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Biggs, Hermann Michael (29 September 1859–28 June 1923), pathologist, bacteriologist, physician, and public health official, was born in Trumansburg, New York, the son of Joseph Hunt Biggs and Melissa Pratt. Dr. Biggs married Frances M. Richardson, of Hornellsville, New York, in 1898; they had two children. Biggs received his primary education in Ithaca, New York, and matriculated into Cornell University, where he received the bachelor of arts degree in 1882. From Cornell Biggs went on to medical school at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, where he received his M.D. the following year. He spent the next eighteen months (1882–1883) in the postgraduate course at Bellevue, where he served as a rotating intern and resident physician. Upon completion of this course, Biggs traveled to Europe and spent the next two years (1883–1885) studying bacteriology in Berlin and Griefswald. When he returned to New York City in 1886, Biggs was made director of the newly opened Carnegie Bacteriology Laboratory of the Bellevue Hospital. His rise in academic rank was meteoric; appointed a lecturer in pathology in 1886, Biggs was made a full professor of pathology in 1889, professor of materia medica (pharmacology) in 1892, professor of therapeutics in 1898, and professor of medicine in 1912....

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Mary S. Calderone Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Calderone, Mary S. (01 July 1904–24 October 1998), physician and educator, was born Mary Steichen in New York City to Edward Steichen, a photographer, and Clara Smith Steichen. While Mary and her younger sister were growing up, living in both New York and France, their father emerged as one of the most acclaimed photographers in the world, and Mary Steichen later said that her father's ability to portray “human life and the human condition” made a deep impression on her at an early age. Her parents separated when she was ten, and Mary went to live with her father; she remained alienated from her mother for many decades, not restoring their relationship until Mary herself was in her sixties....

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Crothers, Thomas Davison (21 September 1842–12 January 1918), pioneer physician in the medical treatment of inebriety, temperance advocate, and editor, was born in West Charlton, New York, the son of Robert Crothers and Electra Smith. Members of Crothers’s family had taught surgery and medicine at Edinburgh University since the eighteenth century, and, with this influence, after attending the Fort Edward Seminary, he enrolled in Albany Medical College in 1862. With the outbreak of the Civil War Crothers signed on as a medical cadet at the Ira Harris Military College. Awarded his M.D. in 1865, Crothers continued his studies at Long Island College Hospital until he began his medical practice in West Galway, New York, in 1866. Four years later Crothers left West Galway for Albany, where, at his alma mater, he became assistant to the chair of the practice of medicine, lecturer on hygiene, and instructor in physical diagnosis. In 1875 he married Sarah Walton; the couple had no children. He also took a new position in Binghamton, New York, home of the nation’s first hospital for inebriates, the New York State Inebriate Asylum. There Crothers received his formal introduction to the medical treatment of inebriety. In 1878 he established his own private inebriate asylum in Hartford, Connecticut, the Walnut Hill Asylum (known after 1880 as the Walnut Lodge Hospital)....

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Day, Albert (06 October 1812–26 April 1894), physician, temperance advocate, legislator, and leader in the treatment of inebriety, was born in Wells, Maine, the son of Nahum Day and Persis Weeks. Little is known about Day’s family or his youth; his father died early, forcing Day to earn a living and save his studying for the evening....

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Kellogg, John Harvey (26 February 1852–14 December 1943), physician, surgeon, and health reformer, was born in rural Livingston County, Michigan, the son of John Preston Kellogg and Anne Stanley, farmers. In 1852 Kellogg’s parents accepted the religious teachings that led to the organization of the Seventh-day Adventist church in 1863. This decision had a marked influence on their son’s life. By 1856 the family had resettled in Battle Creek, Michigan. Part of the proceeds from the sale of their farm was used to relocate the infant Adventist publishing plant from Rochester, New York, to Battle Creek, where Kellogg’s father now operated a small store and broom shop....

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Poindexter, Hildrus Augustus (10 May 1901–20 April 1987), physician, microbiologist, and public health specialist, was born on a farm near Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Fred Poindexter and Luvenia Gilberta Clarke, tenant farmers. After attending the normal (teacher training) department of Swift Memorial College, a Presbyterian school for blacks in Rogersville, Tennessee (1916–1920), he entered Lincoln University (Pa.) and graduated with an A.B. cum laude in 1924. Also in 1924 he married Ruth Viola Grier, with whom he would have one child, a daughter. He attended Dartmouth Medical School for two years before earning an M.D. at Harvard University in 1929, an A.M. in bacteriology at Columbia University in 1930, a Ph.D. in bacteriology and parasitology at Columbia in 1932, and an M.P.H. from Columbia in 1937....

