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CHAPTER

18

The Case of the March of Dimes Lessons in a Lobby

T

H E L O B B Y of the national headquarters of the March of

Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, in White Plains, New York, is a quiet, pleasant, and nondescript place, unless you happen to wander around a corner behind the staircase and notice a display along the wall. There behind the glass case are relics from another time: newspapers and packages that tell a story that is as chilling as it is inspiring. The front pages of the New York Times and the Journal American, now yellowed with age, scream out with double-sized headlines proclaiming that a vaccine has been found to be effective against a deadly epidemic called polio. Packages of the Salk vaccine, wrapped in brown paper with “RUSH” imprinted everywhere, lie next to the papers. And if you turn around, there is an iron lung, once used in a desperate effort to keep victims alive until that vaccine could be found, and then, until it could reach them. It is hard today to imagine the terror that seized the United States during the polio epidemic. Victor Cohn, in Four Million Dimes, describes the summer of 1916: “Panic froze the East, particularly New 305

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Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

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