Health 1930-1949

In spite of the Depression, health care improved during this period. The Jameson Memorial Hospital opened in 1929 replacing the old Shenango Valley. It was a more up-to-date facility. The government also made a series of documentaries on health and exercise. These films explained proper diet, posture, and the benefits of an active life. Since the beginning of child labor laws and the eight hour day, there was the worry that the population would grow lazy.

Rural women still kept house much as they did in Civil War times. There was no electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing.

They had little time to worry about the dangers of idle hands. Their gardens and farm animals still made up most of their diet. They occasionally purchased canned goods at the grocery stores. But the city and country women now had the convenience of route salesmen. There was the Raleigh Man, the Fuller Brush Man, the bread man, and scores of others selling everything from patent medicines to baking needs. These companies also provided nutritional information.

Inoculations for childhood diseases began. Every child had to be vaccinated against smallpox before starting to school.
Several years later, a vaccine was developed for whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria. More people began using hospitals. Babies were very seldom delivered at home. The Mary Evans Maternity Hospital was opened in 1943. In the late 30’s and 40’s hospitalization insurance policies became more readily available.

Medical research and science advanced during World War II. The wide use of sulfur drugs and penicillin for infections saved many lives. Blood plasma could be shipped and used everywhere — from the operating room at the Jameson Hospital to the beaches of Iwo Jima. Advances in science continued. We thought we were winning the war against disease. And we certainly had won some tough battles.