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Theobald Smith

AKA Theobald Schmidt

Born: 31-Jul-1859
Birthplace: Albany, NY
Died: 10-Dec-1934
Location of death: New York City
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Cremated, Chocorua Cemetery, Tamworth, NH

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Infectious and parasitic diseases

American bacteriologist Theobald Smith showed that bacteria killed by heat could still confer immunity, and mixed diphtheria toxin with antitoxin to immunize animals against diphtheria, leading to a diphtheria immunization for children. He discovered Babesia bigemina, the tick-borne parasite that causes Texas cattle fever, which was the first proof that disease could be carried by insects, a finding which opened new avenues of research leading to breakthroughs against malaria, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, typhus fever, yellow fever, and dozens of other diseases. Among his other significant work, he established that human and bovine tuberculosis are two different diseases, improved laboratory production of vaccines, and discovered anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction) and serum sickness (a reaction to animal antiserums).

Father: Philip Schmidt (tailor)
Mother: Theresa Kexel Schmidt
Wife: Lilian Egleston Schmidt (dated 1886-88, m. 1888, d. 1940)
Daughter: Lilian Hilyer Smith Foerster
Son: Philip Schmidt

    High School: Albany High School, Albany, NY
    University: BA Philosophy, Cornell University (1881)
    Medical School: MD, Albany Medical College (1883)
    Scholar: Johns Hopkins University
    Teacher: George Washington University
    Professor: Comparative Pathology, Harvard University (1896-1915)
    Administrator: Director of Animal Pathology, Rockefeller University (1915-29)

    Copley Medal 1934
    US Agriculture Department Director of Pathology, Bureau of Animal Industry (1884-95)
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Society for Microbiology (President, 1903)
    National Academy of Sciences
    Society of American Bacteriologists
    Phi Beta Kappa Society
    Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
    Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society
    German Ancestry

Author of books:
Special Report on the Cause and Prevention of Swine Plague (1891)
Investigations into the Nature, Causation, and Prevention of Texas or Southern Cattle Fever (1893)
Investigations concerning Infectious Diseases among Poultry (1895)
Studies in Vaccinal Immunity towards Disease of the Bovine Placenta due to Bacillus Abortus (Infectious Abortion) (1923, with Ralph B. Little)
Parasitism and Disease (1934)


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