Living in a working-class quarter, coming in contact with laborers and their wives, I could not fail to hear tales of the dangers that workingmen faced, of cases of carbon-monoxide gassing in the great steel mills, of painters disabled by lead palsy, of pneumonia and rheumatism among the men in the stockyards. Illinois then had no legislation providing compensation for accident or disease caused by occupation. (There is something strange in speaking of 'accident and sickness compensation.' What could 'compensate' anyone for an amputated leg or a paralyzed arm, or even an attack of lead colic, to say nothing of the loss of a husband or son?)Ever met someone with phossy jaw? How about painter's colic? Probably not, if you live in the West; the early 20th century saw a successful movement in the US and Europe to improve workplace safety and hold employers accountable for hazardous conditions in the manufacturing process. One of the scientists at the forefront of research on industrial medicine in the US was Alice Hamilton, born on this date in 1869 (image at right is her portrait on a 55-cent US postage stamp), in Indiana. She was a longtime resident of Jane Addams' Hull House, the first woman on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, an active member of the Woman's Peace Party, and she lived long enough to denounce McCarthyism and US involvement in Vietnam. Read here from her memoir how she became interested in industrial medicine, and the resistance she faced in trying to study workplace hazards (the quote above is an excerpt).