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Wilbur Augustus Sawyer (1879-1951) was a key figure in preventive medicine and international public health during the first part of the twentieth century. As a public health administrator, he helped expand public health departments and integrate laboratory science into public health work, both in the U.S. and abroad. During his long career with the Rockefeller Foundation's International Health Division (IHD), he served as director of the Rockefeller Foundation public health laboratory service, director of the Rockefeller Foundation Yellow Fever Laboratory (where he developed the first effective yellow fever vaccine), and director of the IHD from 1935 to 1944. Later, as Director of Health for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, he supervised public health work during and after World War II, and was one of the architects of the World Health Organization.
The National Library of Medicine is the repository for the Wilbur A. Sawyer Papers, which range from 1879 to 1951. The collection contains correspondence, published articles, photographs (many taken by Sawyer), and diary excerpts.
As part of its Profiles in Science project, the National Library of Medicine is digitizing and making available over the World Wide Web a selection of the Wilbur A. Sawyer Papers, for use by educators and researchers. This Web site provides access to the portions of the Wilbur A. Sawyer Papers that are now publicly available. Individuals interested in conducting research in the Wilbur A. Sawyer Papers are invited to contact the National Library of Medicine.
This online Exhibit is designed to introduce you to the various phases of Sawyer's scientific career and professional life. It is divided into sections that focus on Sawyer's life and major scientific contributions to public health. We suggest that new visitors begin with this exhibit, which includes a small selection of documents and visuals, organized within these sections. Each section begins with a "Background Narrative," which leads to "Documents" and "Visuals."
Visitors may access additional materials through Search on the navigation bar. They may also view the materials alphabetically or chronologically by choosing Browse on the navigation bar. Documents and visuals in these lists are arranged by format and then either alphabetically by title or chronologically.