In 1892 the Institute of Hygiene (soon called the Laboratory of Hygiene) opened at the University of Pennsylvania, becoming a training ground for some of the nation's pioneering bacteriologists. The Laboratory arose from a generous gift by Philadelphia philanthropist and publisher Henry Charles Lea. John S. Billings, MD, came from Johns Hopkins to help plan the Laboratory and serve as its first director. The facility played an important role in supporting the teaching mission of many disciplines at Penn. Primarily medical, but also dental, veterinary and engineering students received instruction in public health within these walls. All College freshmen attended lectures on personal and community hygiene. The demand for training in public hygiene and preventive medicine became so great that a School of Hygiene and Public Health was organized in 1909-1910, awarding the degree of doctor of public hygiene. The building also housed the state health department laboratories for many years.




Microbiologists at the Laboratory of Hygiene