Item #11411 Photograph Album and Scrapbook Documenting a California Boy's Fight With Polio in the 1950s
Photograph Album and Scrapbook Documenting a California Boy's Fight With Polio in the 1950s
Photograph Album and Scrapbook Documenting a California Boy's Fight With Polio in the 1950s
Photograph Album and Scrapbook Documenting a California Boy's Fight With Polio in the 1950s
Photograph Album and Scrapbook Documenting a California Boy's Fight With Polio in the 1950s
Photograph Album and Scrapbook Documenting a California Boy's Fight With Polio in the 1950s
Photograph Album and Scrapbook Documenting a California Boy's Fight With Polio in the 1950s
Photograph Album and Scrapbook Documenting a California Boy's Fight With Polio in the 1950s

Photograph Album and Scrapbook Documenting a California Boy's Fight With Polio in the 1950s

Stanislaus County, California: 1951 to 1954. String tied brown faux leather photo album binding, 14 x 10", with 36 black paper leaves containing 199 black and white photographs, most captioned in the margin of the image, together with various ephemeral items and clippings laid or pasted in. A compelling vernacular photo album and scrapbook documenting the childhood of Jerry Ebie of Modesto, California, focused on his battle with polio in 1951 and 1952, largely in the polio ward of Stanislaus County Hospital. The scrapbook tells this story not only through the images and captions, but also with ephemera and clippings, which are pasted alongside relevant photos.

The album begins with a poignant series of seven photos of Jerry and another patient, Ila May Scott, the first two patients in Stanislaus County to make use of an iron lung. These are accompanied by a newspaper clipping detailing how the iron lungs, purchased through a fundraiser two years prior, saved their lives, and that "Jerry, No. 2 to need a helping hand on his breathing, is doing much better now. He is able to be free for periods of up to two hours...." Ila, meanwhile, was unable to leave the iron lung, and is shown reading a book that is affixed to the device above her head. The next 49 images, meanwhile, depict Jerry's further recovery in the hospital, including Jerry being fed by a nurse, Jerry wearing an aspirator, a series of shots of a Halloween party held in the basement of the children's ward (with a caption noting that Jerry was allowed to take part while wearing his aspirator), Jerry with his walker, nurses, an African American staff member, the hospital pool (with a device used to lower patients into the water), etc.

The next 19 images show Jerry apparently at home in late 1951 and early 1952, taking part in a party, and wearing his cub scout uniform (although still wearing his aspirator). He was unable to swallow and had to be fed through a tube, while returning to the hospital for physical therapy. Pasted into this section are handwritten lists of physical therapy instructions and formula feeding instructions, including a recipe for "tiger's milk". In April, 1952, Jerry went to San Francisco Children's Hospital for treatment, and the album commences with images taken around that city, including Jerry with other boys, Jerry with his doctor, and the building in which Jerry's mother roomed during this time, after which Jerry was able to swallow again. The remainder of the album depicts a recovered Jerry and his friends and family happily engaged in normal childhood activities, including cub scouts, family gatherings, and sightseeing trips. A warm letter from his doctor in San Francisco, and a photo of Jerry participating in a hospital ribbon cutting, are also included, as well as numerous polio related newspaper clippings. Jerry went onto a career in retail management, later settling in Walnut Creek, California. A touching photographic record of one California boy's experiences during the height of the polio pandemic. Overall about very good, with a few leaves loose, mild handling wear. Item #11411

Price: $2,000.00

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