth in 1919 until she donated her papers to the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1990. Materials created prior to her birth include a small amount of correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia handed down in her family. These materials primarily document and come from her mother's side of the family in South Carolina and the Delaware Valley.

Botelho's childhood and education took place in the Philadelphia area and is represented by family and personal photographs, report cards, clippings, programs, and mementos of her involvement in curricular, extra-curricular, and athletic activities. Her time as a student at the University of Pennsylvania and Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania is documented by captioned photographs of friends and classmates.

Correspondence from her personal life includes letters from, among others, her childhood English pen-pal Vera Meyrick who died unexpectedly at age 16, family friend Louise Dew-Watrous, and her friend and fellow physician Robert Nims. This last material represents the largest cache of personal correspondence in the collection.

Botelho clearly loved to travel and her collection is rich in mementos of her many trips abroad. Included in the collection are postcards she wrote from abroad to her mother, as well as itineraries, programs, and other mementos.

Besides the travel postcards to her mother, there is little correspondence from Botelho in the collection. Her voice comes through most strongly in the small diary she kept while undergoing treatment for tuberculosis in the Eagleville Sanatorium in Eagleville, Pennsylvania.

Botelho's professional correspondence documents her career as both a teacher and researcher. It includes information on her position at the University of Pennsylvania as well as significant events in her career, such as the commissioning and presentation of her painted portrait and her retirement from the University.

Botelho taught courses in physiology at the University of Pennsylvania and materials in support of these courses include administrative and subject-related documents. A small file of student work saved by Botelho has restricted access.

The research activities of Botelho's physiology lab at the University of Pennsylvania are documented in 48 lab notebooks, as well as over 40 articles published during her career. Also included are reviews of her work, conference papers, grant documentation, and other research materials. Over the course of her career, Botelho oversaw the work of many medical and graduate students. Doctoral dissertations from five of her students are in the collection.

Documenting a long life of achievement are her educational diplomas, as well as numerous awards and certificates from professional organizations.


  • 1823 - 1987
  • Majority of material found within 1919 - 1981


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Drexel University College of Medicine, Legacy Center: Archives and Special Collections on Women in Medicine and Homeopathy with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.

Biographical / Historical

Stella Yates Botelho, M.D. (b. 1919) is an alumnus of Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (M.D. 1949) and the University of Pennsylvania (A.B. 1940). She specialized in the field of physiology and had a distinguished career as a researcher and teacher.

Stella Botelho was born in Tokyo, Japan, to parents Francis Martin Botelho (1893-1967) and Emily Yates Evans Botelho (1893-1977). She and her brother Eugene George Evans Botelho (1916-1999) moved to the United States with their mother in 1920; their father followed a year later in 1921. The family settled in Delaware and later Pennsylvania, in close proximity to other members of the Evans family on her mother’s side. Neither Stella nor her brother Gene married.

Stella’s mother Emily descends from several prominent families (Yates, Long, Saylor) of Charleston, South Carolina, who moved north to Wilmington, Delaware before the Civil War. Emily’s grandmother, Joanna Yates married Englishman William Joseph Evans in Delaware. Their son, William Holbeck Evans, was a pharmacist who settled in Japan at the end of the 19th century. He married Joana Duval (d. 1902), also known as Tom Yoh Hee, an American citizen born in Macao, China. William Evans adopted Joana’s son Thomas Hayller Evans (b. 1889), who was born in China, and together they had two additional children, Emily Yates Evans and William Holbeck Evans, Jr. (1895-1951), who were both born in Japan.

Stella’s father’s family also has strong ties to East Asia. Her father Francis Martin Botelho was born in Hong Kong to Eugene Procolo Botelho and Anna da Esperança (dates unknown for both). Francis claimed Portuguese heritage and citizenship. Evidence also suggests the family had Asian roots, possibly tracing to the Portuguese colonial city of Macao, China. Several family members ran the international export and shipping business Botelho Bros. based in Hong Kong, with offices in Shanghai and San Francisco, among others. Francis worked in the machine tool industry in both China and Japan before settling in the United States where he worked primarily as a linguist and language teacher.

