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Julius Hess, MD, (1876–1955) and the premature infant
  1. Peter M Dunn
  1. Department of Child Health, University of Bristol, Southmead Hospital, Southmead, Bristol BS10 5NB, UK
  1. Professor Dunnp.m.dunn{at}

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Julius Hayes Hess was born in Ottawa, Illinois on 26 January 1876.1 He graduated from Northwestern University Medical School in 1899 and served his internship at the Alexian Brothers' Hospital in Chicago, 1899–1900. Early on he had become interested in the care of children, and studied at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in 1900. Returning to Chicago in 1901, Hess went into practice, visiting his patients in a “horse and buggy”. On 15 April 1902, he returned to Ottawa to marry his boyhood sweetheart, Clara Merrifield. They subsequently had two daughters, Jean and Carol. At that time he joined the staff at Englewood Hospital as a pathologist. He also served as an instructor at Rush Medical College (1902–1908) and Northwestern University Medical School (1908–1913). In 1913 he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois becoming Professor of Pediatrics and chief of staff at Cook Community Hospital the following year, posts he held until his retirement in 1944. During the Great War he served in the US army from 1917 as a major. Hess was a dignified man of medium height with a commanding and somewhat austere presence (fig 1). Colleagues and friends alike addressed him as Dr Hess. He had boundless energy and was most interested in the welfare of his patients to whom he was kind and gentle, though firm when necessary. He was an excellent teacher and beloved by his students. No other physician in Chicago gave more time to the medical problems of the community.

Figure 1

Dr Julius Hess, 1876–1955.

Hess and his teacher, Isaac Abt, were among the first paediatricians to establish a role for their discipline within the obstetric hospital. Hess travelled to Europe several times in the period 1900–1910 and no doubt absorbed the ideas of Credé and Budin. He also became a warm …

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