Infantile Paralysis Campaign


This button comes from the Lew Powell Memorabilia Collection, which is a part of the North Carolina Collection Gallery. Lew has been kind enough to send us background information on some of the pins in his collection, so North Carolina Miscellany wants to share this information with our readers.

“In 1948 North Carolina suffered the nation’s worst epidemic of infantile paralysis—better known today as polio—with a reported 2,516 cases and 143 deaths. Officials in Savannah, Georgia, fearing contagion, barred Tar Heels from visiting the beach, and citizens of Newport News petitioned Virginia’s governor to close the border.

In 1959, North Carolina became the first state to require children to be inoculated with the new Salk vaccine.”

4 thoughts on “Infantile Paralysis Campaign”

  1. I think we need to point to the “Miracle of Hickory” here. From the Catawba Historical Association’s Website:

    Polio was a greatly feared, five letter word that swiftly shattered the quiet community of Hickory, in June of 1944. Within days of the Hickory Daily Record reporting the first case of polio on June 7, that one case rapidly turned into an epidemic. Charlotte Memorial Hospital was forced to shut its doors to new polio patients, and all families could do was wait for a miracle.

    Bravely, the community of Hickory and the surrounding Catawba County communities, joined together, and in an astonishing 54 hours, completed construction on the Hickory Emergency Infantile Paralysis Hospital. This outpouring of community service and the phenomenal opening of a specialized hospital in less than 3 days, led to the “The Miracle of Hickory.”

  2. Thank you Kevin for sharing the Hickory information. The people associated with that exhibit have been extremely thorough; we’ve helped them here (Wake Forest Univ. School of Medicine/NC Baptist Hospital) several times.

  3. I also found these items (which are not yet in the library’s online catalog):

    Hughes, Carol. “The Miracle of Hickory,” in Coronet, February 1945, Vol. 17, No. 4. Cp614.54 H89m

    The Miracle of Hickory. [published by The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, Inc., 120 Broadway, New York 5, NY] Cp614.54 N27m

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.