Stella Botelho attended Wayne Elementary School, Wayne Grammar School and Radnor High School, in Wayne, Pennsylvania, where she graduated in 1936. She was a Girl Scout, a member of the National Honor Society, and participated in glee club, debate team, school plays, the school newspaper, and was editor-in-chief of her high school yearbook, The Album. She also excelled in athletics, lettering in tennis, swimming, basketball, and hockey.

Botelho began her studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 1936 where she majored in chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts for Women. She was editor of the Freshman Handbook and business manager of the Record Book. Continuing her interest in sports, Stella participated in swimming and was captain of the women’s tennis team. She was a member of the Beta chapter of Zeta Phi medical fraternity and was president of Alpha Omicron Pi women’s fraternity. She was presented with a Senior Leadership award and graduated in 1940.

Botelho was admitted to Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1940 and received her M.D. in 1949. During the course of her medical school studies she contracted tuberculosis and spent over a year at Eagleville Sanatorium (1942-1943). She attended Woman’s Medical College from 1940-1942, 1943-1944, and 1946-1949, making her a member of the classes of 1944, 1946 and 1949. During medical school Botelho was a summer volunteer at Friends Hospital (1940, 1941). She was a research assistant in the Department of Physiology at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine (1945-1946) and was a pre-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Physiology in the Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (1946-1948). After graduation, she completed her medical internship at Woman’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 1951-1954.

Botelho’s first professional position at the University of Pennsylvania was an appointment as Instructor in Physiology (Graduate School of Medicine) in 1949. She was appointed Associate in Physiology and Pharmacology (Graduate School of Medicine) in 1950, Assistant Professor of Physiology (Graduate School of Medicine) in 1954, Associate Professor of Physiology (School of Medicine) in 1957, and Professor of Physiology (Medical School and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences) in 1969. She was named Professor Emeritus in 1981. She also held visiting appointments at Cambridge University (1957-1958), the University of Panama (1976), and Hokkaido University (1977).

At the University of Pennsylvania Botelho taught courses in applied and medical physiology and she maintained an active research lab, studying respiratory physiology, neuromuscular physiology, the spinal cord, and secretion of exocrine glands. In the course of her career she published over 40 scientific articles in the field of physiology and was the principal investigator on numerous scientific grants. She mentored dozens of pre- and post-doctoral students, many of whom she kept in touch with as they went on to have distinguished careers in medicine.

Botelho received many awards over the course of her career, including the Alumni Achievement Award from Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (1962), the Alumni Award of Merit from the University of Pennsylvania (1968), admission as a Fellow into the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (1974), and the Commonwealth Board Award of the Medical College of Pennsylvania (1982). Upon her retirement from the University of Pennsylvania, her portrait was painted for the Medical School portrait gallery by Edgar Eckfeldt (1915-2012).

Botelho maintained an active correspondence and close personal friendship with fellow doctor Robert Nims (1917-2009) during the 1950s. She also corresponded with the author Louise E. Dew (1871-1962), who was a friend of the Botelho family.

In addition to her time spent abroad in medical positions, Botelho made several trips for pleasure to western and eastern Europe, the Indian subcontinent, and east Asia. In the United States she traveled to the west coast and to the southwest, where her brother Gene Botelho served as an Episcopal priest to Native American populations. She was involved in nature and zoological causes and enjoyed photography, cooking and entertaining.

(Information from internal evidence and local sources. Also: Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1835-1974 for Joana Evans on and U.S., Consular Registration Certificates, 1907 – 1918 for William Holbeck Evans on


10 linear feet (24 boxes (19 document boxes, 5 flat boxes); also textiles in one large garment box, shelved separately)

Language of Materials



Stella Yates Botelho, M.D. (b. 1919) is an alumnus of Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (M.D. 1949) and the University of Pennsylvania (A.B. 1940). She specialized in the field of physiology and had a distinguished career as a researcher and teacher. The papers include materials documenting both her personal life and professional career. While in medical school, Botelho contracted tuberculosis and spent nearly a year at Eagleville Sanatorium, which is discussed in her diary from this time. At the University of Pennsylvania Botelho taught courses in applied and medical physiology and she maintained an active research lab, studying respiratory physiology, neuromuscular physiology, the spinal cord, and secretion of exocrine glands. She published over 40 scientific articles in the field of physiology and was the principal investigator on numerous scientific grants. She mentored dozens of pre- and post-doctoral students. Although Botelho spent nearly her entire life in the Philadelphia area, her love of travel is well documented in the collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Stella Yates Botelho, 1990.

