While Abraham Jacobi is the recognized father and founder of American pediatrics, it is only in recent years that his wife, Mary Putnam Jacobi, has been acclaimed as an equally important pioneer in the promotion of the health and welfare of children. Perhaps, as has been suggested earlier, she should be recognized as the mother of American pediatrics.1
ABRAHAM AND MARY JACOBI
The backgrounds of this outstanding couple differed in the extreme.2,3 Abraham Jacobi was born in a small German village, the son of an unsuccessful shopkeeper in an area in which both illiteracy and anti-Semitism flourished. On the other hand, Mary Putnam Jacobi was the daughter of a prominent New York and New England family. But both possessed one essential quality. Sir William Osler admired Mary Jacobi for what he called "heliotropic potency." In his words, "Position, wealth, reputation, are as nothing, compared with this truly solar
Kendig EL. The Study of Tuberculosis in ChildhoodThe Evolution of Pediatric Pulmonology in North America. Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(10):1075–1078. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460100053024
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