Winslow, Charles‑Edward Amory


Dates:           b. 1877; at MIT 1902; AMNH and City College NY in 1910; to Yale 1915; retired 1945; d. 1957

Locations:    Assist. Health Officer, Montclair N.J. (1898); Assist. Sanitary Bacteriology and Instructor in Biology (1899‑1904); Assist. Prof. Sanitary Biology, MIT (1905‑1910); Biologist in charge of Sanitary Res. Lawrence Exp. Sta. (1903‑1910); Curator of Public Health, American Museum of Natural History (1910‑1922); Dir. Bur. of Public Health Education, NY State Health Dept. (1914‑1915); Assoc. Prof. Biology, City College of NY (1910‑1914); New York State Department of Health; Prof. and Head of the Dept. of Public Health, Yale School of Medicine (1915‑1945); Dir. John B. Pierce Laboratory of Hygiene (1832‑1947); Chairman, New Haven Housing Authority (1938‑); Science Director, International Health Div., Rockefeller Foundation (1929‑1930); Rosenberg Lecturer, Univ. of Calif. (1941)

Training:      BS MIT under Sedgwick 1898; S.M. MIT 1899; Honorary DPH from NYU 1918

Fields:          water; BACT‑NOM; public health; sanitation; hygiene; biology;

Publications: Elements of Water Bacteriology with Prescott, 1904; Elements of Industrial Microscopy (1905); Systematic Relationship of the Coccaceae with Anne R. Winslow (1908); Kinnicutt, Winslow and Pratt, Sewage Disposal (New York:  John Wiley & Sons, 1910); Healthy Living (1917); with I.J. Kligler, and W. Rotherberg, "Further Studies on the Colon‑typhoid Group of Bacteria," SAB Meeting, 1916; with J.C. Greenway and D. Greenberg, Health Survey of New Haven (1917); with B. Cohen, "The Distribution of B. coli and B. Aerogenes Types in Polluted Water, and Unpolluted Water," J. Infectious Diseases 23 (1918): 90‑101; with David Greenberg, "Effect of Putrefactive Odors upon Growth and upon Disease Resistance," Am. J. Pub. Health 8 (1918): 759‑768; Winslow, Kligler, Rothberg, "Studies on the Classification of the Colon‑Typhoid Group of Bacteria with Special Reference to the their Fermentative Reactions," J. of Bact. 4 (1919): 429;

More Pubs:  Winslow, Rothberg, and E.I. Parsons, "Notes on the Classification of the White and Orange Staphylococci," J. of Bact. 5 (1920): 145;  "The Importance of Preserving the Original Types of Newly Described Species of Bacteria," J. of Bact. 6 (1921): 133; Winslow and Grace T. Hallock The Land of Health (1922); with Pauline W. Williamson The Laws of Health and How to Teach Them (1925); with Mary L. Hahn The New Healthy Living (1929); The Road to Health (1929); Health on the Farm and the Village (1931) editor of J. of Bacteriology (1916‑1944); and Am. J. of Public Health (1944‑1954); Major, Am. Red Cross Mission (1917)

SAB Involvement:  Charter SAB Member; Member, SAB Comm. on Working Organization 1903‑; Vice Pres. 1912 and SAB President, 1913; Member of the SAB Comm. on Methods and Identification of Species 1908‑; local comm. chair 1916 SAB meeting; organizer of classification session 1916 meeting; Chair of Membership Comm. SAB 1919; Member, Connect. Valley SAB Branch 1920's; Chair of Lab. Section of APHA 1915; president of APHA in 1926; Pres. Am. Soc. of Heating and Venting Engineers; Elected Honorary Member 1940

Presidential Address: “The Characterization and Classification of Bacterial Types” Science 39:77-91 (first page only; full text requires subscription)

Archive Files: Robert S. Breed, "Charles Edward‑Amory Winslow, 1877‑1957," American Journal of Public Health 47 (1957); Ira V. Hiscock, "Charles‑Edward Amory Winslow, February 4, 1977 ‑‑ January 8, 1857," J. Bact. 73 (March 1957): 295‑296; Obit, NYT (8 Jan. 1957); John F. Fulton, "C.‑E.A. Winslow, Leader in Public Health," Science 125 (1957): 1236; Eric ‑‑ get March 1947 edition of Yale J. of Biology, which is devoted to Winslow, and his students.  It includes a bibliography of some 20 books and 600 articles that Winslow published; Yale has 159 boxes, or 69 linear feet of archives; SAB Roundtable, 1944, New York.  2‑I‑C, Fold 41; Clark, Pioneer Microbiologists of America (Madison:  Univ. of Wisc. Press, 1961): 151‑153. ANB; DAB



