From the Archives / Immunology and Culture

Trenches to Benches

by John S. Emrich and Charles Richter
January/February 2019

“When the history of the present great war is written a notable victory over the common enemy, disease, will be recorded as one of the greatest triumphs in this greatest of all conflicts.” Thus began John A. Kolmer’s AAI president’s address in the early spring of 1918. The three factors Kolmer believed would lead to a “triumph over disease” were “prevention by sanitary measures, specific immunization and improved methods of treatment of the inevitable and unavoidable sick and injured.”

To this end many members of AAI joined the war effort when the United States entered in 1917—the third year of the war—in many different roles. Some focused on wartime research in their own laboratories. Others joined the U.S. Army Sanitary Corps or Medical Department, which coordinated research in U.S. and European labs. A few, including future AAI president Stanhope Bayne-Jones, volunteered to fight in the trenches.

Here we commemorate the ending of the war with the Armistice on November 11, 1918, one hundred years ago.

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