Guide to the Jonas Salk Polio Vaccine Collection UA.90.F89

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Jonas Salk Polio Vaccine Collection
Creator
University of Pittsburgh. Archives Service Center.
Creator
University of Pittsburgh. Health Science News Bureau.
Collection Number
UA.90.F89
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1953-2005
Date [inclusive]
1917-2005
Extent
1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)
Abstract
The Jonas Salk Polio Vaccine Collection consists of materials relating to the history of polio and the polio vaccine research and trials. There are three series in this collection. Series I. History and Anniversary, Series II. Newspaper clippings, Series III Photographs. Digital reproductions of some photographs are available online.

Preferred Citation

Jonas Salk Polio Vaccine Collection, 1917-2005, UA.90.F89, University Archives, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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Biography

Jonas Edward Salk was born in New York City on October 14, 1914. He attended the City College of New York and received his MD from New York University. Shortly after graduation, he began a career in medical research with an emphasis on virology and epidemiology. Prior to arriving at the University of Pittsburgh Salk spent five years at the University of Michigan where, among other positions, he conducted research on influenza and influenza vaccines.

Salk accepted a research appointment at the University of Pittsburgh medical school in 1947 and began work on the polio vaccine the following year. The Vaccine Advisory Committee of the National Foundation of Infantile Paralysis highlighted the effort of Salk’s research team in a joint 1954 conference report with the United States Public Health Service entitled “Poliomyelitis Vaccine Types 1, 2, and 3: Recommendations of Vaccine Advisory Committee of National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.” Salk began human trials in 1954 and the vaccine was declared viable for mass production in April 1955.

In the 1960s, after his work at the University of Pittsburgh, Salk founded the Salk Institute for Biological Studies located in LaJolla, California. Salk also conducted research on cancer and multiple sclerosis. He spent the remainder of his medical career working on a vaccine for HIV-AIDS and co-founding the Immune Response Corporation with Kevin Kimberlin to address the disease. Salk died in LaJolla at the age of 80 on June 23, 1995.

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History

Until the creation of the polio vaccine, poliomyelitis, or polio as it was known, was a disabling and potentially fatal illness. Jonas Salk and a team of physicians and other researchers worked toward developing a polio vaccine at the University of Pittsburgh’s Virus Research Laboratory located in the Municipal Hospital for Contagious Diseases, from 1948-1955. Research centered on the use of a “killed” virus, which Salk argued was safer, rather than a live culture of the polio vaccine that had been used by other researchers.

Crucial to the development of the vaccine was a rapid color test designed by microbiologist and Salk team member, Julius Youngner. The test measured the amount of the virus in living tissue and allowed researchers to track the effects of the vaccine on the virus. Youngner also shaped techniques used in trypsinization, the process used to grow the polio vaccine in large quantities which enabled research and testing of the vaccine on a large scale.

Support by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis aided Salk in his research. Formed in 1938, the foundation began a campaign in earnest to eradicate the disease and supported Salk’s team through the vaccine trials. After a series of human trials in 1954, which included Salk and his family, the vaccine was pronounced “safe, effective and potent,” on April 12, 1955. The popularity of the vaccine took a hit during the “Cutter Incident,” when Cutter Laboratories mixed in a live strain of the virus into the vaccine batches the lab was manufacturing. The incident resulted in cases of permanent paralysis and five deaths.

In honor of the vaccine, anniversaries of the achievement were celebrated at 10 years, 30 and 50 years post-vaccine trial success. A documentary, The Shot Felt 'Round the World, produced by Carl Kurlander and directed by Tjardus Greidanus premiered on the 55th anniversary of the vaccine.

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Scope and Content Notes

The Jonas Salk Polio Vaccine Collection consists of materials relating to the history of polio, Jonas Salk's polio vaccine research and trials, and anniversaries celebrating the Salk team's achievement. Materials originate from a variety of sources that track the development of the polio vaccine. Among these resources can be found newspaper articles dating from 1917 to 2005 regarding the issue of polio and detailing the efforts of Salk and his team. The collection also includes early reports in the fight against polio, a radio interview, and still and digital photographic images.

