Pearl Kendrick

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Pearl Kendrick
Pearl Kendrick.jpg
Pearl Louella

August 24, 1890
DiedOctober 8, 1980(1980-10-08) (aged 90)
Alma materSyracuse University
Johns Hopkins University
Scientific career
FieldsBacteriology, Public Health

Pearl Louella Kendrick (August 24, 1890 – October 8, 1980) was an American bacteriologist. Kendrick is known for co-developing the first vaccine with Grace Eldering and Loney Gordon for whooping cough. She also contributed to the promotion of international vaccine standards.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Pearl Louella Kendrick was born on August 24, 1890 in Wheaton, Illinois, US. Her father was an engineer. When she was just three years old, she had developed the whooping cough at an early age.[2] She graduated from high school in 1908 and attended Greenville College for a year before transferring to Syracuse University. In 1914, she received her B.S. from Syracuse.[3] Kendrick graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1934.[1][failed verification][clarification needed]


After graduation, Kendrick was inspired to research whooping cough (pertussis) based on the statistical data of the time: the disease killed an average of 6,000 people in the United States, with the majority (95%) being children. She moved back to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and worked at the Western Michigan Branch Laboratory of the Michigan Department of Health. It was there that she met Grace Eldering. Eldering was located in Lansing and worked at the State Department of Health.[1]

Kendrick and Eldering headed the vaccine project through program development, testing, and the eventual inoculation of children with the pertussis vaccine.[4][5] The vaccine was a success. Michigan started distributing the vaccines in 1940 and deaths from whooping cough declined.[1][6] Their work contributed significantly [7] to the development of cough plate diagnostics.[8] The collaborative nature of their work within the bacteriological research community and their partnerships with the Grand Rapids public health community are recognized as an important contribution to vaccine research and public health.[9]

When the pertussis vaccine was in the primary phase of development, the American-made vaccine was very effective, while the locally-made vaccine in England seemed to have no protection effect. At that time Kendrick, along with others, was invited to be a member of Whooping Cough Immunization Committee of the Medical Research Council of Great Britain to help them with vaccine development method.

Later life and death[edit]

In 1951, Kendrick retired from the Michigan Department of Public Health. After retiring, she became a faculty member at the University of Michigan's Department of Epidemiology. She retired, from the University, in 1960. Kendrick served as president of the Michigan American Society for Microbiology. She died on October 8, 1980, in Grand Rapids.[1]


Kendrick was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 1983.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Pearl Kendrick" (PDF). Michigan Women's Historical Center & Hall of Fame. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 December 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  2. ^ Tim. "Kendrick, Pearl". Archived from the original on September 13, 2016. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  3. ^ Mason, Karen M. "Finding Aid for Pearl L. Kendrick Papers, 1888-1979". University of Michigan: Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  4. ^ Shapiro-Shapin, Carolyn G. (August 2010). "Pearl Kendrick, Grace Eldering, and the Pertussis Vaccine". Emerging Infectious Diseases. 16 (8): 1273–1278. doi:10.3201/eid1608.100288. PMC 3298325. PMID 20678322.
  5. ^ Kendrick P, Eldering G (1936). "Progress Report on Pertussis Immunization". Am J Public Health Nations Health. 26 (1): 8–12. doi:10.2105/ajph.26.1.8. PMC 1562571. PMID 18014359.
  6. ^ Pediatric Research - Childhood Vaccine Development: An Overview
  7. ^ "Pearl Kendrick, Grace Eldering, and the Pertussis Vaccine" (PDF). 16 (8). Center for Disease Control, Emerging Infectious Diseases. August 2010. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Kendrick P, Eldering G (1934). "Cough Plate Examinations for B. Pertussis". American Journal of Public Health. 24 (4): 309–18. doi:10.2105/ajph.24.4.309. PMC 1558621. PMID 18013967.
  9. ^ Shapiro-Shapin, Carolyn G. (Spring 2007). ""A Whole Community Working Together": Pearl Kendrick, Grace Eldering, and the Grand Rapids Pertussis Trials, 1932-1939". Michigan Historical Review. 33 (1): 59–85. JSTOR 20174193.