Monday, July 6, 2015

Arthur Parker Hitchens 1877-1949

Arthur Parker Hitchens photo in 1916, The son of William Smith Hitchens was born in Delmar in 1877.

Ethel Bennett Hitchens in 1916, his wife

From an article by Claude P Brown in 1950.

Arthur Parker Hitchens was born in Delmar, Delaware, September 14, 1877,the son of William Smith and Fannie Parker Hitchens. He attended Temple College and was graduated from the Medico-Chirurgical College, Philadelphia, in 1898. His internship was spent at Samaritan Hospital, Philadelphia. At various times he studied also at the University of Pennsylvania; at St. Mary's Hospital, London, under Sir Almroth, Wright; at Woods Hole, Massachusetts; at the Army Medical School; and in France and Switzerland.

 In 1901 Dr. Hitchens joined the staff of the biological laboratories of the H. K. Mulford Company, Glenolden, Pennsylvania. From 1905 to 1918, when he entered the Medical Corps of the United States Army, he was director of the laboratories.
He left the Army for a short time after the First World War. -During this period he was active in tuberculin research at the Hygienic Laboratories of the Public Health Service, now the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

After accepting appointment as a major in the Medical Corps in 1920, he worked with Colonels F. Charles Craig and Henry J. Nichols in Washington, teaching bacteriology at the Army Medical School. About the same time he completed the basic and advanced training course of the same school.

From 1924 to 1929 Dr. Hitchens was in the Philippines. As a member of the Army Medical Research Board he participated in a study, under Colonel J. F. Siler, of dengue fever. After the completion of that work he became a technical adviser in matters of public health to Governor General Leonard Wood. Under General Wood's direction Dr. Hitchens organized the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in the University of the Philippines. This was later supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. Under Governor General Henry L. Stimson, Dr. Hitchens introduced the teaching of public health into the schools.

While in the Philippines he aided in combating an epidemic of cholera. He also was president of the Leprosy Research Board, visiting Culion and other leprosariums.
On leaving the Philippines he traveled in Japan, China, Malay, Java, India, and Egypt.

His next assignment was to take charge of the Corps Area Laboratory at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. From there he went to Walter Reed General Hospital in 1934 and to the Army Medical School in 1935. He became a lieutenant colonel in

In 1938 he went to the University of Pennsylvania as an assistant professor of military science and tactics. By permission of the Surgeon General, he accepted in 1939 the George S. Wharton professorship of public health and preventive medicine in the university. Retirement from the Army came in 1941, but he was immediately recalled to active duty and continued in the service until 1945. In that year the Wilmington, Delaware, municipal administration invited him to become commissioner of health, in which capacity he served for three years. Upon retirement as commissioner he was appointed director of the Bureau of Laboratories of the Pennsylvania State Board of Health.

 In spite of the fact that Army life entailed frequent changes of residence,Colonel Hitchens was active in numerous scientific and professional organizations.

During his secretaryship in the Society of American Bacteriologists he successfully completed negotiations with the Williams and Wilkins Company of Baltimore for the publication of the JOuRNAL OF BACTERIOLOGY, official organ of the society. Later he was the society's vice-president and president.  Colonel Hitchens interested Williams and Wilkins in publishing D. H. Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology. After Dr. Bergey's death he became one of the three members of the editorial board supervising the later editions of the Manual.

For some years Colonel Hitchens was editor of Abstracts of Bacteriology; later he became a member of the editorial board of Biological Abstracts. In addition to his editorial duties he found time to write many scientific papers on
bacteriology, immunology, and public health.

Colonel Hitchens was a fellow of the American Public Health Association and served as a councilor. On joining this association in 1907, he became active in its Laboratory Section. For some years he was chairman of the Committee on
Co-ordination of Standard Laboratory Methods. Those who were associated with him attributed the accomplishments of his committee to his ability to get people to work together harmoniously.  Other organizations of which Colonel Hitchens was a member or a fellow were the Philadelphia College of Physicians (1908), the American Medical Association, the Philadelphia County Medical Society, the American College of Physicians, the American Association of Immunologists (a charter member), the Philadelphia Board of Health (1940-1944), the Philadelphia Council of Social Agencies, the Pennsylvania Public Health Association (of which he was at one time president), the Delaware Public Health Association (which he served as both vice-president and president), the Philadelphia Council of Defense, the Babies Hospital, and the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Tuberculosis Society.

In his work, the improvement of laboratory procedures was his constant aim. One of his many contributions was the preparation and demonstration of the use of semisolid agar (0.1 per cent) media for the growth of anaerobic bacteria.
His technical skill was highly developed. He became adept in designing and making glass syringes, pipettes, and other laboratory apparatus, among which was his syringe for inoculating animals with standard doses of antitoxins. He invented a fly trap to be inserted in windows, and also one to be placed over vessels containing fly-attracting refuse

Bacterial vaccines were undergoing rapid development about the time he became director of the Mulford laboratories. After his trip to London for study under Sir Almroth Wright, he instituted research in the bacteriology of infectious
diseases. The organisms isolated during these studies were later used in the preparation of vaccines (bacterins).

The development of antibacterial serums followed much the same pattern, i.e., antistreptococcic serum was produced by inoculating horses with streptococci isolated from scarlet fever, erysipelas, and the respiratory tract. Diphtheria,
tetanus, and BaciUus welchii antitoxins, antimeningococcal serum, and tuberculins were some of the biological products prepared under his supervision. A department for animal biologics was also developed.

His hobby, when he could steal a little time from his many activities, was the history of bacteriology and public health. His library contained numerous books on these subjects.

He married Ethel M. Bennett in 1906. They had two foster children, John and Ethel.

The Council of the Laboratory Section of the American Public Health Association nominated Colonel Hitchens for the Sedgwick Memorial Medal just before his death. One of his friends and colleagues in public health work has written me,"There will be no one to fill the unique place he occupied in our professional



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