Book Review from Danish Immigrant Museum - Jun 2013

Across Oceans, Across Time ®  . . .           Stories from the Family History & Genealogy Center   “I was born a long time ago in a country called Denmark. . . .” begins a charming new picture book based on a true story which introduces young children to germs and the importance of vaccination against communicable childhood diseases. A highly contagious and deadly infection, particularly for infants and young children, whooping cough was discovered to be a germ-caused disease in 1906.  Human beings are the only known host of the pertussis bacillus which causes whooping cough.  Initial research for a vaccine against the bacillus was done by the Danish State Serum Institute, among others. A version of the whooping cough vaccine was brought to Evanston, Illinois, where the author’s physician father, Dr. Hugh Macdonald and his Danish-American wife, Edith Jersild Macdonald, adapted it into a form which they then tested on the four Macdonald children in 1933.  The result of their ‘family experiment’ showed that an effective vaccine against the disease had been found that would subsequently save countless lives. The author of the book, Dr. Richard G. Macdonald, is a physician in Washington, Illinois.  His maternal grandfather, Peter Jersild, came with his brothers from Aulum in Ringkøbing County in the mid-1880s and eventually settled in Neenah, Wisconsin.  Here they founded the Jersild Knitting Mill, which created designer sweaters sold to department stores such as Nordstrom’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.  Another brother, Rev. Thomas Nielsen Jersild, later became a Lutheran minister, serving in Elk Horn, Iowa, for a time, where he is buried. Further information about the heroic whooping cough germ may be found on the author’s website,   The Danish Immigrant Museum Celebrating Danish Roots and American Dreams 2212 Washington St., Elk Horn, Iowa 51531 Become a member Contact us: 1-800-759-9192 or or follow us on Facebook