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Flick, Lawrence Francis (10 August 1856–07 July 1938), physician, historian, and early leader in the campaign against tuberculosis, was born in Carroll Township, Cambria County, Pennsylvania, the son of John Flick, a mill owner and farmer, and Elizabeth Schabacher (changed to Sharbaugh). Flick grew up on the family farm, but poor health excused him from the usual chores. A bookish boy and a devout Roman Catholic, he first attended local schools. For most of his teenage years, he studied at St. Vincent’s, a Benedictine college in Beatty (now Latrobe), Pennsylvania, but symptoms suggesting tuberculosis cut short his classwork, and he returned home. After a period of indecision and various jobs, he entered Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and graduated in 1879. He then completed an internship at Philadelphia Hospital and opened an office for the practice of medicine. His persisting illness, however, was finally diagnosed as tuberculosis and, following his physicians’ advice, he traveled to the West for his health. By 1883, improvement allowed him to resume his practice, which soon included increasing numbers of patients with tuberculosis. “When I recovered from tuberculosis as a young man,” he wrote, “I consecrated my life to the welfare of those afflicted with the disease and to the protection of those who had not yet contracted it” ( ...

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Hoffman, Frederick Ludwig (02 May 1865–23 February 1946), statistician and public health author, was born in the town of Varel, in the former Duchy of Oldenburg (near the North Sea, not far from the port city of Bremen), in present-day northwestern Germany, the son of Augustus Franciscus Hoffman, an accountant, and Antoinette Marie Elise von Laar. In 1876 Hoffman’s father died. A few years later, at age fifteen, Hoffman left school to become an apprentice in a mercantile business because there were not sufficient funds to provide for his university education. The work did not suit him; after six months, he left. After working at several other unsatisfactory jobs, he decided to emigrate to the United States. He arrived at New York City on 28 November 1884, and he became a U.S. citizen on 25 October 1893....

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Koplik, Henry (28 October 1858–30 April 1927), pediatrician, educator, and microbiologist, was born in New York City, the son of Abraham S. Koplik and Rosalie K. Prager. Koplik received his undergraduate education at the City College of New York, where he obtained his bachelor of arts degree in 1878. In 1881 Koplik completed his medical school studies at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in the City of New York. The following year, 1882, he served his internship at the Bellevue Hospital of New York City....

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Law, James (13 February 1838–10 May 1921), veterinarian, educator, and public health advocate, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of John Law and Grace Turner, farmers. In 1857 he graduated from the Veterinary College in Edinburgh and then continued scientific study at the medical school of Edinburgh University and at veterinary schools in France at Alfort (near Paris) and Lyons. Returning to Scotland, he became a protégé of John Gamgee, a cosmopolitan English veterinarian who promoted the view that epizootics (diseases affecting many animals) were caused by minute organisms, not noxious fumes, changes in the weather, or poor ventilation. By siding with the controversial Gamgee, Law abandoned the anticontagionist views held by British veterinarians in general and by his Edinburgh teacher, William Dick. In 1860 Law joined the faculty of Gamgee’s New Veterinary College in Edinburgh and taught anatomy and materia medica. In so doing he joined the minority of veterinary educators who sought to improve veterinary education by placing it in a scientific framework. Although he had been certified as a veterinary surgeon by the Highland and Agricultural Society in 1857, he also took and passed the examination of the rival Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (London) in 1861, thereby becoming a member and in 1877, rising to fellow. In 1863 he married Eliza Crighton in Edinburgh; they had three daughters and one son. When Gamgee reestablished the New Veterinary College in London in 1865 as the Royal Albert Veterinary College, Law moved with him. However, the Royal Albert failed to compete for students with the Royal Veterinary College, and Law left to practice in Ireland....

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Pennington, Mary Engle (08 October 1872–27 December 1952), food-processing chemist, was born in Nashville, Tennessee, the daughter of Henry Pennington and Sarah B. Molony. Soon after her birth the family moved to West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where her father set up a label-making business. Mary enjoyed gardening, which was a hobby of her father, and at the age of twelve she became interested in medical chemistry after reading a library book about it. Her parents were surprised but supportive. In 1890 she entered the Towne Scientific School of the University of Pennsylvania as a special student (because she was a woman). The school gave her a certificate of proficiency in 1892, when she completed the work for a B.S., but they refused her the degree, which was only offered to men. Under a university rule for “extraordinary cases,” Pennington was allowed to continue studying at the University of Pennsylvania for a Ph.D. in chemistry, which she received in 1895. She held a fellowship there in chemical botany for two years and then a fellowship in physiological chemistry at Yale University for another year....

