Samuel Jay Crumbine
Samuel Jay Crumbine (September 17, 1862 - July 12, 1954) was a pioneer in public health who campaigned against the common drinking cup, the common towel, and spitting in public in order to prevent the spread of tuberculosis and other germs. Dr. Crumbine was born at Emlenton, Pa., Sept. 17, 1862, the son of Samuel D. Crumbine and Sarah (Mull) Crumbine, both natives of Pennsylvania. His mother was of German and English descent; his father, who was of German descent and a mechanic, served the Union during the Civil war as a member of the One Hundred and Third Pennsylvania infantry, being first sergeant of Company H. He was captured by the Confederates and confined in Libby prison, where he died of sickness, his death occurring prior to the birth of his son, Samuel. The mother of Dr. Crumbine died in Pennsylvania, in 1902, aged sixty-two years. At the age of twenty-one, Dr. Crumbine entered the Cincinnati College of Medicine and Surgery, where he worked his way through and graduated in 1888. Upon receiving his diploma, he moved to Kansas and engaged in the practice of his profession at Dodge City. While there, he was appointed to the State Board of Health by Gov. W. E. Stanley. Then on Sept. 1, 1911, he assumed the duties of Dean of the School of Medicine of the University of Kansas. Dr. Crumbine was married Sept. 17, 1890, his twenty-eighth birthday, to Miss Catharine Zuercher, of Cincinnati, Ohio. They had two children: Warren, born Jan. 29, 1892, and Violet, born March 5, 1896.
Life in Dodge City
Dr. Crumbine began his medical practice “in rip-roaring, untamed Dodge City during its heyday,” the late 1880s and early 1890s. Fresh from medical school in 1885, he was taken on a tour of the saloons in the unsavory South Side. “I heard peals of laughter,” he related in later days, “staccato calls of the floor manager, occasional whoops of cowboys, and constant shuffling of heavy boots. At one end of the hall was a bar, doing a rushing business. At the other, on a small platform, was an orchestra—fiddle, guitar and banjo. The women were house entertainers, servants or demimondes.”
Dr. Crumbine was the model for "Doc Adams" on the long running TV show "Gunsmoke". The legendary lawmen of Dodge City—Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Luke Short and Bill Tilghman—were his contemporaries. On one occasion, he saw Tilghman through a severe siege of pneumonia. The lawman became one of the few to live to a ripe old age.
Life after Dodge City
He moved to Topeka to become secretary of the Kansas Board of Health and eventually became nationally known for his work with the U.S. Public Health Service. He is the inventor of the flyswatter, an improvement on the earlier "flybat" produced by Frank H. Rose. In 1905, he titled one of his fly bulletins, which warned of flyborne diseases, “Swat the Fly,” after a chant he heard at a ballgame. Crumbine took an invention known as the Fly Bat — a screen attached to a yardstick — and renamed it the Fly Swatter, which became the generic term we use today. He died in New York City in 1954.
Dr. Crumbine had two children: Violet and Warren. Violet had one child, Carolyn, who never married and died April 4, 2011 in New York City. Warren, who died in China February 16, 1918 at the age of 24, had one child, also named Warren, who was born August 27, 1916 after his father had died. The younger Warren married Marian Thomas in 1937 and died January 5, 1993 at the age of 76. They had four children: Peter (wife: Bea; children: Dennis, Wendy, David), Dennis (wife: Maureen; son: Jeffrey), Nancy (sons: Jacob, Matthew), and Katie (husband: Albert Galli, daughters: Christine, Elizabeth). As of November 2013, Dr. Crumbine had 20 direct and living descendents.
Peter was raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio and educated at Dartmouth College (Phi Beta Kappa) and Stanford University (MBA and MS in Electrical Engineering). He married Bea Jordan on August 29, 1964 in Woodside, California. They have three children (Dennis born April 27, 1967; Wendy born December 23, 1969; and David born February 14, 1975) and five grandchildren (Olivia born September 28, 1999; Phoebe born August 2, 2000; Tyler born February 5, 2002; Jay born September 22, 2010; and Ziza born September 10, 2012). Peter’s business career included 18 years with Mobil Oil (mostly overseas in Italy, Philippines, UK and Portugal), Navios Corporation, Citibank, and RBS Sempra Commodities (from which he retired in January, 2011). Politically, he was Selectman (i.e. Deputy Mayor) of the Town of Greenwich for 10 years (1999-2009).
To be added: family histories for Dennis, Nancy and Katie.
- The Crumbine Award is given in his honor.
- Lee, R. Alton (2007). From Snake Oil to Medicine. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-275-99467-8.
- "S.J. Crumbine Dies.Physician Who Urged End to Public Drinking Cup.". New York Times. July 13, 1954. Retrieved 2008-12-22. "Dr. Crumbine is given credit for putting the phrase "swat the fly" into the American ..."
- "Crumbine Award". AFDO. Retrieved 2008-12-22. "The Crumbine Award is a prestigious national award given annually to local environmental health jurisdictions who demonstrate excellence and continual improvement in a comprehensive food protection program. The purpose of the award is to encourage improvement and stimulate public interest in foodservice sanitation. The award is named in honor of Dr. Crumbine for his work as a sanitarian-physician and public health pioneer who was renowned for his innovative methods of improving public health protection. The Award was established in 1954 and first awarded in 1955."
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