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Arrangement

The Jonas Salk Polio Vaccine Collection is arranged according to subject and chronological within each series.

Series I. History and Anniversaries

Series II. Newspaper clippings

Series III. Photographs

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, August 2010

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Revision Description

 Additional material has been gathered from the University Archives vertical file. September 2012

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

The University of Pittsburgh holds the property rights to the material in this collection, but the copyright may still be held by the original creator/author. Researchers are therefore advised to follow the regulations set forth in the U.S. Copyright Code when publishing, quoting, or reproducing material from this collection without the consent of the creator/author or that go beyond what is allowed by fair use.

Acquisition Information

Portions of this collection were deposited by Lisa Rossi, Associate Director, Health Science News Bureau. Additional material has been gathered from the University Archives vertical file.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Miriam Meislik and Tiffany Brand in August 2010. The collection was reorganized to incorporate additional materials added in September 2012.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of the photographs are available online as part of the University of Pittsburgh Historic Photographs collection.

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Related Materials

Related Material

Thomas Parran Papers, 1916-1962, UA.90.F14, University Archives, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

UA.Film.Video CBS See It Now-Edward R. Murrow Interviews Jonas Salk, 1953

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.
  • University of Pittsburgh. School of Medicine.
  • University of Pittsburgh. Virus Research Laboratory.

Genre(s)

  • Clippings (Information artifacts)
  • Photographs

Personal Name(s)

  • Salk, Jonas, 1914-1995

Subject(s)

  • Academic medical centers -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Health and medicine
  • Medicine -- Research -- Pennsylvania
  • Medicine -- Societies, etc.
  • Poliomyelitis vaccine -- Development
  • Poliomyelitis vaccine -- Research
  • Public health -- United States
  • Research institutes -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Universities and colleges -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • University of Pittsburgh

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Previous Citation

Jonas Salk Polio Vaccine Collection, 1917-2005, UA.90.F89, University Archives, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

Series  I. Polio Vaccine History and Anniversaries, 1917-2005 

Scope and Content Notes

Items relating to the history of polio research and the 10th and 50th anniversaries celebrating the vaccine including published papers, memorabilia, and press materials.

  BoxFolder
Polio Vaccine Timeline, 11
  Folder
Press Releases, 1952-2005 2
  Folder
Jonas Salk, "The Importance of Identifying the Polio Viruses" January 1, 1950 3
  Folder
Jonas Salk, "Studies in Human Subjects on Active Immunization Against Poliomyelitis" March 28, 1953 4

Article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reporting on the research being conducted on polio at the Virus Research Laboratory, Department of Bacteriology, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh. Co-authors included Major Byron L. Bennett, L. James Lewis, Elsie Ward, and Julius Youngner.

  Folder
"Poliomyelitis Vaccine Types 1, 2, and 3" April 25, 1954 5

Report issued by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis on the state of polio research and work of Dr. Jonas Salk.

  Folder
J. S. Youngner, "Demonstration of Neutralizing Antibodies for Poliomyelitis Viruses", September 1955 6

Original typescript written by Julius Younger discussing techniques of neutralizing antibodies for poliomyelitis viruses. Published September 1955 in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

  Folder
Kenneth S. Landauer, "Passive and Active Immunization Against Poliomyelitis: Current Status" Summer 1954 7

Published report detailing the advances made in polio research with attention paid to the work at the University of Pittsburgh. Landauer was the Assistant Medical Director at the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.

  Folder
Polio Pioneer, Card and Badge 1954 8

Three items relating to the Polio Pioneer program. Included is a membership card indicating that the bearer is a Polio Pioneer; a badge with the words Polio Pioneer, the date of 1954 and a red silhouette of a man in a lab looking through a microscope; and one letter of authenticity from a Polio Pioneer discussing her experience as one of the children receiving the vaccine at the Crossroads Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia.

Polio Pioneers were one of nearly two million first, second, and third graders from 217 test sites in 44 states who were the first to receive the Salk vaccine.