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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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Rosen, George (23 June 1910–27 July 1977), medical historian and public health educator, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Morris Rosen, a garment worker, and Rose Handleman. Rosen’s parents were immigrant Jews who spoke Yiddish at home, and it was not until he entered the New York City public schools that Rosen learned English. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1926, and the College of the City of New York in 1930. A victim of the policy that restricted enrollment of Jewish students at American medical schools, Rosen then undertook medical studies at the University of Berlin where he joined several dozen young Americans (all Jews except one African American) who had been denied a high quality medical education at home. Rosen witnessed the Nazi seizure of power and lived in Nazi Germany while completing his medical education. In Berlin, Rosen met Beate Caspari, a German-Jewish medical student, whom he married in 1933; they had two children....

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Shattuck, Lemuel (15 October 1793–17 January 1859), statistician and public health pioneer, was born in Ashby, Massachusetts, the son of John Shattuck and Betsey Miles, farmers. In 1794 the family moved to rural New Ipswich township, in southern New Hampshire, where Shattuck lived until 1816. As a boy, his studies at the local common school averaged in length only five or six weeks a year, and he attended Appleton Academy but two quarters. However, between farm labors he managed to read widely on his own....

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Squibb, Edward Robinson (04 July 1819–25 October 1900), physician, chemist, and manufacturing pharmacist, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the son of James Robinson Squibb (occupation unknown) and Catherine Bonsall. After Squibb’s mother died in 1831, the family moved to Philadelphia. In 1837 Edward became a pharmacist’s apprentice. Five years later he entered Jefferson Medical College; he received his M.D. degree in 1845....

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Sutton, William Loftus (21 May 1797–20 July 1862), physician and statistician, was born near Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky, the son of John Sutton, Jr., and Mary Coleman, farmers. After completing classical studies at Bourbon Academy in Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky, he began his medical apprenticeship in 1815 under ...

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Sydenstricker, Edgar (15 July 1881–19 March 1936), public health statistician, was born in Shanghai, China, the son of Absalom Sydenstricker and Caroline Stulting, Presbyterian missionaries; the author Pearl S. Buck was his sister. After receiving his secondary education at home, he came to the United States in 1896 and matriculated at Fredericksburg College in Virginia, where he received his A.B. in 1900. He then enrolled in Washington and Lee University, where he studied economics and sociology, receiving his M.A. in 1902....

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Harvey Washington Wiley Photograph by E. S. Wertz, 1898. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-89924).

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Wiley, Harvey Washington (18 October 1844–30 June 1930), chemist and pure food crusader, was born in Jefferson County, Indiana, the son of Preston Pritchard, a farmer, Campbellite lay preacher, and schoolmaster, and Lucinda Weir Maxwell. Harvey’s attendance at Hanover College (1863–1867), from which he received the B.A. degree, was interrupted by service as a hundred-day volunteer (May–Sept. 1864) with the 137th Indiana Regiment in Tennessee. After a year of teaching and a summer’s apprenticeship with a Kentucky physician (1868), Wiley attended Indiana Medical College (1869–1871), where he ultimately earned his M.D., simultaneously teaching at Northwestern Christian University (later Butler University) and the Indianapolis high school. He then taught chemistry at both his medical school and Butler. During 1872–1873 Wiley spent some months at the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard University, adding a B.S. to his M.D. Wiley was appointed the first professor of chemistry at the newly opened Purdue University, from 1874 to 1883, and state chemist (1881). In 1878 Wiley observed at German universities and studied food chemistry at the German Imperial Health Office. Back at Purdue, his research in the chemistry of sugars and the adulteration of cane syrup led to his appointment as chief chemist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1883....

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Winslow, Charles-Edward Amory (04 February 1877–08 January 1957), biologist and public health pioneer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Erving Winslow, a merchant and publicist, and Catherine Mary Reingolds, an English actress. Hoping to pursue a career in medicine, Winslow began his undergraduate work in biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1894. There he studied under ...

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Wolman, Abel (10 June 1892–22 February 1989), sanitary engineer, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Morris Wolman, a clothing manufacturer, and Rose Wachsman. He was raised in East Baltimore and attended public schools there. He then entered Johns Hopkins University, where he enjoyed debating, took the premedical course, and received his B.A. in 1913. While an undergraduate, in 1912 he collected water samples for the U.S. Public Health Service in the first thorough pollution survey of the metropolitan Potomac River. An older brother was a doctor, and the parents considered one doctor in the family enough, so they persuaded Wolman to take advantage of scholarship funds and enter the new engineering school at Johns Hopkins. As one of four students in the first graduating class, he received the degree of bachelor of science and engineering in 1915. While at the engineering school, he directed the construction of a sewage disposal plant at Springfield, Maryland....