     Member of the Bug Club, and born of Boston blue‑blood.  In Clark's assessment, Winslow was one of the broadest of bacteriologists, ranging from "the flora of the toothbrush to sex hygiene, tuberculosis among workers, a study of an outbreak of septic sore throat, important taxonomic studies, to the effect of putrefactive odors upon growth and resistance to disease, health surveys of communities, and the costs of medical care, both in this country and for the World Health Organization." (Clark 152)

     Trained at MIT, with thesis on "Degrees of Bacterial Purification Effected by Freezing with Special Reference to the Bacillus of Typhoid Fever and the Purity of Public Ice Supplies." At MIT, he initiated a course in "Municipal Laboratory Methods" in 1904 and worked at the Sanitary Research Laboratory and the Sewage Experiment Station.  His course taught techniques for testing disinfectants, the identification of mosquitoes, the analysis of water, ice, dairy products, etc.  He married Anne Fuller Rogers, a co-worker in Sedgwick's lab.

     Early on, Winslow was like others, developing practical methods for controlling and studying bacteria.  He offered a towel and hammer method of securing anaerobes from cultures.  One wrapped the anaerobic deep‑stab agar tube in a clean towel and then smashed the tube with a hammer to make inoculations from the fragments.

     At the 1899 meeting of the SAB, Sedgwick and Winslow presented a paper on the "Experimental and Statistical Studies on the Influence of Cold upon the Bacillus of Typhoid Fever, and its Distribution," in which they downplay the importance of contaminated ice.  At the 1901 meeting, Winslow presented two papers:  "The Distribution of B. coli communis in Natural Waters," in which he discusses the problem of naturally (i.e., non‑intestinal) occurring organisms resembling B. coli, and concludes that they rarely occur in large numbers in unpolluted waters (discussed by Vaughan); and, "Color Standards for Recording the Results of the Nitrite and Indol Tests," in which he notes that even when standard methods are strictly followed, "striking variations sometimes appear."  Winslow explained, "the problem for the bacteriologist is then to select from the numerous schemes of color values, prepared for artistic purpose, that one best suited for the matching of the reaction in question." (Science v. 15 1902, 373)

     At the 1902 meeting, he presented a combined technical/water paper, "Studies on Quantitative Variations in Gas Production in the Fermentation Tube" which was discussed by Robin and Jordan.  The paper concluded that wide variations were nearly inevitable, and due to "some unknown factor."  At the 1903 meeting, Winslow and D.M. Belcher described the "Changes in the Bacterial Flora of Sewage during Storage," which was discussed by Jordan, Conn, Sternberg, Chester, Park, Welch, and McFarland.

     At the 1904 meeting, Winslow and Anne Rogers provided a "Preliminary Note on a Revision of the Coccaceae," which was discussed by Moore.  At the same meeting, Winslow described "A Method for the Direct Microscopical Enumeration of Bacteria," which was published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases with G.E. Wilcomb.  Also at the 1904 meeting, Winslow provided an "Introductory Paper on Distribution," which was discussed by Conn, Levy and Carroll.  In 1906, Rogers and Winslow returned to the "Generic Characters in the Coccaceae," which was discussed by Welch, Carroll, Hiss, Park, and Gorham.

     At the 1908 meeting, Winslow and L.T. Walker reported on "A Case of the Non‑Inheritance of Fluctuating Variations among the Bacteria."  Their study was of the non‑induced, naturally fluctuating variations of the paratyphoid group, without selective action.  They found that the new descendents reverted completely to the original types, "showing no inherited effect of the variations exhibited by their more immediate ancestors." (1013) 

     At the 1909 meeting of the SAB in Boston, Winslow and G.T. Palmer reported "A Comparative Study of Intestinal Streptococci from the Horse, Cow and Man," involving over 100 strains from faeces of each of the three hosts.  The report discussed by Bergey, Ford, W. Smith, Kinyoun, and Esten and was published in J. of Infect. Dis. 7 (1910?): 1.

     A the 1910 Ithaca meeting, Winslow announced the establishment of "A Bacteriological Museum and Bureau of Exchange of Bacterial Cultures at the American Museum of Natural History.” He delivered almost exactly the same presentation at the 1912 SAB meeting, entitled "Bacteriological Collection and Bureau for the Distribution of Bacterial Cultures at the American Museum of Natural History.  Winslow reported that cultures were quickly received from 45 laboratories from all over the country and the Collection made arrangements with Kraus at the Kral Collection.  On Dec. 1, 1912, the collection included 578 strains representing 374 different named types.  During that same year, the lab distributed 1,700 cultures to 122 different colleges and research laboratories.  "The most important service the laboratory has been able to render, however, has been in furnishing authentic cultures to investigators who have been making a study of certain special groups, and the published papers which have resulted, in which various detailed characters of the museum types are described, of course greatly increase the value of the collection." (from Science v.38, 12 Sept. 1913, p. 375)

     Winlsow organized a session at the 1911 meeting of the SAB on "Systematic Bacteriology," the first full program on the topic.  Winslow presented a discussion on "The Classification of the Streptococci by their Action upon Carbohydrate Media."  At the 1915 meeting, Winslow and Kligler delivered their committee report on "Studies on the Classification of the Colon‑Typhoid Group."  

