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Frederick F. Russell

Frederick F. Russell
Born 17 August 1870
Auburn, New York
Died December 29, 1960
Nationality United States
Fields medicine
Alma mater Columbia University
Known for typhoid vaccine in 1909

Brigadier General Frederick Fuller Russell (1870, Auburn, New York, USA-December 29, 1960) was a U.S. Army physician who developed an American typhoid vaccine in 1909. In 1911, the typhoid vaccination program was the first in which an entire army was immunized. It eliminated typhoid as a significant cause of morbidity and mortality among U.S. military personnel.


After graduating from Cornell University in 1891, Russell received his Doctor of Medicine from Columbia University in 1893 and his Doctor of Science from George Washington University in 1917. In 1898 he was commissioned as first lieutenant in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army.

It was during his time as a Medical Corps officer that he began his research into the inoculation of soldiers against typhoid. In 1908 Surgeon General O'Reilly sent Russell to England to observe the work of Sir Almorth Wright, Professor at the Royal Army Medical College, who had been experimenting with a method of prophylaxis with killed culture of typhoid organisms to immunize against the disease. Upon Russell's return he submitted a report on Wright's research, which O'Reilly considered as "a very valuable treatise on the epidemiology of this disease."

As a result of the report Russell was assigned the duty of implementing an immunization program within the U.S. Army. In 1910 he inoculated his first group of volunteers and by 1911 vaccination became compulsory. From a morbidity of 173 cases in 1910, Russell was able to reduce the total to nine cases in 1912 with only one death.

During his career he served as curator of the Army Medical Museum, instructor in the Army Medical School, and professor of pathology and bacteriology at George Washington University. In addition, he served on various investigating boards, one of which he was able to advise and offer technical counsel to Major Carl Darnall in the development of a water filter for field use and the first water chlorinator using gaseous chlorine.

After his resignation from the Army in 1921, Russell returned to the rolls as a reserve officer and in November 1920 was appointed Brigadier General of the Medical Officers Reserve Corps. Following his military career he served as the director of the International Health Board of the Rockefeller Foundation. As director, Russell continued his research into public health focusing on diseases such as yellow fever. He spent the final years (1936-39) of his career in medical science and administration as professor of epidemiology and preventive medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health.


  • WHAYNE, T F (July 1962). "Memoir of Frederick Fuller RUSSELL (1870-1960)". Transactions & studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia 30: 43–4. PMID 14038046.  
  • KINSMAN, J M (1961). "Frederick Fuller RUSSELL, 1870-1960". Trans. Assoc. Am. Physicians 74: 44–6. PMID 14037085.  

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