George Miller Sternberg

George Miller Sternberg

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George Miller Sternberg

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Brigadier General George Miller Sternberg (June 8, 1838 – November 3, 1915) was a U.S. Army physician who is considered the first U.S. bacteriologist, having written Manual of Bacteriology (1892). After he survived typhoid and yellow fever, Sternberg documented the cause of malaria (1881), discovered the cause of lobar pneumonia (1881), and confirmed the roles of the bacilli of tuberculosis and typhoid fever (1886).

As the 18th U.S. Army Surgeon General, from 1893 to 1902, Sternberg led commissions to control typhoid and yellow fever, with Walter Reed. Sternberg also oversaw the establishment of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps (1901). The pioneering German bacteriologist Robert Koch honored Sternberg with the sobriquet, "Father of American Bacteriology".


Youth and education

George Sternberg was born at Hartwick Seminary, Otsego County, New York, where he spent most of his childhood. His father, Levi Sternberg, a Lutheran clergyman who later became principal of Hartwick Seminary, was descended from a German family from the Palatinate, which had settled in the Schoharie Valley in the early years of the 18th century. His mother, Margaret Levering (Miller) Sternberg, was the daughter of George B. Miller, also a Lutheran clergyman and professor of theology at the seminary, which was a Lutheran school. He was the eldest child of a large family and he was given adult responsibilities from an early age. He interrupted his studies at the seminary with a year of...
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