Category Archives: Medicine

Polio quarantine, 1949

In July 1949, with a polio epidemic under way, Springfield officials ordered children under 16 years old into quarantine – confined, with few exceptions, to their own backyards. Hours later, 4-year-old Thomas Suttle died of polio. The boy was the … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Local government, Medicine, Public health | 1 Comment

First woman dentist

Jennie F. Spurrier (1847-1912) was a dentist in Springfield beginning in 1877, making her the city’s first woman dentist and one of the earliest female dentists in the U.S. From what we know of her, she also seems to have … Continue reading

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First blood transfusions

Dr. Don Deal (1879-1952) performed Sangamon County’s first blood transfusion in 1914 – apparently successfully. The patient was Mrs. Henry Harney of Middletown, who came to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield for removal of a tumor, according to the Dec. … Continue reading

Posted in Medicine, Public health | 2 Comments

Prince Sanitarium

The David Prince Sanitarium opened in 1890 as a center for general surgery and eye, ear, nose and throat treatment. By 1978, when the building was demolished, it was a shabby apartment building whose tenants were the respectable (and elderly) … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Medicine | 2 Comments

Malaria in early Sangamon County

The Sangamo Country of the early 1800s was an agricultural paradise in many ways, but it had one major drawback: the anopheles mosquito, which carried the malaria parasite. Virtually every early resident of central Illinois was exposed to malaria – … Continue reading

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Ben Victor (pharmacist, Thrifty Drugs chairman)

Benjamin “Mr. Ben” Victor (1908-88) was a Springfield pharmacist, founder and chairman of Illinois Thrifty Drugs, and philanthropist. The fall 2000 edition of Aspects magazine, published by Southern Illinois School of Medicine, gives a good synopsis of Victor’s business and … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Medicine, Prominent figures | 2 Comments

Dr. Daniel Ottis (World War I surgeon)

Dr. Daniel M. Ottis (1870-1929) was a prominent surgeon in Springfield who also was known for organizing the Sangamon County-based Unit W of the U.S. Medical Service during World War I. The Illinois State Journal summarized Ottis’ career in his … Continue reading

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Flu epidemic, 1918-20

Health officials closed churches, schools and theaters, barred street gatherings and set up a special hospital at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, but the influenza epidemic of 1918 nonetheless killed more than 500 county residents. Second and third waves of flu appeared … Continue reading

Posted in Disasters, Medicine, Military, Public health | 4 Comments

Measles vaccinations, 1966 (photo)

In February 1966, Illinois Department of Public Health officials predicted a major measles outbreak unless local agencies set up crash immunization programs. “We will have a severe epidemic with deaths and encephalitis … unless there is widespread use of the … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Illustrations, Medicine, Public health, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dr. Alonzo Kenniebrew (physician)

Dr. Alonzo Kenniebrew lived and died in Springfield, and his wife later became one of the most honored Springfieldians of her generation. His most notable achievements as a pioneering African-American physician, however, were accomplished elsewhere. Kenniebrew (1875-1943) founded the world’s … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, First Citizens, Medicine, Prominent figures, Women | 2 Comments