A Timberline Book
"What makes Jeanne E. Abram's biography, and the life it chronicles, so enchanting is the representation of the exuberant blossoming of Spivak's cultural and social persona as it is intertwined with his professional career . . . Her skills as an archivist and historian are readily evident in the well-documented and detailed picture of a complex and fascinating individual whose life story will now be better known. She has created a warm, engaging and accessible biography that should be required reading material for any student of American Jewish history."
—Abraham Fuks, AJS reviews
"This book is a significant contribution to the study of Denver history and to Jewish American history."
—Rebecca Hunt, Center for Colorado and the West
Part biography, part medical history, and part study of Jewish life in turn-of-the-century America, Jeanne Abrams's book tells the story of Dr. Charles David Spivak—a Jewish immigrant from Russia who became one of the leaders of the American Tuberculosis Movement.
Born in Russia in 1861, Spivak immigrated to the United States in 1882 and received his medical degree from Philadelphia's Jefferson Medical College by 1890. In 1896, his wife's poor health brought them to Colorado. Determined to find a cure, Spivak became one of the most charismatic and well-known leaders in the American Tuberculosis Movement. His role as director of Denver's Jewish Consumptives' Relief Society sanatorium allowed his personal philosophies to strongly influence policies. His unique blend of Yiddishkeit, socialism, and secularism—along with his belief in treating the "whole" patient—became a model for integrating medical, social, and rehabilitation services that was copied across the country.
Not only a national leader in the crusade against tuberculosis, but a luminary in the American Jewish community, Dr. Charles Spivak was a physician, humanitarian, writer, linguist, journalist, administrator, social worker, ethnic broker, and medical, public health, and social crusader. Abrams's biography will be a welcome addition to anyone interested in the history of medicine, Jewish life in America, or Colorado history.