Related Materials

Also at Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center: An oral history of Stella Yates Botelho (1990.X.7) was conducted by Medical College of Pennsylvania archivist Janet Miller on August 9, 1990.

Publications of Stella Yates Botelho

Publications of Stella Yates Botelho may be found in the "Research" subseries. Additionally, a bibliography of "selective representative publications" is included in her 1981 resume, located in box 7, folder 5. That list is duplicated here for ease of reference:

Comroe, J. H. and S. Y. Botelho. The unreliability of cyanosis in the recognition of arterial anoxemia. Am. J. Med. Sci. 214:1, 1947.

Horvath, S.M. and S.Y. Botelho. Orthostatic hypotension following hot or cold baths. J. Appl. Physiol. 1:586, 1949.

Nims, R.G., E.H. Connor, S.Y. Botelho and J.H. Comroe. Comparison of methods for performing manual artificial respiration on apneic patients. J. Appl. Physiol. 4:486, 1951.

Botelho, S.Y., C.F. Deaterly and J.H. Comroe.· The electromyogram from the orbicularis oculi muscle in normal human subjects and in patients with myasthenia gravis. Arch. Neurol. and Psychiatr. 67:348, 1952.

Botelho, S.Y., C.F. Deaterly, S. Austen and J.H. Comroe. Evaluation of the electromyogram of patients with myasthenia gravis. Arch. Neurol. and Psychiatr. 67:441, 1952.

Botelho, S.Y. and L. Cander. Post-tetanic potentiation before and during ischemia in intact human skeletal muscle. J. Appl. Physiol. 6:221, 1953.

Botelho, S.Y., L. Cander and N. Guiti. Passive and active tension-length diagram of intact skeletal muscle in normal women of different ages. J. Appl. Physiol. 7:93, 1954.

Botelho, S.Y. Alterations in muscle tendion without similar changes in electrical activity in patients with myasthenia gravis. J. Clin. Invest. 34:1403, 1955.

Botelho, S.Y. Comparison of simultaneously recorded electrical and mechanical activity in myasthenia graviss patients and in partially curarized normal humans. Am. J. Med. 19:693, 1955.

DuBois, A.B., S.Y. Botelho, G.N. Bedell, R. Marshall and J.H. Comroe. A rapid plethysmographic method for measuring thoracic gas volume: A comparison with a nitrogen washout method for measuring functional residual capacity in normal subjects. J. Clin. Invest. 35:322, 1956.

DuBois, A.B., S.Y. Botel~o and J.H. Comroe. A new method for measuring airway resistance in man using a body plethsmography. Values in normal subjects and in patients with respiratory disease. J. Clin. Invest. 35:327, 1956.

Comroe, J.H., S.Y. Botelho and A.B. DuBois. Design of a body plethysmograph for studying cardiopulmonary physiology. J. Appl. Physiol. 14:439, 1959.

Botelho, S.Y., S.B. Beckett and E. Bendler. Mechanical and electrical responses of intact thenar muscles to indirect stimuli: Study of patients with pseudo-hypertrophic muscular dystrophy. Neurology 10:601, 1960.

Botelho, S.Y., E. Bendler and S.B. Beckett. Mechanical properties and temperature of intact skeletal muscle in patients with muscular dystrophy. Arch. Phys. Med. Rehab. 42:226 1 1961,

Steinberg, S. and S.Y. Botelho. Myotonia in a horse. Science 137:979, 1962.

Krishna, N. and S.Y. Botelho. Rhythmic changes in intraocular pressure due to periodic changes in vasomotor tone. Arch. Ophthal. 69:231, 1963.

Krishna, N. and S.Y. Botelho. Consensual intraocular pressure changes resulting from unilateral extraocular muscle contraction. J. Exper. Eye Research 2:173, 1963.

Botelho, S.Y. Tears and the lacrimal gland. Scientific American 211:78-86, 1964.

