(1877 - 1967)
Young Bela Schick quoted the Talmud: "The world is
kept alive by the breath of children," to help persuade his father to
allow him to pursue continued education in pediatrics, rather than to join
the family grain merchant business in Graz, Austria. Schick became
assistant at the Children's Clinic in Vienna, and later associate professor
of pediatrics at Vienna University.
He emigrated to the United States, and in 1923 became
pediatrician-in-chief at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital. He later (1936)
was appointed clinical professor of pediatrics at Columbia University.
Schick made important studies on scarlet fever, tuberculosis, and the
nutrition for infants ... but gained international renown for the Schick
Test. This test determined susceptibility to diphtheria, and eventually led
to the eradication of the childhood disease that attacked 100,000 Americans
in 1927, leading to about 10,000 deaths.
A massive five-year campaign, coordinated by Dr. Schick, virtually
eliminated the dreaded disease that had taken countless young lives since
it was first mentioned in the sixth century writings of Aetius. As a part
of the campaign, 85 million pieces of literature were distributed by
Metropolitan Life Co. with an appeal to parents to "Save your child
from diphtheria." These illustrated brochures (reproduced here) were
created by a talented young artist who had recently emigrated from Germany
- Gerta Ries. Remarkably, this same Gerta Ries (Wiener) was commissioned
over 75 years later to create the sculptured tribute to Dr. Béla Schick
for the Jewish-American Hall of Fame.
Sources: Jewish-American Hall of Fame - Jewish Museum in Cyberspace