Monday, January 14, 2013


I'm not sure whether the husband and I have a version of the 'flu , a particularly virulent common cold or, in my case especially, pertussis aka whooping cough. Maybe we're passing viruses back and forth, mixing and matching 'em, mutating as they go, producing an uncomfortable combination of all three possibilities.

I didn't have whooping cough as a child, husband did, as well as receiving the whooping cough vaccine - which I didn't. Whatever this is, it's not much fun, especially during the night! I've developed bouts of paroxysmal coughing, leading to retching, gasping, etc. and more or less complete loss of voice after the first half hour of a morning. We've resisted going to the doctor's office, so far, because we'd only infect others, and/or pick up additional infections there ourselves.

Anyway, in the course of looking around online for possible helpful home remedies I kept noticing the names of two women: Pearl Kendrick (left of the two photos) and Grace Eldering. They researched and pioneered the whooping cough vaccine which has, over the decades saved many thousands of young lives. Whooping cough tended to mainly infect, severely affect, and sometimes kill, very young children, who were unable survive its constant bouts of brutal coughing. So, to keep my mind off the next world-class coughing bout I did a wee bit of research on the lives of these two sterling ladies.

Pearl Kendrick was born on 24 August 1890 in Wheaton Illinois, daughter of a Methodist pastor. After university she began teaching, but during World War 1 when women had the opportunity to take positions which would, in normal times, have been filled by men, she took a job in research into microbiology and bacteriology. She would eventually become the initiator of further research resulting in a valuable, life-saving vaccine. Her research partner was Grace Eldering, 10 years her junior, daughter of a Scottish immigrant mother, father's family roots in the Netherlands. Grace grew up in Montana, had to leave university due to financial problems and took up teaching. In 1932 Grace joined Pearl at a laboratory in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she was heading a research team.

Both women had suffered from whooping cough when young, knew its dangers first-hand. At its height, whooping cough claimed over 6,000 lives each year in the United States, and was responsible for the deaths of more infants than polio, measles, tuberculosis, and all other childhood diseases combined. The ladies and their team developed standardised diagnostic tools; modified and improved existing vaccines; conducted the first successful, large-scale, controlled clinical trial of the pertussis vaccine; and participated in international efforts to standardize and disseminate it.

For more detail there's an interesting read at pdf containing excerpts from Bold Women of Michigan by Virginia Law Burns.

I can't find birth data for Grace Eldering, but can construct a natal chart for
Pearl Kendrick from information at Wikipedia - set for 12 noon as time of birth isn't known.

Sun (self) conjunct Saturn (science) in Virgo, and Mercury (mental orientation)also in Virgo (service & meticulousness)- an excellent start!

Jupiter (expansion) in inventive avant garde Aquarius lay in harmonious trine to Neptune/Pluto in Gemini. I'm no longer surprised how often this period of Pluto and or Neptune in Gemini brings forth such brilliant characters, in all fields - when the outer planets are closely linked to personal planets. Here the two trined Air signs reflect gravitation to mentally-based work and research.

Moon in the travel sign, Sagittarius (whatever her time of birth) along with Mars reflects dedication to the expansion and availability, in needy counties outside of the USA, of the valuable fruits of her team's labours.

One more factor: a loose Yod (Finger of Fate) linking Mercury to Chiron (the Wounded Healer) by sextile; then two 150* quincunx aspects link both Mercury and Chiron to Jupiter in Aquarius at the apex. This is a nice "nutshell" of Ms Kendrick's work: inetellectual efforts blended with the urge to heal expanded (Jupiter) and distribute (the apex) for the good of others (Aquarius).


mike said...

Regardless of what disease label, you two are not well!! I'm loath to visit a doctor's office, but will when I feel my life-force dwindle. Don't turn this into a survival of the fittest challenge.

These two women are very interesting. I did some quick queries and nothing is ever mentioned about their personal lives, except the two lived together til the end, took quick breaks from the lab to eat at home together, then back to work. I noticed that Kendrick didn't achieve her PhD until mid-life. Interesting that these two would team-up as life-partners and against a dreaded disease...they must have felt beyond exuberant with their achievement.

There are many women that are under-known or unknown that contributed so much to humanity's accomplishments. One that comes to my mind is Rosalind Franklin, a co-discoverer of DNA. Watson and Crick (men) took the credit for the DNA research and ruthlessly omitted took forty years for Franklin's major contributions to be acknowledged.

Another is Hedy Lamarr, a renowned actress, but few knew she was a mathematician and inventor. She co-invented "frequency hopping", which was of minimal use during her life. It wasn't until our current era that her expired patents were applicable to spread-spectrum technologies (WiFi, broadband internet, Bluetooth, wireless).

Back to Kendrick and Eldering...they look like faces I saw on cough syrup labels as a child!

Twilight said...

mike ~~ No - we'll definitely consult the doc if things perist much longer.
We don't feel really really ill - which is odd, and mucous remains clear, so no deep-seated infection (I'd guess) - it's just the darned scary coughing.

I wasn't clear whether the two women were "together" in any way other than professionally and in friendship. In their era, with many young men of their age group fighting WW 1, it's quite common to come across examples of pairs of
women linking up - though maybe not sexually - but we can't know that.
There were some examples among the older teachers at my (all girl) school back in the early 1950s.

You're right - yes. Women, even when they had opportunity to show their abilities back then, tend to have been overlooked in history - unless (as often in the arts) they were in some way connected to a male artist (wife, lover, sister, mother).

(Internet acting up today....if this comment is half-baked it's because it kept hanging-up during typing). :-)

Esme said...

Wash your hands, put on a light nose/mouth mask, and go to the doctor. Pertussis is a problem for adults, too.

My sister had it a couple of years ago, didn't think much of it, and it persisted. She ended up with having to get lung x-rays, go on some heavy drugs, and it took months to go away because she waiting too long to treat.

Wisewebwoman said...

As Esme said, T, I urge you to go. I didn't a few years back and it transmuted into pneumonia and I was very very sick.

Not worth messing with and get some masks...

Interesting post, I had known about this scientists from some years ago. Brilliant and like many others, often overlooked or shoved to the background by the menz.


Twilight said...

Esme and Wisewebwoman ~~ Thank you for the advice, I'm grateful - you're right, of course. We should get ourselves to the doc's - and intend to phone today for an appointment - we'll have to go in together because I still can't speak properly. The bouts of intense coughing were much less troublesome last night, slept better (both of us) I still have a very nasty sounding cough and no voice, husband has had a problem since just after Christmas and is left with a persistent cough, but other symptoms faded.

Cathy Ballou Mealey said...

This is incredibly interesting to me. Can you possibly post a link to the PDF from the Bold Women of Michigan article?

Many thanks!

Twilight said...

Cathy Ballou Mealey ~ Hi there!
If the link to the pdf in my post doesn't work for you, try pasting ththe URL below into a Google search box.
The link in the post did work for me though - I wonder if maybe you hadn't tried it - the words from "excerpts.....Michigan" are the link to click on.

Here's the full URL - hope this helps -

Cathy Ballou Mealey said...

Thank you so much for your quick reply!

Although the link did open a new page, Google told me I had "either reached a page that is not available for viewing or you have reached your viewing limit for this book." Well, I found a used copy on Amazon and ordered it, since my New England library network doesn't own a copy.

Thank you so much for the sneak peek!