About this Collection

Wilbur Augustus Sawyer (1879-1951) was a key figure in preventive medicine and international public health during the first part of the twentieth century. As a public health administrator, he helped expand public health departments and integrate laboratory science into public health work, both in the U.S. and abroad. During his long career with the Rockefeller Foundation's International Health Division (IHD), he served as director of the Rockefeller Foundation public health laboratory service, director of the Rockefeller Foundation Yellow Fever Laboratory (where he developed the first effective yellow fever vaccine), and director of the IHD from 1935 to 1944. Later, as Director of Health for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, he supervised public health work during and after World War II, and was one of the architects of the World Health Organization.

The National Library of Medicine is the repository for the Wilbur A. Sawyer Papers, which range from 1879 to 1951. The collection contains correspondence, published articles, photographs (many taken by Sawyer), and diary excerpts.

As part of its Profiles in Science project, the National Library of Medicine has made available online a digitized selection of the Wilbur A. Sawyer Papers. This website provides access to the portions of the Wilbur A. Sawyer Papers that are now publicly available. Individuals interested in conducting research using the full collection of Wilbur A. Sawyer Papers should contact the National Library of Medicine.

This Profile is designed to introduce you to the various phases of Sawyer's scientific career and professional life. Narrative sections available from the navigation bar under "The Story" focus on Sawyer's life and major scientific contributions to public health.

Researchers can search the digitized items using the Search box or browse all Documents and Visuals in the collection by selecting "Collection Items" from the navigation bar.