Sunday 15 November 2020

sara josephine baker

Born this day in 1873, the Poughkeepsie, New York native and pioneering physician—while perhaps not a household name—contributed to literacy in hygiene, preventative medicine and the concept of public health with enduring impact matched only by Florence Nightingale. Baker, Doctor Joe as she was universally called, solely and significantly reduced infant mortality through aggressive educational campaigns and cheap and effective early interventions—remarking, not without controversy at the time that “Healthy people don’t die” and dedicated her practise to preventing people from falling ill. Not to overshadow the countless anonymous lives she saved and sent off with better future prospects, Baker also tracked down and remanded to isolation Mary Mallon—twice, and helped her colleagues accept that there could be such a condition as an asymptomatic carrier. Also petitioning fervently for the franchise, Baker was a feminist who spent a quarter of a century with her partner, Australian author Ida (“I.A.R”) Wylie, whom had more than thirty of her novels and stories adapted cinematically from the 1920s through the early 1950s (Keeper of the Flame, Four Sons, The Red Mirage). On retirement, the couple bought a ranch in New Jersey with their friend pathologist Louise Pearce, who developed a therapy to render sleeping sickness less fatal, saving millions in central and southern Africa. Read more at the WOW Report at the link up top.