Public health pioneer Alice Hamilton documented dire health conditions in post-World War I Germany

In 1919, renowned industrial toxicologist Alice Hamilton—who became Harvard’s first female professor that same year—toured post-World War I Germany with her friend, the social reformer Jane Addams. There, she saw mass starvation and disease as the country struggled to recover from the war and an ongoing British blockade. An August 29, 2019 New York Times article describes the report that Hamilton and Addams wrote of their trip, which they hoped would shift American public opinion towards providing humanitarian aid to Germany. Although the report received criticism at the time, it is now seen as foreshadowing the social conditions that would lead to the rise of fascism under Adolf Hitler.

At Harvard, Hamilton was appointed assistant professor of industrial medicine at the Medical School. In the 1920s, industrial medicine became a part of the newly separated School of Public Health. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health presents an award to a female faculty member each year in her name.

Read the New York Times article: The Remarkable Life of the First Woman on the Harvard Faculty

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