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The Fosdick Commission

"The Organization of the Fosdick Commission." Seated: David F. Houston, Secretary of Agriculture; Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of Interior; Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy; William C. Redfield, Secretary of Commerce; William B. Wilson, Secretary of Labor; Walter S. Gifford, Director, Council of National Defense and Advisory Commission Standing: Hollis Godfrey, MD; Irving Fisher, MD; Professor M.J. Rosenau; Howard Coffin; Bernard M. Baruch; Franklin H. Martin, MD; William A. Evans, MD; Daniel Willard; William Welch, MD; Julius Rosenwald; Samuel Gompers; Rear Admiral Wm. C. Braisted, USN; Major General Wm. C. Gorgas, USA; Surgeon-General; Rupert Blue, USPHS;Victor C. Vaughan, MD; Frank F. Simpson, MD; Abraham Flexner, MD; Brigadier General Jefferson R. Kean, Red Cross; Frederick A. Besley, MD; Alonzo E. Taylor, MD; Raymond B. Fosdick; Haven Emerson, MD; William F. Snow, MD; Theodore Janeway, MD <br>(Photo credit: Harris and Ewing, Washington, DC,1917. From the ACS Archives and published in The Joy of Living.)

This special World War I Commission on Training Camp Activities was appointed by President Wilson's Council of National Defense in April 1917, to carry out the provisions of the resolutions initiated by American College of Surgeons (ACS) founder, Franklin Martin, MD, FACS, as Chairman of the General Medical Board. Dr. Martin's resolutions dealt with protecting soldiers from venereal diseases and alcohol abuse. His role on the Council's civilian Advisory Commission was to represent medical services in the war effort. Other civilian leaders serving on this Advisory Commission included Howard E. Coffin on munitions and manufacturing and industrial relations; Julius Rosenwald on supplies, including clothing; Bernard Baruch on raw materials, minerals and metals; Dr. Hollis Godfrey on engineering and education; and Samual Gompers on labor, including conservation of health and welfare of workers.

Mr. Raymond B. Fosdick, New York, was appointed Chairman of this Commission on Training Camp Activities which served under the War Department. It was one of the subcommittees of the Committee on Hygiene and Sanitation to carry out the provisions of Martin's resolutions. The Fosdick Commission was charged with advising on questions relating to the moral hazards in training centers, as well as the promotion of recreation facilities within and without the camps. The American regulations regarding alcohol and prostitution in the vicinity of military installations were much more strict than those of our British and European allies. Other subcommittees dealt with drug addictions, public health nursing, statistics and tuberculosis.

For more information about the controversy surrounding Martin's resolutions to the Council and on his role as Chief of the General Medical Board, see his autobiography, Joy of Living and the Franklin Martin Papers in the ACS Archives.

ACS Archives Highlights is a series showcasing the vibrant history of the American College of Surgeons, its members, and the history of surgery. For further information on our featured highlights, search the Archives Catalog or contact the ACS Archivist.