Samuel Jay Crumbine

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Newspaper photo of Dr. Crumbine, published in 1921. Samuel Jay Crumbine newspaper photo.png
Newspaper photo of Dr. Crumbine, published in 1921.

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. [1]

Public health preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through organized efforts and informed choices of society and individuals

Public health has been defined as "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting human health through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals". Analyzing the health of a population and the threats it faces is the basis for public health. The public can be as small as a handful of people or as large as a village or an entire city; in the case of a pandemic it may encompass several continents. The concept of health takes into account physical, psychological and social well-being. As such, according to the World Health Organization, it is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Tuberculosis Infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections do not have symptoms, in which case it is known as latent tuberculosis. About 10% of latent infections progress to active disease which, if left untreated, kills about half of those affected. The classic symptoms of active TB are a chronic cough with blood-containing mucus, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. It was historically called "consumption" due to the weight loss. Infection of other organs can cause a wide range of symptoms.


Crumbine was born at Emlenton, Pennsylvania on 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 in the Union Army during the American 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 Crumbine died in Pennsylvania, in 1902, aged sixty-two years.

Emlenton, Pennsylvania Borough in Pennsylvania, United States

Emlenton is a borough in Clarion and Venango counties in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The population was 625 at the 2010 census. Of this, 617 were in Venango County, and only 8 were in Clarion County. The borough is home to the I-80 Emlenton Bridge, which spans the Allegheny River.

American Civil War Internal war in the U.S. over slavery

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North, which also included some geographically western and southern states, proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights in order to uphold slavery.

At the age of twenty-one, 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.

Wyatt Earp American gambler and frontier marshal

Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was an American Old West lawman and gambler in Cochise County, Arizona Territory, and a deputy marshal in Tombstone. He worked in a wide variety of trades throughout his life and took part in the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, during which lawmen killed three outlaw Cochise County Cowboys. He is often erroneously regarded as the central figure in the shootout, although his brother Virgil was Tombstone city marshal and deputy U.S. marshal that day and had far more experience as a sheriff, constable, marshal, and soldier in combat.

Bat Masterson American army scout, lawman, professional gambler, and journalist

Bartholemew William Barclay "Bat" Masterson was a U.S. Army scout, lawman, professional gambler, and journalist known for his exploits in the 19th-century American Old West. Born to a working-class Irish family in Quebec, Masterson moved to the Western frontier as a young man and quickly distinguished himself as a buffalo hunter, civilian scout, and Indian fighter on the Great Plains. He later earned fame as a gunfighter and sheriff in Dodge City, Kansas, during which time he was involved in several notable shootouts.

Bill Tilghman American career lawman, gunfighter, and politician in Kansas and Oklahoma during the late 19th century

William Matthew Tilghman Jr. was a career lawman, gunfighter, and politician in Kansas and Oklahoma during the late 19th century. Tilghman was a Dodge City city marshal in the early 1880s and played a role in the Kansas County Seat Wars. In 1889 he moved to Oklahoma where he acquired several properties during a series of land rushes. While serving as a Deputy U.S. Marshal in Oklahoma, he gained recognition for capturing the notorious outlaw Bill Doolin and helping to track and kill the other members of Doolin's gang, which made him famous as one of Oklahoma's "Three Guardsmen".

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.[ citation needed ] 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.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.


Dr. Crumbine had two children: Violet (March 5, 1896 – May 13, 1973) and Warren (January 29, 1892 – February 16, 1916), both of whom were born in Dodge City, Kansas. Violet had one child, Carolyn (July 17, 1930 – April 4, 2011), who never married and died New York City. Warren (January 28, 1892 – February 16, 1916) married Beulah Searle (October 30, 1891 – February 7, 1919) in Geneva,Ohio in 1915. Warren, who died of pneumonia in Shanghai at the age of 24, had one child born after his death also named Warren (August 23, 1916 – January 5, 1993). The younger Warren, an orphan from age 2, married Marian Thomas (March 25, 1916 – April 13, 1994) in 1937 and died in New Hampshire at the age of 76. They had four children: Peter (August 3, 1938- ), Dennis (July 8, 1940- ), Nancy (October 18, 1946- ), and Katie (October 23, 1951- ) As of July 2015, Dr. Crumbine had 20 direct and living descendants. [2]

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 Beatrice Jordan (August 14, 1944- ) on August 29, 1964 in Woodside, California, and they have three children. Dennis is a User Experience Architect and a singer/songwriter. Wendy (December 23, 1969- ) was born in the Philippines and is owner of Weston College Prep. David (February 14, 1975- ) was born in London and is a teacher and Assistant Principal at KIPP Academy in Houston. Bea and Peter have five grandchildren (Olivia born September 28, 1999; Phoebe; 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 (including assignments in Italy, Philippines, UK and Portugal), Navios Corporation, Citibank, and RBS Sempra Commodities (from which he retired in January, 2011). He was elected to five terms as Selectman (i.e. Deputy Mayor) of the Town of Greenwich (1999-2009). Bea, an opera singer, was educated at Mills College and New York University (Phi Beta Kappa) and is currently Ambassador-at-Large for the Town of Greenwich.

Dennis grew up in Shaker Hts., Ohio. He graduated from Shaker Hts. High School, Dartmouth College and Stanford Business School. He worked for Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio ('64-'68); Pepsi-Cola in NYC and Purchase NY ('68-78); and The Perrier Group in Greenwich ('78-'93). He was one of the founders of The Perrier Group which imported Perrier into the US and started the bottled water phenomenon in the US. Dennis and Maureen DiBuono were married on March 20, 1976 in New Rochelle, NY. They have one son, Jeffrey, born March 17, 1978 in Greenwich, Ct. He graduated from Brunswick School in Greenwich, Georgetown Univ. and Fordham business school(MBA). He is a firefighter in Greenwich, Ct. and a Real Estate agent in Greenwich. He and his wife, Elise DiVincenzo Crumbine, have one son, Hunter Dennis Crumbine, born August 1, 2013 in Manhattan.

Katherine (Katie) also grew up in Shaker and then headed out to Colorado to ski and attend the University of Denver. She graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Fine Arts and married Albert J. Galli, Jr. on August 18, 1973. After 4 years of teaching Art, along with teaching shop, music, and home arts, she took 7 years off to raise their two children, Christine (8/24/77- ) and Elizabeth (5/9/80- ). Katie taught pottery classes in the evenings during those seven years and then returned to teaching art. During her 41 years of teaching, she switched from art to math and taught math at high school and community college levels. She also enjoyed teaching English as a second language (ESL). Christine has her BS in civil engineering and an MBA. She married Travis LaBerge and they have two children, Copland (2/1/07- ) and Ravel (7/27/09- ). Elizabeth has her BS in chemical engineering and her doctorate in pharmacy. She is married to James Cundall. Elizabeth was born on the same day, with mothers in same hospital room, as a descendant of Sanford Silas Searle, the father of Beulah Searle (see above).

Nancy: To be added.



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  1. Lee, R. Alton (2007). From Snake Oil to Medicine. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN   0-275-99467-8.
  2. "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 ...
  3. "Crumbine Award". AFDO. Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. 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.
  4. "Doctor who put Kansas on map for healthcare gets statue". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  5. "Dr. Samuel J. Crumbine Statue & Pocket Park". Kansas Health Institute. Retrieved 16 July 2018.