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Authors / Biography

David Oshinsky

Title Author and Historian
Organization University of Texas at Austin

David Oshinsky is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Polio: An American Story, and the Jack S. Blanton chair in history at the University of Texas at Austin.

Posts By David Oshinsky


The Birth of Polio Eradication: The Salk Vaccine Turns 57

On April 12, 1955, scientists and reporters gathered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a momentous event. Millions of Americans huddled around radios and televisions that day to learn whether the world’s first polio vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk at the University of Pittsburgh, could prevent a devastating disease that killed and paralyzed thousands upon thousands of people, mainly children.

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Finishing the Work of Past Polio Giants

Today, few Americans remember when fear of polio gripped our country. Throughout the 1940s and 50s, summertime was marked not by children’s laughter, but by shuttered swimming pools and silent movie theatres. Polio could paralyze a child for life, and it seemed to target victims indiscriminately.

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