"I began to realize, as I never had before, how much the health of each of us depends on the health of all of us."
Frontier physician, public health visionary and child health advocate, Samuel J. Crumbine was a man of tremendous curiosity whose understanding of human behavior and science bettered lives across the globe.
At a time when the public did not fully grasp the role of germs in the spread of disease, Crumbine believed educating the public was essential in combating tuberculosis and other illnesses common at the time.
Crumbine championed efforts to ban the common drinking cup and roller towel in public places, end spitting on the sidewalk, and control flies by using screens and a new invention-the flyswatter. He also developed methods to ship seafood from the coasts to be safely enjoyed in Kansas. Ahead of his time, Crumbine brought attention to social conditions that often led to poor health, especially among children.
Crumbine's years of practice in Dodge City (1885-1904) inspired the "Doc Adams" character in the television series Gunsmoke
. His time as a member and secretary of the state Board of Health (1899-1923) earned Kansas worldwide recognition as a leader in public health. He also served as dean of the University of Kansas School of Medicine (1911-1917). Crumbine
left Kansas to follow Herbert Hoover as executive director of the American Child Health Association in New York in 1923, and retired in 1936.
Crumbine and his wife of 63 years, Katherine, had a daughter, Violet, who lived near them in New York. Their son, Warren, was lost as a young man to the flu epidemic while in Asia. Following the death of their daughter-in-law shortly thereafter, they raised their grandson, Warren Jr. The Crumbines died four months apart in 1954.