Once Upon a Time

Presidential Address

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Justice Frankfurter has said there are two myths which have always captivated the human race, that of a Utopia in the unforeseeable future, and that of a Golden Age in some remote epoch of the past. In the dynamic field of world health we foster the same myths but shorten the time span. To a Society like ours made up in its majority of young, imaginative and forward-looking persons, the Utopia is just around the corner—a happy if somewhat overcrowded world freed forever from malaria, tuberculosis, small-pox, yaws, leprosy and syphilis. But I, who have reached the age of retrospection, find pleasure in looking back to a Golden Age no longer ago than my own youth, when public health, and especially international public health, were at the starting line, and progress was about to make a great leap forward, as the Chinese say, into a new, rich and virgin field.