     Winlsow's presidential address before the 1913 meeting was on "The Characterization and Classification of Bacterial Types."  This address was an odd contrast to his paper in the section on "Sanitary Bacteriology," entitled "Notes on the Bacteriology of Air and Its Sanitary Significance," which seems out of date.

     At the 1916 meeting, Winlsow, Kligler, and Rothberg delivered a paper on the "Classification of the Colon‑Typhoid Group."  At the 1917 meeting, Winslow and Cohen discussed the "Distribution and Relative Viability of B. Coli and B. Aerogenes in Water." 

     Winslow and his wife wrote a monograph on the micrococci and staphylococci, and studied the effect of mineral salts on the viability of bacteria.  He soon added interests in industrial hygiene, vital statistics; and ice storage purification.  He was also one of the first to study the effect of pH on bacterial viability.  Winslow conducted early studies of the bacterial cell, and noticed dissociation (without reporting on its significance).  He was also one of the first to use the electrophoresis apparatus for studying bacteria in 1923 and 1924. 

     With regard to the overlap between sanitary science and bacteriology, Winslow studied the bacterial content of city and country dust.  At the 1914 meeting of the SAB, Winslow organized a joint session with section K of the AAAS on ventilation.  He presented "Standards of Ventilation in the Light of Recent Research," which summarized some of the conclusions of the New York State Commission on Ventilation, and advocated more attention to the matter.  There was no bacteriological component in his paper. 

     At the 1919 meeting, Falk and Winslow discussed "The Curve of Viability of Bacteriology in Water," and presented a theoretical "Contribution to the Mechanism of Disinfection."  At the 1921 SAB meeting, Winslow and Hotchkiss reported on the "Effect of Mineral Salts on the Growth of Bacteria."  They found that all but ammonium chloride stimulated growth in high concentrations, and inhibited it in low dilutions.  At the same 1921 meeting, Winslow and Holland delivered a paper on "The Effect of Potassium and Magnesium Salts upon Bacterial Viability," within a sub-session on physical chemistry.  In some small way, this work was related to the electrical resistance of bacterial suspensions.

     At the 1923 SAB meeting, Winslow and Shaughnessy reported their own studies of "The Migration of Bacteria in the Electrical Field."  This phenomenon drew considerable attention from Northrup and De Kruif, who demonstrated the variable effects of pH concentration.  At the 1924 SAB meeting, Winslow, Shaughnessey, Fleeson and Upton reported their "Further Studies on Cataphoresis," or the movements of bacterial cells in an electrical field.  Their results generally confirmed and extended those of Northrop and DeKruif.

     Hiscock mentions, however, that Winslow claimed:  "microbiology is not a technical tool for the doctor, the agriculturalist or the engineer.  It is a basic biological science and it may well be claimed it has rendered greater service to mankind than any other science of this class.  This service has been made possible because it is a basic science."  BIOLOGY?

     Winslow founded the Yale Dept. of Public Health in 1915.  He offered a programmatic vision of the field of Public Health:  "Public Health is the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting physical and mental health and efficiency through organized community efforts for the sanitation of the environment, the control of community infections, the education of the individual in principles of personal hygiene, the organization of medical and nursing service for the early diagnosis and preventive treatment of disease, and the development of the social machinery which will ensure to every individual in the community a standard of living adequate for maintenance of health..." (Ira Hiscock quoting, in Am J. Pub. H. v. 47). 

     Interestingly, his later career was occupied by attention to the broader aspects of public health, such as housing.  He was Chair of the Comm. on the Hygiene of Housing for the APHA in 1937.  As the chair of the New Haven Housing Authority, he helped construct some 2,500 apartments.  Winslow was also secretary and chair of the Sec. on Occupational Health of the APHA.  Winslow was also the pre‑eminent salesman of health education, not only with his own publications, but as the chief of public education under Biggs.  Winslow was vice chairman of the Comm. on the Cost of Medical Care, and involved in Mental Health Movement.  Winslow was also chiefly responsible for public health nursing as a profession.  Winslow taught the industrial hygiene courses at Yale.