My Scrapbook of My Illness with Polio

Webinar: A special conversation on the history and fight against polio from a child’s perspective, Nov. 6, 1:45-3pm

Sponsored by the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida and LibraryPress@UF

This conversation between Edna Ray Black Hindson, co-author and polio survivor and Nina Stoyan-Rosenzweig, contributing editor and UF Libraries senior associate, features Edna’s personal, lifelong experience growing up with polio.

The LibraryPress@UF recently published a unique scrapbook diary of Edna’s experience with polio in the 1940s. This daily journal, written by Edna’s mother on the frontlines of the fight against the polio epidemic, describes her daughter’s journey in her daughter’s voice, through the pain and loneliness of her life-changing illness.

With the recent pandemic, the story of polio—complete with the work to develop a vaccine, how our world responded together, and the individ­ual stories of those with polio—is all the more relevant. Edna and Nina continue to share this story through presentations to bring continued awareness to the importance of the polio vaccine.

To make this unique piece of history available for a wide audience, the book is currently available for free download from the UF Digital Collections and is purchasable as a print-on-demand volume through University of Florida Press.

Polio in the United States: a brief overview 1940s-present

In the 1940s, paralytic polio had become epidemic in America, infecting mostly children and causing widespread fear as outbreaks moved across the country in the warmer months. The increasing prevalence of the disease, and the fact that the American presi­dent, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, elected to four terms was para­lyzed by polio, called public attention to the condition and the need for funding research for a cure, or at least a vaccine. This motivated Amer­icans to send their dimes to the White House. With this effort, and continu­ing dedication to protect America’s children, vaccines were created in the 1950s and early 1960s. Since that time, concerted efforts to vaccinate children have eliminated the three wild forms of the disease from the United States.

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