Botelho, S.Y. M. Hisada and N. Fuenmayor. Functional innervation of the lacrimal gland in cat: origin of secretomotor fibers of lacrimal nerve. Arch. Ophthalmology 76:581-588, 1966.

Botelho, S.Y., S. Steinberg, J.T. McGrath and J. Zislis. Electromography in dogs with congenital spinal cord lesions: comparison with normal adult and fetal dogs. Am. J. Vet. Res. 28:205-212, 1967.

Goldstein, A., A. de Palau and S.Y. Botelho. Inhibition and facilitation of pilocarpine-induced lacrimal flow by norepinephrine. Investig. Ophthal. 6:498-511, 1967.

Hisada, M. and S.Y. Botelho. Membrane potentials of in situ lacrimal gland in cat. Am. J. Physiol. 214:1262-1267, 1968.

Botelho, S. Y., A. Goldstein and M. Hisada. The effects of autonomic impulses and autonomic drugs on secretion by the lacrimal gland. In Exocrine Glands, ed. S.Y. Botelho, F. Brooks and W. Shelley, Univ. of Pa. Press, 1969, pp 227-239.

Fritz, M. and S.Y. Botelho. Membrane potentials in the unstimulated parotid gland of cat. Am. J. Physiol. 216:1180-1183, 1969.

Fritz, M. and S.Y. Botelho. Functional innervation of parotid gland cells in cat. Am. J. Physiol. 216:1392-1397, 1969.

Botelho, S.Y. and S. Steinberg. Mechanical responses of in vivo genetic dystrophic mouse muscle: comparison with human pseudohypertrophic muscular dystrophy. Neuropädiatrie 1:161-170, 1969.

Botelho, S.Y., A.M. Goldstein and E.V. Martinez. Norepinephrine-responsive beta-adrenergic receptors in rabbit lacrimal gland. Am. J. Physiology, 224:1119-1122, 1973.

Botelho. S.Y., A.M. Goldstein and M.L. Rosenlund. Tear Na+, K+, Cl- and Ca2+ at various flow rates: cystic fibrosis children and noncystic siblings with and without corneal staining. J. Pediatr. 83:601-606, 1973.

Botelho, S.Y. and E.V. Martinez. Electrolytes in lacrimal gland fluid and in tears at various flow rates in the rabbit. Am. T. Physiology, 225:606-609, 1973.

Botelho, S.Y,, E.V. Martinez, C. Pholpramool, H.C. van Prooyan, J. Th. Janssen and A. de Palau. Modification of stimulated lacrimal gland flow by sympathetic nerve impulses in the rabbit. Am. J. Physiol. 230:80-84, 1976.

Pholpramool, C. and S.Y. Botelho. Modification of in vivo lacrimal gland secretion by 2,4 dinitrophenol. Am. J. Physiol. 230:380-384, 1976.

Kreuger, J., N. Sokoloff and S.Y. Botelho. Sialic acid in rabbit lacrimal gland fluid. Investig. Ophthalmology. 15:479-481, 1976.

Horowitz, G., J.W. Lammers, S. Sussman and S.Y. Botelho. Calcium in tears, lacrimal gland fluid, and fluid from the other orbital glands. Investig. Opthalmology. 15: 994-996, 1976.

Botelho, S.Y., N. Fuenmayor and M. Hisada. Flow and potentials during perfusion of lacrimal gland with electrolyte solutions. Am. J. Physiology. 235(1):C8-C12, 1978.

Dartt, D. and S.Y. Botelho. Protein in Lacrimal gland fluid. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 18:1207-1209, 1979.

Dartt. D., I. Knox; A. de Palau and S.Y. Botelho. Proteins in tears and in fluids from individual orbital glands. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 19:1342-1350, 1980.

Botelho, S .Y. and D.A. Dartt. Effect of calcium antagonism or chelation on rabbit lacrimal gland secretion and membrane potentials. J. Physiology. (London) 304:397-403, 1980.

Botelho, S.Y. and N. Fuenmayor. Lacrimal gland flow and potentials during DNP, ouabain and ethacrynic acid perfusion. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Sci. 20: 515-521, 1981.

Stella Yates Botelho papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Drexel University: College of Medicine Legacy Center Repository

2900 West Queen Lane
Philadelphia PA 19129