Several of Avery's colleagues from the 1910s and 1920s are mentioned in this song. Among these are Alphonse R. Dochez,
Edgar Stillman, Walter W. (Bill) Palmer, Donald D. Van Slyke, James M. Neill, and Michael Heidelberger.
Avery acquired the nickname "Fess" while teaching nursing students at the Hoagland Laboratory in Brooklyn between
Number of Image Pages:
2 (176,023 Bytes)
Original Repository: Tennessee State Library and Archives. Oswald T. Avery Papers
Courtesy of the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
The National Library of Medicine's Profiles in Science
program has made every effort to secure proper permissions
for posting items on the web site. In this instance, however,
it has either not been possible to identify or contact the
current copyright owner.
If you have information regarding the copyright owner,
please contact us at
After the Discovery: The Transforming Principle's Reception by the Scientific Community
'Fess Took Me for a Polysaccha-ride
"In 1917 Dochez and Avery . . ." Oh, but how the deuce can you start a boogie-woogie ballad that way . . . Well, maybe,--Dochez
rhymes with bouquet or O.K., (Tutz) and Avery with savory (hot cha!) so let's have a try.
Oh, in 1917 Dochez and Avery, rhythm section of King Cole's band, got the jitters out of New York's best-known jitterbugs,
pneumococcus, pneumococcus, pneumococcus, I, II, III, IV, SSS.
They found it in the bugs' own soup, they found it in their tea, they found it in the patients' blood, they found
it in their--wait a minute,--no! The test had failed, the tube stayed clear.
(No boogie-woogie this verse--St. Louis Blues)
Oh, but Miss Hoffman--or maybe it wasn't Miss Hoffman--had made a mistake and slipped over a vase from the wrong patient,
and when the right vase was tested, bingo! There was a precipitate that hit you in the eye--we got you that time, jitterbugs,
I in anti-I, II in anti-II, III in anti-III (hot cha! What a jam-session!!). "In 1917 Dochez and Avery!!"
Oh, headaches in the media room: soup, soup for the bugs, soup for the jitterbugs, grow 'em, grow more of 'em, mow
'em down, soak 'em, stew 'em, souse the juice, alcohol, lots of it; out comes a little grey stuff, slap it in
a vial (hot cha!)
Now we gyve up to the old seventh floor: In the southwest corner was a peaceful room where the blood-hounds stayed, at least
until the Boston boat came by in the afternoon--gosh, look, see it coming now! 'way down the river--time to go home!
And then Dominic and Mrs. Gates, bless their souls, needed a work-up, and a guy named Michael learned some biochem. helping
Ed Stillman and Bill Palmer look for sugar and worse.
Well, it was peaceful, with Van in and out, Van's apparatus going bock-a-bock-a-bock-a-bock (get that rhythm?), Jimmy
Neill's stogie smoke-screens (phew, smell 'em!) and, boy, what a tone to those tonometers, and hemoglobin, hemoglobin,
hemoglobin, by the pound!
And then, 'Fess would bring down his vial with the gray stuff and stand by this guy Michael pressing down hemoglobin crystals
by the hour, and croon: "It's the SSS, though it's still a mess, but oh, boy, it's terrific and, believe me,
it's specific!" (Hot cha!)
But the bloodhounds needed hemo and the bloodhounds needed globin, and Michael prosthetically shook his head and sadly said:
"Come again, 'Fess, when I've cleaned up this mess, and the brom cresol green turns blue."
(Let's put in another Blues, here)
Oh, the months went by and at long last the buffer state was won, the hemo-global war was done, and 'Fess brought his
vial with the gray stuff and firmly said: "Get in the groove, Michael, get on the move, let's get hep to old SSS,