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Potter, Ellen Culver (05 August 1871–09 February 1958), physician, public health administrator, and welfare reformer, was born in New London, Connecticut, the daughter of Thomas Wells Potter, a grocer, and Ellen Culver. Her interest in medicine began in childhood, although as an adolescent she studied art and was interested in social work. After graduating from high school, she studied art in Boston and attended the Art Students League of New York City from 1893 to 1894. Potter worked in the settlement-house movement at the Morning Star Mission in New York City’s Chinatown in 1895–1896 and organized a settlement in Norwich, Connecticut, between 1895 and 1897. She then left to study art and music in Europe (1898–1899)....

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Rauch, John Henry (04 September 1828–24 March 1894), leader in public health and regulation of medical education and practice, was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, the son of Bernhard Rauch, a farmer and wool dyer, and Jane Brown. He obtained his education at the Lebanon Academy and in 1846 began the study of medicine with John W. Gloninger, a local physician. The following year he entered the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania. After writing a thesis on a medicinal plant, ...

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Soper, Fred Lowe (13 December 1893–09 February 1977), medical doctor and public health administrator, was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, the son of Socrates John Soper, a pharmacist, and Mary Ann Jordan, a schoolteacher. He attended the University of Kansas, earning a B.A. in 1914, and an M.S. in embryology one year later. After two years at the University of Illinois Medical School, he transferred to Rush Medical College at the University of Chicago, graduating with his M.D. in 1918. In addition, he earned a certificate in public health from Johns Hopkins University in 1923, eventually completing his doctorate in public health at that same institution in absentia two years later....

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Switzer, Mary Elizabeth (16 February 1900–16 October 1971), administrator and leader in rehabilitation, was born in Upper Newton Falls, Massachusetts, the daughter of Julius Switzer, a machinist and motorman for the Stanley Steamer Company, and Margaret Moore. Her mother died of tuberculosis in 1911, and Julius Switzer left Boston with his son, relinquishing his two daughters to the care of his wife’s family. “Uncle Mike” Moore exposed his niece to the revolutionary forces of the time, including her in his trips to the Gaelic League and to socialist rallies. Switzer entered Newton Classical High School at fourteen and won a scholarship to Radcliffe College. Elizabeth Brandeis, a Radcliffe friend who directed the District of Columbia Minimum Wage Board, led Switzer to Washington and her first job after her 1921 graduation....

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Charles W. Carey Jr.

Todd, Eli (22 July 1769–17 November 1833), physician, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Michael Todd, a wealthy merchant, and Mary Rowe. When Eli was five years old, his father went insane and died, and he was sent to live with his great-uncle in Guilford, Connecticut. He completed his secondary education under a private tutor, and in 1783 he matriculated at Yale College, where he received his A.B. four years later. In 1787 he took a trip to the West Indies, where his family had business interests; while in Trinidad, he contracted yellow fever and almost died. After a failed shipping venture cost him his inheritance, he studied medicine for two years with a New Haven physician. In 1790 he opened his own medical practice in Farmington, Connecticut....

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Winston, Ellen Black (15 August 1903–19 June 1984), public welfare administrator, was born in Bryson City, North Carolina, the daughter of Stanley Warren Black, a lawyer, and Marianna Fischer, who was trained as a schoolteacher. Ellen’s parents were leaders in the small mountain community. Her father was president of the bank and chairman of the county school board. Her mother organized a local parent-teacher association and a women’s club, and she founded the public library that bears her name....

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Wright, Louis Tompkins (22 July 1891–08 October 1952), surgeon, hospital administrator, and civil rights leader, was born in La Grange, Georgia, the son of Ceah Ketcham Wright, a physician and clergyman, and Lula Tompkins. After his father’s death in 1895, his mother married William Fletcher Penn, a physician who was the first African American to graduate from Yale University Medical School. Raised and educated in Atlanta, Wright received his elementary, secondary, and college education at Clark University in Atlanta, graduating in 1911 as valedictorian of his class. His stepfather was one of the guiding influences that led to his choice of medicine as a career....