Grace Eldering

Grace Eldering

Grace Eldering (1900–1988) was an American public health scientist, known for her involvement in the creation of a vaccine for whooping cough along with Pearl Kendrick.


  • Biography 1
    • Childhood and education 1.1
    • Career 1.2
  • Accolades 2
  • References 3


Childhood and education

Born in Rancher, Montana, Eldering's parents had immigrated to the United States before she was born, with her mother having arrived from Scotland and her father from the Netherlands.[1] She contracted and survived whooping cough when she was five, leading to her involvement in science in her adulthood.[2] Eldering obtained a Bachelor of Science from the University of Montana and then went on to teach at Hysham High School for an English class and a Biology class. She continued her education later in life and earned a Ph.D. in science in 1942 from Johns Hopkins University.[3]


In 1928, Eldering moved to work for the [3]

While these methods had allowed Kendrick and Eldering to make specific vaccines for those infected, they didn't begin work on a general vaccine until late 1933. Their outreach system among physicians, city officials, and school administrations allowed rapid inoculation of children and other city inhabitants. They continued working on refining their inoculation methods through 1938, when they instituted a three vaccine system that involved less of the inactivated bacteria, but was found to be much more effective at providing resistance to infection. Mass production of this new version began across Michigan in 1938 and nationwide by 1940.[3]

Eldering later retired in 1951 from the State Department and lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan where she "engaged in volunteer service for the blind and the physically handicapped".[4] She also remained director of the Grand Rapids laboratory until 1969 when she officially retired and died in 1988.[2]


Eldering was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 1983 for her work in public health.[4]


  1. ^ Burns, Virginia (2006). "Pearl Kendrick and Grace Eldering: Sisters in Science". Bold Women in Michigan History.  
  2. ^ a b "Grace Eldering; Helped Develop Whooping Cough Vaccine".  
  3. ^ a b c d Carolyn G. Shapiro-Shapin (August 2010). "Pearl Kendrick, Grace Eldering, and the Pertussis Vaccine".  
  4. ^ a b "Grace Eldering". Michigan Women's Historical Center and Hall of Fame. Michigan Humanities Council. Retrieved August 22, 2015.