  Folder
Memo, "Blank Check" February 19, 1953 9
  Folder
Poverello Medal, December 4, 1955 10

Program and certificate awarding Jonas Salk the Povarello Medal during Founder's Day festivities at The College of Steubenville, Stuebenville, Ohio.

  Folder
Transcript, "See It Now" 1955 11

Transcript published by Simon and Schuster of Edward R. Murrow's interview with Jonas Salk on the program, "See It Now". One 16mm BW film of the program and digitized copy are available.

  Folder
Transcript, John Callaway Interviews Jonas Salk, October 29, 1981 12

Transcript from the interview with Dr. Jonas Salk on the WTTW Chicago produced show, John Callaway Interviews.

  Folder
10th Anniversary Booklet April 12, 1965 13

50th Anniversary, 2005 

  Folder
Jonas Salk Stamp 14

Photocopied enlargement of a 33 cent stamp honoring Jonas Salk created for the 50th anniversary of the polio vaccine.

  Folder
Polio Vaccine 50th Anniversary Commemoration Press Materials, 15

Compact discs containing digital images and digital press materials used in promotion of the 50th anniversary of the polio vaccine. Also included is an NPR interview dated April 12, 2005 from the Morning Edition program.

  Folder
Polio Vaccine 50th Anniversary Commemoration Press Materials, 2005 16

This file contains items including the official University of Pittsburgh/UPMC press kit for the 50th anniversary.

  Folder
Polio Vaccine 50th Anniversary Commemoration Press Materials, January 2005- April 2005 17

Bound copies of press releases and news clippings gathered to document the 50th anniversary of the polio vaccine.

  Folder
Polio Vaccine 50th Anniversary News Clippings, 2005    2.0 folders 18-19

Newspaper clippings and other news related articles from print and web resources discussing the 50th anniversary of the Polio vaccine.

  Folder
Polio Vaccine 50th Anniversary Ephemera, 1955-2005 20

Published resources discussing Polio and the vaccine including pamphlets; a chronology of the field trials; a fact sheet regarding the announcement of the vaccine on April 12, 1955; the Jonas Salk stamp; and documents discussing, "Whatever Happened to Polio?"

  Folder
"Defeat of an Enemy" 2005 21

Book published by the University of Pittsburgh to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the polio vaccine. The book includes sections providing a timeline of polio vaccine history, biographies of symposium presenters, a photo essay, stories about the fight against polio in other countries, and a montage of newspaper mastheads announcing the end of polio.

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Series  II. Newspaper Clippings, 1917-2005    30.0 folders

Scope and Content Notes

Photocopied newspaper clippings documenting the history of polio including the frustration in treating infantile paralysis, the development of the polio vaccine, testing of the polio vaccine, the 10th 25th, and 50th anniversaries of the polio vaccine, and Salk's work on the AIDS vaccine.

  BoxFolder
Newspaper clippings, 1917 21
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, ca. 1945 2
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1951 3
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1952 4
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1953 5
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1954 6
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1955 7
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1956 8
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1957 9
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1958 10
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1959 11
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1960 12
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1961 13
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1962 14
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1963 15
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1966 16
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1967 17
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1975 18
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1980 19
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1983 20
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1984 21
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1985 22
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1986 23
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1989 24
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1990 25
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1991 26
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1993 27
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 1994 28
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 2004 29
  Folder
Newspaper clippings, 2005 30

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Series  III. Polio Vaccine Photographs, 1954-1965    9.0 folders

Scope and Content Notes

  BoxFolder
Portraits, Jonas Salk, 1953-1960 31
  Folder
Jonas Salk at Airport, 1955 2
  Folder
Vaccine Team Contact Sheets, 1954 3
  Folder
Salk Soldiers, April 29, 1955 4
  Folder
Lab Photographs, 1953 5
  Folder
Inoculations, 1954-1963 6
  Folder
4x5 Negative Contact Sheets, 1953-1954 7
  Folder
4x5 Negatives, 1953-1965 8
  Folder
35mm Slides, 1954-1955 9

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