Dr. Samuel Crumbine

Dr. Samuel J. Crumbine of Dodge City was one of the nation’s leaders in the field of public health. He became secretary of the Kansas State Board of Health in 1904 and served for approximately 20 years. His public health campaigns were directed at practices and conditions that led to the spread of communicable diseases. His campaign against houseflies urged screening windows and doors and used the slogan, “Swat the Fly.”

Other targets of his campaigns were the common drinking cup or dipper and the exposed roller towel, often used on railroad trains and in other public areas. His success in this area was illustrated by the adoption of disposable paper cups and towels. Crumbine also warned against misleading labels on food and drugs.

One of Crumbine’s best-known campaigns was associated with the slogan “Don’t Spit on the Sidewalk.” He was concerned that the habit spread disease. He was so convincing that brick manufacturers produced bricks with this slogan imprinted on them. These bricks can occasionally be found in the few brick sidewalks still remaining in the state. These activities brought Crumbine an international reputation in the field of public health.

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Inventory on Dr. Crumbine’s papers at the University of Kansas